A Rashomon Experience


A response to a comment below provoked this phrase. For those unaware of it Rashomon is a relatively early film by Akira Kurosawa, a master director of Japanese Cinema. (He gave us Ran, Kagemusha, Throne of Blood {a Japanese Macbeth}, The Hidden Fortress, The Seven Samurai {and its American Counterpart The Magnificent Seven} and a host of other very fine films.) Rashomon was adapted from a short Story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, often considered the finest writer of pre-war Japan, and sometimes considered the Edgar Allan Poe of Japan. The story as told in the movie centers around four different tellings of the same event from the viewpoints of four witnesses. (The recent novel by Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost does something somewhat similar but more expansive). These four different views bear very little resemblance to one another, even though all four people observed exactly the same event.

So too one of the strengths, aggravations, and joys of blogging. By reading sundry blogs, I find that I get more than one view. Often I find views notoriously annoying and shortsighted (but then, if they were to look back at my own view, should I make it public, they might claim I was so open-minded my brains spilled out somewhere along the way.) But most of the time such a diversity of viewpoint becomes a training ground for charity. One comes to realize that it is possible for very well-intentioned people to hold diverse views on a given topic and still be acting in goodwill with malice toward none. One example I can think of is when I posted a reference to some less-than-kind remarks regarding one of our Archbishops. One intrepid and very kind blogger rushed in to inform me how mistaken my view was of this man. This gentle correction forced me into looking carefully at how I formulated opinions, most particularly with respect to the hierarchy, and also forced me to see that these are not ordinary men. Yes, they are fully human, but they have, by the grace of God, been put into positions of spiritual leadership, and whatever their failings as people, as managers, even as Christians, many have come to regard them as spiritual leaders and to love them deeply for the guidance and the pastoring they bring to their office. That was simply one "Rashomon" experience among many. And I cherish each one of them because they all help me learn and teach me both charity and humility--lessons sorely needed.

So, when I reflect on this last half-year since I started blogging, I thank God for the many people who are out there helping us all to become better Christians and better Catholics. I thank God for voices like those of Fr. Keyes, C.PP.S., Ms. Knapp, Mr. White, Mr Cahill, Mr. Culbreath, Mr. da Fiesole, Mr. Gil, and many others you can find in the side-column that give me much to think about, much to reflect upon, and much to help me grow as a Christian. I thank wonderful voices like Ms. vonHuben and Mr. Miller, who help me maintain a balance and a fine charity of humor when faced with many of these overwhelming events. I thank voices like those of Mr. Abbott, Mr. Bell, Mr. Kairos, Ms. Kropp, and Ms. vonHuben again for sharing images and events that allow me to understand how others live a Christian life in family. I thank Dylan, Ms. Lewis, Mr. O'Rama, and the authors of Minute Particulars and A Catholic Point of View for their views on everything from the Arts and Poetry to current trials and victories.

My thanks to everyone who takes the time and the energy to bless us all, a community in cyberspace. I know I have been blessed and have become if not a better Catholic, at least one who understands better the ways some people react to things. I hope this has helped to make me more understanding in my everyday life. But I did want to make sure that everyone I mention in my left hand column knows how deeply I appreciate their work and their writing. And I want to encourage everyone to continue to bless us all with all that you do. God has given you the means and opportunity, and I know that I have been deeply blessed. God bless us, one and all.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 19, 2002 8:37 AM.

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