A Fire Flag: An Invitation
Today the City of Cork has retained its purple flag. ‘Great’ I thought – ‘what’s that?’ In the few seconds between seeing and opening the tweeted article from the Cork Independent newspaper my brain processed the possible associations for the colour purple for a flag. Of course the first option which presented itself to me was spirituality. I ruled this out fairly quickly and went on to read that Cork had been award the flag for its excellence in night time economy. Good for Cork!
But.. what if there were a flag for the spiritual life of a city or region? What would be rewarded? How could the spiritual health of a place or population be measured.
I offer the following exploratory proposal: A Fire Flag for Spirituality and Faith
Areas for Consideration
Where is spirituality and faith found in the culture of our city and county? The promotion of concerts; theatre events; exhibitions and festivals which reflection a spiritual or faith component.
That communities are invited to get involved in initiatives which demonstrate religious dialogue and tolerance; interfaith activities and the sharing of spiritual traditions or activities. These may include the celebration of existing religious festivals; pilgrimages to local spiritual sites; or gatherings where dialogue takes place about spiritual and religious practices.
Schools: That there is demonstrable excellence in the teaching of religious studies with a view to mutual understanding and civic participation. That schools embrace an agreed standard of support for spirituality as part of their ethos and curriculum.
Third Level Colleges: That a variety of programmes be made available within diverse disciplines which explore the spiritual and religious dimensions of topics. This includes Religious Studies and Theology and also these dimensions in Social Studies; History; Business and Economics; Philosophy; Health and Science.
That opportunities are made available to all students to learn about and experience different spiritual traditions.
Adult and Community Education: That programmes are made widely available to promote understanding of faith and spirituality with a particular view of mutual understanding and civic participation.
Clearly a group of leaders and stakeholders should be put in place in each town or region to drive this initiative and develop it in sustainable ways.
What about a national organisation, linked to government to take this forward?