Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tell the Story

Eddie Lenihan, in his Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland, provides an introduction to understanding traditional Irish folklore and, sadly, its near disappearance in the present generation. "...Intimate Ireland has all but passed away. Within a single lifetime Ireland has changed from a predominantly rural to a mainly urban society. This fact underlies all. Old people, the tradition-bearers, have become virtual exiles in their own land, disregarded, unvalued. Old lore is no longer passed on, this for a complex of reasons." Lenihan mentions a variety of causes including the non-existence of former traveling beggars whose payment for lodging would come in the form of entertaining the town-folk with stories. Other reasons include Lenihan's description of our current culture as a whole..."our time and place is a world, a society that emphasizes the technological rather than the personal..., the superficial and fleeting rather than the profound, the commercial at the expense of the communal."

If the decline of significant story-telling has effected and been effected by Irish society to the degree Lenihan describes, I wonder what effect such a decline in, or devaluing of, story-telling might have on the Church.