It is with excitement, humility, and, if I’m honest, a little trepidation, that I introduce myself as the new Editor of REtoday and present to you this inaugural issue. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go to the many people who have supported and guided its production, including, of course, those who have generously contributed articles. I cannot express enough thanks and appreciation to my predecessor, the inimitable Lat Blaylock. His wisdom, grace and patience have been indispensable to me. There could be no better mentor!
This issue of REtoday lands on your doormat or finds its way to your staffroom pigeonhole at a time when our subject seeks to embrace, arguably more than ever, the sheer complexity and intricate interplay of faith, belief and worldviews in ways that reflect real life and represent individuals and communities accurately and fairly. This is a tall order at the chalkface! Not only do we face the all-too-familiar and newly emerging challenges of providing high quality RE/RME/RVE, but our own brains don’t help with this either. We know that the human brain naturally seeks to find order, to create categories and establish tidy boundaries in attempting to make sense of the world. But we also know that religions and worldviews don’t come neatly boxed. Indeed, attempting to impose strict categories can fail to capture their richness and diversity. Hence, we need to find ways to enable the children and young people we teach to grapple with the ambiguities, fuzzy edges and contradictions of religions and worldviews in all their glory and help them to recognise the beauty to be found within the spaces between categories. Perhaps they will even recognise themselves in these spaces, too. It is my hope that this issue of REtoday can help.
In exploring the theme, I was reminded of Indra’s Net. This ancient metaphor illustrates the belief that everything in the universe is interconnected, like a vast web. At each crossing point lies a beautiful jewel which reflects every other jewel and in turn is reflected by the others. Teaching our wonderful subject affords us the privilege of enabling our students to see and appreciate the complexity and interconnectedness of diverse religious and non-religious perspectives, just as Indra’s net reveals the interconnectedness of all things. By embracing messiness and complexity, we can empower learners to develop deeper understanding of themselves and others.
Within the pages of this edition, you will discover ideas and thought-provoking opinions that delve into the grey areas, urging us to question assumptions and challenge traditional boundaries. I hope that engaging with these articles will enliven your lessons and help you to navigate, with your learners, the marvellous complexity of religious and non-religious beliefs and ways of living. Personally, I believe that when we can celebrate and embrace the beautiful messiness of religions and worldviews, we can unlock a world of understanding and insight, which can help foster an environment where respect and celebration of our differences and recognition of our similarities can thrive.
This edition invites you to explore and celebrate the wonderful and undoubtedly untidy web of religions and worldviews, and to think with an inquisitive and critical mind about the messier aspects of our ever-evolving and dynamic subject. I hope you enjoy your journey through the articles.
Thank you for joining us on this exciting new chapter for REtoday.
Angela Hill, Editor.