Welcome to The Ruined Report

A laptop with the WordPress editor open in a browser tab

The Ruined Report is a new blog about social justice, simple living, community, and spirituality, to which all former Jesuit Volunteers (FJVs) are welcome to contribute.

For a while now, I’ve wished a blog like this existed. Blogs help us stay connected to communities or subject matters that we care about. They expose us to new ideas and allow us to explore those ideas in bite size pieces that can still exhibit some depth and nuance (something that social media platforms cannot always offer). Blogs can also prompt us to reflect on a regular, ongoing basis, without the need for a larger time commitment. When I’ve wandered too far off from something that’s important to me, blogs are a great way for me to dip my feet back into the water.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a blog that lets me do this for my experience of JVC. Instead, I’ve found myself listening to Crooked Conversations for discussions of social justice, researching minimalism to lean into simple living, and listening to Jesuitical to nourish my spirituality, but to me each of these has felt a little too atomized. One of the coolest parts of my JVC experience was how integrated social justice, simple living, community, and spirituality were. Often, my community-mates and I would start off discussing our daily lives, then pivot to a larger social issue, and then end up reflecting on a related religious topic. From my perspective, each of the four pillars is vital to both individual and civic life, and we can better live out those values when we allow them to mutually inform one another, when our social justice concerns help us form stronger communities, or when our prayer lives call us to live more simply. Integrating these values and concerns is an important and rare gift in our world, and I think it’s a gift that most JVs and FJVs have (perhaps it’s even our charism of sorts). I want us to share this gift with each other and with the world. I want a blog that I can read and contribute to that regularly engages all four pillars.

I hope this blog can be that sort of space, a space for FJVs to develop and share their gifts with a larger community. In my experience, FJVs are awesome, thoughtful people, with interesting life experiences, and many of them are pretty good writers, too. I know that I personally have tons of thoughts about the four pillars, and I’ve been itching to blog about them for a while now. Hopefully, The Ruined Report can be a valuable resource for FJVs who are trying to live out the values more deeply in their lives, who lack like-minded community, who are still processing their JV year, or who just need a creative/reflective outlet.

What to Expect

We’ve already put together a team of nine regular contributors and editors, and to start, we plan to publish new posts on Mondays and Fridays.

We’re looking for more contributors, editors, and artists to join our team. If you’re interested, please reach out! If you can’t make a regular commitment, please note that we do accept guest posts. Personally, I would love it if we could feature new posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but we’ll need more contributors to make that a reality.

I also want to note that we plan on running a Letters to the Editor feature to which all readers (FJVs and non-FJVs) are welcome to submit. I’m really excited about this one, so please do share your thoughts with us.

Lastly, for the sake of clarity, I want to note that The Ruined Report is an independent publication without any institutional affiliations. We are attached to neither JVC nor JVC Northwest. (Check out our Statement of Independence for more on that.) We’re just a group of FJVs who want to blog about the four pillars and about FJV life.

I think this will be awesome. I hope you stick around and join us.

Photo by Cameron N. Coulter

About Cameron N. Coulter

Cameron N. Coulter thinks incessantly about speculative fiction, gender, intentional communities. His poetry has appeared in Eternal Haunted Summer and Eye to the Telescope. His academic nonfiction has appeared in the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal. He reviews short genre fiction for Skiffy and Fanty and also contributes to The Ruined Report. After his year in JVC, Cam spent two years as a live-in assistant at L'Arche Heartland. He currently teaches English in Jilin City, China, through the Maryknoll China Teachers Program. Cam can be found on his website or on Twitter @camncoulter.