Curious about what goes on in the head of a stuffed bear?
It could be argued that Winnie the Pooh is a definitive example of the Renaissance Man (er . . . bear). Not just a non-sexist, emotionally unencumbered gentleman (um . . . gentle ben?) and a scholar (an expert in Apiary), but his quiet spirituality and deceptively simple way-of-being has attracted an unknown number of followers.
A.A. Milne wrote about Pooh in the now famous tome, Winnie the Pooh. That volume alone has had an inestimable influence in the development of several generations and its enduring spiritual significance was highlighted in Benjamin Hoff's The Tao of Pooh. (Although this work is quite scholarly, the easy-reading style commends it to the lay person as an essential text in the discovery of Pooh's teachings.)
As a religious strategist, Pooh revealed his genius by having A.A. Milne's book translated into Latin by Alexander Lenard in the late 1950's. His foresight was remarkable. Pooh had correctly predicted that Vatican II would dump Latin in favour of colloquial English thereby causing mass disenchantment. Lenard's translation offered disgruntled Roman Catholics an alternative.
Although fluid in membership and usually quite invisible in the broader community, followers of Pooh can be quite formidable when mobilised. The best example in recent Australian history occurred during the 1970's when the very vocal and hard-core Friends of Pooh lobbied the Melbourne print media to oust the rebel Disneyfied version of Pooh. Although it was a long and bitter fight with both sides proving intractable at times, all ended peacefully (which is what Pooh would want) when the dailies agreed to run unadulterated Pooh.
These days Pooh is guarded carefully by The Trustees of Pooh Properties (ToPP). ToPP went to considerable lengths to determine whether Stephen Cronin (a confirmed non-believer) should be permitted to use the songs of Pooh in this present work. Remarkably, although not to their surprise ToPP discovered that, because of his research into Pooh's teachings, Cronin's hard-nosed agnosticism had softened and that, indeed, he has become a friend of Pooh.
So what does go on in the head of a stuffed bear? Perhaps it is best to observe the converted.