Yesterday, we were having lunch with two very good friends. One of them, a member in a book club, mentioned the two books she will read this fall, Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age and The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains. I gather these two books are not really in favor of internet. My friend definitely is not, and spends hardly any time on line.
I felt compelled to tell her about this book that I have just bought, but not read yet: The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, which my friend Fran will present during a talk on “Faith and Facebook” at a retreat house. In response to this theme, another friend just wrote a post on the same topic, “The Theology of Social Media.”
These days, I am reviewing notes I took during an e-retreat with the Abbey of the Arts, The Way of the Monk, the Path of the Artist. They reminded that the Benedictine rule recommends to treat everything as “a sacred vessel”.
“Now is the time to remember that all you do is sacred,” wrote Hafiz. Or again, Teilhard de Chardin, in one of my favorite quotes, said:
“God, at his most vitally active and most incarnate, is not remote from us, wholly apart from the sphere of the tangible; on the contrary, at every moment he awaits us in the activity, the work to be done, which every moment brings. He is, in a sense, at the point of my pen, my pick, my paint brush, my needle — and my heart and my thought. It is by carrying to its natural completion the stroke, the line, the stitch I am working on that I shall lay hold on that ultimate end toward which my will at its deepest levels ends.” Hymn of the Universe, 82-83.
So, my computer is a sacred tool and I often encounter Godde at the tip of my fingers as I type on its keyboard.
Years ago, in India, I learned that my mind takes the shape of what it thinks about. Whether it is Godde, those I love, politics, sports, TV, news… Well, my mind also takes the shape of what I google and read online.
Most days, I encounter Godde again and again as I read the blogs written by friends. On Facebook, the holy is there as I scan down the pages. Yes, of course, I come upon the odd joke, the crass cartoon, and the political placard. But it’s also online that I read the Daily mass, Give Us This Day, Sacred Space or Ignatian Spirituality.
Strangely enough, few of my ‘real’ friends spend as much time online as my ‘virtual friends’.
True, I’ve come to the conclusion that I spend too much time on line. I have so many fabulous books I want to read: I have cut down on Facebook and Twitter. Writing down where I spend my time has helped change my behavior patterns.
I cannot, and don’t want to, convince those friends allergic to the internet that, in fact, it offers a lot. We each have a mind drawn to or repelled by computers,a mind which is intelligent, creative, deep, holy, gentle, compassionate, whether it likes to be on line or off.
Do you find Godde online?
One with you in the Risen Christ.
Art: Computer Art, Art F City