Saturday, August 8, 2009

Viral, part 2

I think I might have taken the wrong approach on that last entry. It is amazing to me that a video or blog entry can travel around the globe and be read/watched by a million people in the course of a few hours. But what really caught my attention in these two instances was their genuineness. Both were genuine and both were kind. There was no pretension about them or meanness. I thnk the real testament is to the impulse in humans to want genuine stories and to make connections beyond headlines and Fox News and what PowerBloggers advocate.

At the monastery this afternoon I was part of an ongoing process to guide the future direction of the monastery's Spirituality Center. Always in this process there are those who speak up against technology, and those who are for it. For some, it is part of a bundle of terms that have to do with "corporatization" of ministries. I think they fear it will become something slick and overly produced. People advocate retaining face-to-face contact, and going deep, not broad, with the approach.

Of course, all new technologies have been feared this way. One comment we hear is that the new direction might cause the Sisters to lose their core of monasticism. They will, by participating in the marketplace (i.e., making the ministries self-sufficient, utilizing technology), become less monastic. It's not hard to imagine the same discussion taking place when the question was of bringing electricity to the monastery. I mean, by extending the daylight, they could pray later, change the prayer schedule and work longer-- what a revolution that must have been! It's a little bit of a stretch, of course, but all technology impacts a way of life.

Then came radio, and television, and now the Internet in all its blossoming.

I think this is the least valid fear. As long as they pray the Liturgy of the Hours and practice lectio divina, and continue to be formed in and by community and their values, monasticism will thrive, and be sought after.

And of technology, I guess I want to apply what Marianne Moore said of poetry, "Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one / discovers in / it after all, a place for the genuine."

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