Friday, October 19, 2007

The Internet is Not a Monster, Basically

We love to vacillate, to flip flop, to take sides, to split things up and think, well, it's got to be either good or evil. Now don't get me wrong, this is most essential in this Land of Confusion, where the windows on the Car of Modernity seem forever to get foggy from the heat and chill and wintry mix of our emotions. To discriminate in this moral sense is KEY! It's HEALTHY and ESSENTIAL, and NECESSARY.... It clears away the fog.

Discrimination between moral good and bad, right and wrong needs to come back in style, really FAST. It's not "all good" all the time. Discrimination in this sense of the word is not a sin. Good grief, it's our drawing the line between sin and the Good!

But let's switch gears...

When it comes to tools, things, inanimate stuff.... well, things are neutral. And you, my self-determining, self-aware friend, are the one who directs the wheel.


Some say the Internet is taking us away from each other. It's a big monster with electrical tentacles creeping out of our offices and living rooms and just grabbing us and dragging us out into the sleazy void of cyberspace. But I feel that it can be a bridge to something else. When someone drops an e-mail or once in awhile posts a comment and echoes the words I felt driven to write, well, then there it is. Sympatico, synchronicity, or my favorite way to describe it: the Communion of Saints.

Now, there's a huge difference between communication and COMMUNION. The Internet is Communication, Love is Communion. E-mail, cell phones, blogs, Instant messaging..... these are like the sparks, Communion is the fire. Communication is like preparing the meal, Communion is kicking back with a napkin on your lap and finally consuming the meal.

Communication is the means, Communion the end.

My goal, my deepest desire in writing these words in the wee hours of this Friday morning is that this very blog can be a vehicle for Communion. I hope in perusing its posts and links and "stuff" that something, somewhere provides that spark, that touch of the spirit that turns your head, draws you in, gets you thinking about God, Life, and Everything in Between in a way perhaps you didn't think before. When I read stuff (the good stuff) that's what happens to me. When people pass stuff along my way, that's what reminds me of this human call to Communion.

I think (heck, I know) that there is so much good out there in cyburbia. We just have to use our minds as that divining rod, and sift through the mess. It's a human mess after all. It's our stuff, it's our story. So in the words of Pope John Paul II, "Be not afraid" of technology!

But at the same time, be wary. Like all things that have the potential for good, there is the potential for evil, for manipulation and greed. So remember, the Internet is not a monster, but it's not a fuzzy little kitten either.

"The Internet causes billions of images to appear on millions of computer monitors around the planet. From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? For it is only when his face is seen and his voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption. This is the purpose of evangelization. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man."

- Pope John Paul II, Message for the 36th World Communications Day
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