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Showing posts from June, 2011

Do What You Are Doing

I want to follow up on what I was writing about: the very modern tendency of checking electronic communication (texts, cell phone calls or messages) while in the presence of a real live human being. Several of you wrote back to agree, to say that you, too, find the practice of checking texts while talking to someone to be rude. But my chief objection to checking our electronic devices while in the presence of another human being is not its “rudeness.” “Rudeness,” after all, is relevant. At a football game, screaming at the top of your lungs to distract the visiting team’s offensive line is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged; at a golf tournament, talking during play, even in a whisper, to distract a golfer’s concentration is considered so rude you may get escorted out by the marshals. Besides, who I am to write about what’s rude, or not? Leave that to Miss Manners, the etiquette advisor; I’m Fr. John, the pastor/priest. So, I want to make it clear that my objection to checking

Electronic Devices and the “Sacrament of the Present Moment”

First of all, I want to say how great it is to be back from what turned out to be a refreshing and restorative 8-day silent Ignatian retreat at the Jesuit retreat center (Campion Renewal Center near Boston), which started last Monday and ended this Tuesday. Eight days can seem like a long time to be in silence, with “nothing to do” except pray, sleep, hike, eat, read, and journal, but believe it or not -- after a day of two of adjustment -- the time flies. Most of the adjustment the first few days away on a retreat such as this comes from de-toxing: de-toxing from constant communication, constant stimulation, constant conversation. For today, a word about constant communication: I really like my smart phone (just as many of you love your BlackBerry or iPhone)…I love the ability to text, Instant Message, surf the web, call, get and receive emails and phone calls all from my phone, no matter where I am. Very convenient. But listen, folks: Smartphones/BlackBerrys/iPhones are good ser