(Unrelated photos of Ephraim, because who can resist a baby with a balloon!)
I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. I readily admit I have trouble keeping my usage in check and I often fantasize about living off-grid in some wifi-free cabin in the woods. I don't know if you can relate to this, but there have been times I can barely resist the urge to throw my smart phone against the wall.
Pope Francis has rightly said both:
The virtual world is a reality that we cannot ignore. We have to guide it along the right path, because it represents human progress. But when it takes us away from life in common with others, from family life, from social life, and also from sports, the arts… and we become attached to the computer, then it's something pathological.
The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity, a network not of wires but of people. . .the internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.
Given that it can be a weakness for me at times, I recognize the irony in that fact that I am starting yet another blog, but I owe so much of my growth as a mother to stumbling upon little havens of Truth on the internet and I can't help but want to contribute. The virtual world mirrors reality in that while it is often full of darkness, it can still be a "gift from God," capable of housing sacred spaces. Like all God-given gifts, it can be a highly destructive force in our families or a great blessing depending on how we use it. Personally it has been a rich resource: it taught me how to cook, garden, and knit, how to be a better parent and person, and has lead me to many of the physical books on my shelves which have done the same. People hopelessly say that no one ever changes their mind because of some argument or article they read, but I have not found that to be true; I have grown and changed because of the Truths that I have stumbled upon, not usually in one fell swoop, but yes, over time.
I recognize that there are people who shun certain technology: they don't have a TV or wifi or a smartphone, and they probably keep a real pen and paper diary. I like those people. I want to be more like those people. Not all of us need or should engage with the virtual world. But if we do, we can do so with thoughtful intention about our contributions, rather than passively. The danger with maintaining a solely deprecating attitude towards media and the time we spend engaging with it is that it leaves us thinking that the only consideration it needs is how we can spend less time doing so. This is a worthy consideration, it's just not the only one! Moderate your time on the internet and make it time well spent: forge and maintain real connections, encourage, engage in meaningful discussions (not to mention thinking critically about what you consume, but we'll talk about that in part two). Even media can be an avenue for Truth (though it can be a scary place to speak up for Truth!) It is always worth doing so, you never know when you may plant a tiny seed.
You are, I see, a man of great strength of character, as you have dared to serve the truth, even when by doing so you risked incurring the contempt of all. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)
Dared to serve the truth, I love that.
I would like to add to the chorus of truthful voices, to be a light shining in the darkness. My vision for this space is to offer food for thought and discussion, as well as inspiration and resources, all to hopefully help you (and I!) grow and thrive in our real spiritual and flesh-and-blood lives. The virtual world is only helpful insofar as it enriches our true lives. There are a lot of ways to waste time on the internet, hopefully visiting here will not be one of them.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (Matthew 5:14-15)
Media Part Two: Our Consumption