Saturday, February 12, 2011

The need for humanity in the so-called cyberworld

With last Sunday's near fatal crash of my blog, I have been reflecting all week on blogging. My reflection was intensified somewhat by the decision of a friend to discontinue blogging for wholly healthy and good reasons. From time-to-time I like to step back and evaluate my on-line endeavor, which I began tentatively back in August 2005 and took up in earnest in July 2006. Since then blogging has constituted part of my daily life. Yesterday I decided to "Google" Καθολικός διάκονος. Predictably, most of the returns were links back to this blog. More disturbingly and downright puzzling were several links to sites like sex-while-dating-child-support-parents.searchforsinglesmeetsingles.com and get-laid-without-being-broke-file-divorce.searchforsinglesmeetsingles.com. Huh? I can't think of another arena of endeavor in which one's brand, if you will, can be so easily high-jacked and associated in any way with purposes with which it is so at odds. Overlooking the fact that nothing could be more contrary to the tone and tenor of what I post here, such sites are a truly sad commentary about what many people look for on-line.


What people are looking for, whether they know it or not, is fulfillment, satisfaction, happiness. What makes it sad is that seeking hook-ups, looking at pornography, even playing W.O.W. for hours, or days, on end, will never result in any of the above. The nature of addiction, which results in wanting and needing more, more, and still more of whatever it is you are addicted to, even unto death, demonstrates this quite well. Nonetheless, I am happy to join with others who seek to be salt and light in the cyber realm, pointing people to what (more accurately, Who) can truly satisfy.

I have never had site meter on this blog, nor will I ever. Up until late last summer I truly had no idea how many people visited Καθολικός διάκονος on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Well now, Blogger automatically applies Google Stats to all blogs and with a few mouse clicks I can pull up and look at not only how many people visit, but where they link here from, and what posts they look at. For those of you who are concerned about privacy, there is no individual information provided, all data is aggregated. The reason I mention this is because sometimes in the daily stats I will see a huge surge in visits to my blog from some weird source, like this one "local news update. Welcome to the digital jungle!

On a much more positive note, I found that my blog made the Our Sunday Visitor reader's choice The very best of the Catholic Web list. I was even more surprised that I had been submitted under the opinion category by a friend, who was a professor of mine, Susan Windley-Daoust, who wrote: "Good intellectual thoughtful op-ed on matters in the Church and spiritual life by a deacon in Salt Lake City." Dr. Windley-Daoust blogs under the name Ironic Catholic. I appreciate this endorsement very much and certainly hope those who visit Καθολικός διάκονος find all that and even more. Not just by way of a courtesy quid pro quo, I highly recommend adding the IC (as her blog is known by the cool kids in the Catholic blogosphere) to your favorites.

Having to reconstruct the design of my blog was an opportunity to freshen it up a little, while maintaining continuity with the past. One thing I did not change was my statement of purpose, which appears under the title. I really worked at shaping and honing this for a long time. Therefore, I truly mean that "This is a public cyberspace in which I seek to foster Christian discipleship in the late modern milieu in the diakonia of koinonia and in the recognition that 'the Eucharist is the only place of resistance to annihilation of the human subject.'" The quote at the end of the sentence is from Archbishop Francisco Javier Martinez.

The Internet and our ever more advanced means of communication bring many advantages to us, but also present many threats and pitfalls to our common humanity on a deeply existential, that is, relational level. The so-called cyberworld is just another aspect of the real world, albeit one that expands our notion of reality and alters, at least to some extent, our relationship to time and space. Over and above the concerns with which I began this post are other concerns about how all of this impacts us both individually and collectively. I have been struck of late by a series of commercials by Sprint Mobile that do a far better, not to mention more entertaining, job of highlighting these concerns than I could do by writing about them:

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for yet another thoughtful post. You bring much humanity and are a window for grace with this blog.

    I once blogged with less than good intent, I had such anger. Somehow I managed to find myself where I am now and am grateful for what I have.

    Recently I was featured in an article in our diocesan paper about whether or not online faith is "good for the Church." I think that that is the wrong question.

    It is what we do out here and how we do it that matters. May God grant me the grace to do it well.

    I am grateful to know you out here dear Deacon Scott.

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  2. May we all receive the grace we need to serve Him with all our on-line endeavors because without it what we do means nothing. I am not hesitant to admit that blogging has been for me a means of growth and maturity over the years I have engaged in it. I remember being so distraught when I thought that nobody read what I wrote and posted. This made me think long and hard about why I was blogging. I concluded two things: that if it had no value for me in and of itself, I was better off not doing it and any desired effect would only be achieved if God blessed what I was doing. Hence, it is not difficult to imagine a time when I may choose not to blog. On the other hand, I believe that part of my own ministry is and will be on-line.

    I read that article and I thought it dealt with the ambiguities of on-line activity (i.e., the good and bad) pretty well. I agree that it is the wrong question though. The Church, meaning people like you and me, as the Holy Father has pointed out on several occasions over the past few years, perhaps most explicitly in his recent message for the 45th World Communications Day, entitled Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age, that the Church, taking its lead from the Apostle Paul, must enter what Bl. Pope JPII called the Areopagus of Modern Times.

    Let's keep encouraging one another, praying for each other, charitably being accountable to one another.

    Your presence, both with your personal blog, which I added to my new category Blogs I Dig, and your parish blog is a blessing to me and I am sure for many others, too.

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  3. Deacon Scott, if you don't mind I am adding a link to that article for anyone who may want to read it. Please click here.

    Yes - we must encourage one another and pray for another as we go. Being charitably accountable is essential to live the Gospel.

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  4. You're more than welcome to do so. Thanks.

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  5. Aw, thanks for the tip! Your blog deserves it. You are always charitable and thoughtful and have a sharp Catholic lens!

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  6. LOVE the Look, Dcn Dodger =o)

    Well Deserved Congratulations on your recognitions!

    From day 1 you made a fan of me...

    Much Love!

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