Over the last few weeks my thoughts have been on the trivia of our daily lives and how much attention we pay to the details of our actions, to the point of being very careful to add them on to our FaceBook pages or Twitter page. It amazes me. It takes time to get the computer on, or even to give your Blackberry or whatever it is called–someone has a new Storm-berry I think its called–to go to the FaceBook page and enter in the most mundane act or thought you might be having as if any of us who are your friends really care. It would be so much more edifying if someone would have a loving thought to share or a gesture of remembrance to someone who is all alone or in the hospital. FaceBook and Twitter in the guise of community sharing, of being in touch all the time with each other, we actually are becoming more and more self engrossed and less inclined to notice those near us….near in the vary vicinity of bodies…of whom could use some recognition and acceptance. I am so glad my mom didn't have a Storm or Blackberry that she would be fumbling with while not paying attention to me and my sisters. I didn't eve like it when she was on the phone–the rather new device of my childhood. Times do change, our thresholds change.
Without much notice we have moved over another threshold if you will, a threshold of a new era that is robbing us even more of our sensitivity to those near and around us. We spend so much time on computers and in front of the TV that we as a community of living neighbors don't even know each others names, let alone, have the time to see each other or to just nod hello.
I find even at church people don't feel that it is required or necessary to nod hello or to say good morning to people as they pass by.
The assumed excuse is, " well, I'd be nodding and good morning all morning to everyone I pass"…So! Is that such a sacrifice? We are already so accustomed to this behavior that many reading this or having heard my comments about this think I'm over reacting or making a mountain out of a mole hill. I don't think so. It is in these small acts, these lost gestures of kindness, that reveal the now fundamental underpinning of our relationships–they are shallow, undeveloped, and selective to the few others we have accepted in our private circles. Just think about it.
Now I know I do spend too much time myself doing similar stuff. It is so easy to cross over these thresholds–yes they are thresholds too. Maybe not such sophistocted ones, or intellectual or poetic ones. They may be little foxes that we don't like to even recognize are there. It is far easier to just go along with the crowd of our culture, as they say, "go with the flow". Well, I am worried about it. I do think that this technology results in and can be so greatly self aggrandizing to those using it–it puffs up ones ego. Yes, I worry about it because I see fewer and fewer smiles on peoples faces, more grumpy looks, some people don't even lift their heads, or their eyes are surely focused somewhere in the unbeknown ahead of them which gives them a privacy and self engrossed attitude. This gives people this supposed freedom of others. This is true even if you happen to rub shoulders as each pass by. It is so disturbing to me. Technology has begun to show the results of insulation by its use into our daily interactions with one another. In our churches we preach and teach about community and it is stressed and impressed upon us endlessly. The significance of the group, the importance of being a part of the whole, and then as the group teaching ends, each person stays in their insulated little webs and will come out only to speak to those they have accepted into their small "speak to" group of individuals. It is so depressing. You ask what's the big deal? The big deal is that this is action is only a small sign of our self deception of caring for one another and the community. We are so duped we don't even know it nor do we think it important. After all, I'm told, "that's the way it is now. You better just accept it our be miserable"…Some say, "suck it up," using the common coarse vernacular now — another sign of our degradation as a Christian community mimicking the taunts of unbelievers.
Let us be more mindful of the minute thresholds that surround us daily; let us be more mindful of the simple gestures of kindness that are a sign of the Love of God within us. Let us not be selective in our kindness to others. I beleive if we spent less time analyzing our little acts of everyday life on FaceBook and Twitter, we might be more aware of the little acts we can give and do for others and be thinking of them and not ourselves in the right here and now.
It is my belief that if we spent more time in silence with the intent of being with our Creator we would be less inclined to want to be a part of the whirlwind of the vernacular dribble of telling others what we are doing at any given moment. It is a sign to me if my attitudes and impressions become self focused, I am spending more time on the web than in prayer. I don't think we are in a modern age that is less human than the first century. We need to stay in constant prayer to stay awake to the wiles of the ways that separate us more and more from living in God's Love. We should be more loving than ever. I am the first to be judged and I confess I find it harder and harder to live in God's love for others as I find them less and less loving. It is the great love of God that loves the loveless. Who is ever at the side of the ignored, the lost one, the lonely one at the pool Siloam, or the woman of the age who are slaves to their masters whoever they are. I confess there is in my own life a discrepancy of action to my love for others and it is too great — I pray to draw closer to God so that I might exhibit more of a life living and moving in Love for all others. I pray this for you too. Amen.
True Christian grace affects our attitude toward others, as Lady Julian of Norwich said, "For of all things the beholding and loving of the Maker maketh the soul to seem less in his own sight, and most filleth him with reverent dread and true meekness; with plenty of charity to his fellow Christians." A.W. Tozer paraphrased her "quaint English" this way, "Any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christian may safely be written off as spurious.