Here I am blogging, writing for online magazines, twittering (natebettger), facebooking, texting, cell phoning, emailing… while in the meantime reading stuff like the following from Richard Rohr (Adam’s Return):
Lifestyle and relatedness is more important than words, or as Francis of Assisi is supposed to have said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” We may reach out through the media and technology or through our written or spoken message, but we finally transform and initiate each other through who we are. Transformed people tend to transform people. In fact, we tend to be able to lead people only as far as we ourselves have gone.
It is relationships that change us much more than ideas. We cannot really do something until we have seen someone else do it; it cannot yet enter our mind as a possibility,. You do not know what patience is until you have met one truly patient person. You do not know what love is until you have observed how a loving person loves. What power we have for one another! For good an fro for ill. Thus rites of passage were communal rites, led by elders and father figures, and not sermons or a series of questions and answers – very low-risk encounters and forms of education, which the churches have relied upon for centuries.
It’s challenging to me, as I feel like these new media communication technologies can be so helpful for staying connected. Yet at the same time, I know my own tendency to neglect the one (more important) thing in an effort to stay up with the other. This is where my eyes often start aching in and my head starts pounding. I feel as though I need to stop my face to face conversations to answer that text, respond to that email, or check the latest facebook status. My presence is spoiled with someone and what is really going on in their life because I need to talk about the latest widget or external application for my online utilities.
My challenge is to focus first on what’s happening within myself and my present world that I am in. Rather than getting lost with my computer and headphones at the coffee shop, I hope I can see that the person sitting next to me is clearly hurting or the woman behind the counter is stressed out. I will only be able to transform and effect the place I currently find myself in by being present and transforming myself. This must be my highest priority. The media is merely a means.