Digital Spirituality

Like most people these days, I have a mobile phone and use it for all kinds of things. There are the standard apps such as text messaging, email, news services, various “how to I get there” direction services, and the list goes on. Then we get into the specialty apps that are particular to your work, your interests, and avocations minor and grand. I have the iBreviary app on my phone/tablet. Can’t remember the last time I used the hard copy book. Its easy access has let me be far more consistent in the rhythms of daily prayer.

To say mobile devices are ubiquitous even seems like an understatement. Not only are mobile devices omnipresent, they have become de rigueur, mandatory, obligatory, universal, endemic, rampant….and I think I ran out of words. Admit it, when you want to get in touch with someone and they can’t instantly share their contact information using near-field technology, you begin to imagine a 21st century Luddite that might actually want to write the information down on a piece of paper for you.

My mobile phone tells me how much time I spend on it, which really is not too much. Yesterday my largest use was iBreviary. In a distant second place was a virtual tie between test message and email apps. Teens spend 7 hours and 22 minutes on their phones largely connected to the ubiquitous (there’s that word again) social media apps in all its variety and instances. By comparison I am carrying around a paper weight in my pocket.

We shouldn’t be so surprised. After all, at heart we are social beings. But all kinds of energies can be drained down the rabbit hole chasing what’s trending. But then all kinds of good can come about connecting with people/articles/sites that – before were unreachable – and now are a click away. Either way it affects your spirituality.

Take a deep dive into the internet searching for something akin to “cell phones spirituality” and you might be surprised by what turns up. There are a whole range of blogs discussing the meaning of the appearance of cell phones in your dreams. One of the blogs wrote: “God communicates with us through various ways, and that may sometimes come through a cell phone dream.” ….OK…but just because the birds don’t talk to me doesn’t mean they don’t talk.

Refining the query, here are results from a query about cell phones and one’s spiritual life.

  • 7 Ways Smartphones Can Enhance Your Spiritual Life
  • 3 Ways Smartphones Affect Your Spiritual Life – Southern Equip
  • The Spiritual Dangers of Smartphones
  • 5 Ways Your Phone Is Stealing Your Life (and How to Stop It)
  • Smartphone Addiction and Our Spiritual ADD
  • Cell Phone Spirituality: What your cell phone can teach you about life and God.
  • 10 Ways Phones Can be Used for Our Good and God’s Glory

Clearly there are admonishments, warning, encouragement and offered wisdom about you, your cell phone, and your spiritual life. Just something I was musing about on my day off.

A spirituality for you

Today is the Feast of St. Martha and the day’s celebration offers the celebrant two choices for a gospel reading.  One is the well-known Lukan gospel in which Martha wants Jesus to make her sister Mary help her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” And in that moment we wonder if we are being told that Mary’s spirituality is the preferred one and poor Martha was so busy she was missing the great moment of faith. Continue reading

Bourbon and the Spiritual Life

Bardstown, Kentucky is not a large town; the population is only 12,000 or so. It was the first center of Roman Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains in the original western frontier territories of the United States. The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, by Pope Pius VII to serve all Catholics west of the Appalachians. The diocese served Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and parts of other states. This area is now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses across 10 states. Bardstown and the local surrounds are home to the Basilica of St. Joseph (the first Cathedral before the diocese center moved to Louisville), the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse and the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemane, the Trappist monastery that was home to Thomas Merton. If that weren’t enough, several distilleries operate in and around the Bardstown area, including Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Barton 1792 and Maker’s Mark, among others, and thus the town is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. And perhaps bourbon and the spiritual life are connected and not just a consequence of history. Continue reading

On being spiritual but not religious….

From Rabbi David Wolpe (Time.com, March 21)

“Spirituality is an emotion. Religion is an obligation. Spirituality soothes. Religion mobilizes. Spirituality is satisfied with itself. Religion is dissatisfied with the world. Religions create aid organizations….[T]he largest U.S.-based international relief and development organization…is World Vision, a Seattle-based Christian group.”

Certainly, not the last word on the topic, but certainly something to think about…

The Book of Nature and the Book of the Word

One of the interesting currents in the tradition of the Church is the idea of the two Books. And by that I do not mean the Old and New Testaments. The two are the “Book of Nature” and the “Book of the Word” (a dual meaning referring to Christ and to the Holy Scriptures). In the beginning there was only need for the book of nature. As our hymns proclaim:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the firmament proclaims the works of his hands
Day unto day pours forth speech;
night unto night whispers knowledge (Ps 19)

Continue reading