I read Amy Wellborn's article on The Hack and applying it to social media shenanigans of today. I know dozens of professional ministers that are hanging a question mark on everything now. Walk with me through the pain!
- The Hazards of Online Faith-Writing | Church Life Journal | University of Notre Dame — . . . . The funny things was, she supposed that none of this would have been necessary if he had just been a plain uncomplicated windbag like the other inspirationists: he could have gone to his grave with his round tones, his relaxed manner and the untroubled face of a child. But Bert wasn’t an uncomplicated windbag. He wasn’t even a natural hack. He was conned into it by public request. He wanted to do first-rate work, but he had trouble with it, and he did so much good the other way . . . The worst of it was you couldn’t even blame the Church. The Church hadn’t asked him to write anything, wouldn’t care if he stopped. Every institution kept up a froth of chatter these days; it didn’t much matter who did the actual frothing. A million tons of stupid words had to be manufactured by somebody; but getting mad at those was like getting mad at New Jersey, as Bert used to say. It is uncanny, isn’t it? . . . A million tons of stupid words had to be manufactured by somebody. Only now it is not so much print of course. I am sure almost every Catholic print publication could disappear tomorrow and hardly anyone would care, but what counts is what we are all spewing out online all the time. The Hack is perceptive, very funny, a little overly discursive and perhaps disjointed, but still deeply recognizable. It is also a caution to all of us engaged in spiritual communication for any kind of pay including simply exposure, and a caution to all of those who pay to engage with spiritual communicators, even if the payment you are offering is simply your time and attention. The caution offered by The Hack is this: that kind of communication and the demands of its audience do not just reflect faith, instead they have the power to shape it, and perhaps not always in a positive way. Bert and his audience are caught in a vicious circle of generating and being comforted by pious platitudes. Bert’s loss of faith is not due to him grappling with and then being bested by existential questions and profound theological mysteries. It is due to him avoiding them, allowing the platitudes and sentiment to dominate his spirit because that is where his energy has gone. Then when that dissipates and disappears, he has nothing left.
- 7 Quick Takes | Charlotte was Both — Consider what you’re being sold these days, even from Catholics. In every way, in every corner, it seems to be about you and your self. We are constantly told that the core of spiritual seeking is to discover who you really are, with gifts ‘n’ talents at the ready, accept who you really are, accept that God accepts you as you really are, arrange your life around the self you have accepted, be passionate about that self and its potential for greatness, find a church community that accepts you as you really are, and then get upset if you feel that you’re not being accepted as you really are. Lather, rinse, repeat.