On this twenty-fifth anniversary of the birth of the internet, it is so tempting to write a scathing assessment of how it has left us spiritually bankrupt, but I won’t. Instead, because I am a geek decked out in pseudo-holy garb, I’ll say this:
– for the opportunity to realize and monitor a tendency toward addiction.
– for the realization that looking a Dell laptop in the eye is not the same as intimacy with real people.
– for the brilliance of Saint Google who tells me how to fix OS 8.1 before I abandon my vow of nonviolence.
-for connecting me to amazing souls throughout the world who dance the dance of the Universe with me, and return me to myself.
– for awakening us to our duty toward the common good, and connecting us in acts of justice.
– for offering our children the opportunity to learn compassion through their research.
– for those who work toward universal access to the internet, toward a level playing field for all.
– for the availability of the spiritual masters and the great scriptures of humankind available in the public domain.
– for the gift of intelligence and creativity that gave us this gift.
May we use you consciously and with right conscience.
My journey to the car wash this Fourth of July afternoon offered up a full spectrum of emotions. I had just spent an hour studying my friend Matt’s blog post about his experience of picking coffee in Columbia and listening to the plight of farmers displaced by multinational coffee corporations ( http://matthollandsj.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/one-more-cup-of-coffee-fore-i-go/) . In the car, my mind raced through facts about the injustices to people and environment, perpetrated to a large degree by the U.S. And my heart ached for the priest Matt said had been mutilated and murdered by the Columbian government because he stood in their way of amassing land from farmers to accommodate the multinationals. My Fourth hadn’t gotten off to a good start. Like Jesus, my spirit wept for my sins of waste and consumerism, and for the sins of my country.
First stop: the Shoreline Library, where I scanned the borrowed DVD’s and slipped them into the return bin. Such excellent films they were, all for free. There on the bench outside the entrance to the library, sat an aging Asian couple, laptop in hand and completely immersed in a program wi-fied to them, compliments of the library. Fireworks exploded in my heart. This is also America, I thought. Our tax dollars at work on behalf of this immigrant couple who possibly came here from Tibet, in search of their stolen freedom.
Last stop: a challenge. The 90’s offered up a biting satirical film starring Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson, and Woody Harrelson. It was called, “Wag the Dog.” It seems the president’s affair has hit the newsstand, so his chief of staff hires a Hollywood producer to create a war in Albania to divert attention from the affair. A “war hero” is conjured up and a patriotic song, “Old Shu,” is composed to rally all of America around the pretend-war effort. I swear. They played that song the duration of my tour through Walgreen’s. I was off again!
So, now for the spiritual practice necessary here. Never stop thinking. Never stop weeping over Jerusalem. But always seek the WHOLE truth, which embodies grace as well as sin.
Happy Fourth of July!