I have taken the last few days off from blogging, just feeling exhausted, and thinking through this topic of God’s will. I was ready to get up this morning, and continue down that direction, when I came across an excerpt of writing, issued by Pope John Paul II. The excerpt was posted today on Hugh Hewitt, and dealt with the issue of the Church and media. Such a huge topic for the Church these days, especially for everyone who either communicates via computer technology, or is wanting to.

Before I post this excerpt, let me say a few things. One, communicating through technology could come in the form of a few different types of transmissions. You could be a blogger. You could just surf the web. You could primarily email. You might IM. You might text message. Or maybe you do everything through your cell phone. These and more, are all ways that we communicate through technology, and it’s ever changing forms.

But the questions I have been asking myself recently have been: 1) How effective is communication through new technology, such as blogging? 2) Do messages, or ideas, or nuances, or emotions, or expressions get lost through the transmission of communication via technology? 3) Do we tend to mis-read, or mis-interpret people when we communicate through technology? 4) Have we substituted the face to face encounter with people, for communication through technology?

Why all these questions? Because as much as I love blogging, or communicating through email, or through text messaging, sometimes I wonder if the effectiveness of my communication has waned because of this? Or have I gotten too lazy? Do I avoid the face to face, and submit emails instead? All these questions have arised recently, as some of my friends and I have found ourselves going back and having to explain to each other what we actually meant in a communication statement, done through technology. Or we have questioned, whether or not we were too harsh, or too emotional, or too…whatever. Somehow, during the transmission of communication our real emotions, or hand gestures, or body expressions were lost, than if it was a face to face encounter.

So though I think the new forms of communication are a great thing, there is a cost to be paid, and some cautions to be warranted.

As I was reading the Gospel of John last night, I came across this passage. “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17). Amazing passage. But what I have been thinking about is this: How do we as Christians, communicate grace and truth, and the person of Jesus Christ through new forms of technology? And when we communicate through new technology, have we tended to try and communicate the truth, without the grace? I mean really…it seems like grace is sometimes the first thing to go when we no longer have to have a face to face encounter with someone. Being in the presence of someone changes everything. God communicated through the prophets and writings, until the Incarnation, where Jesus came in the flesh, to communicate to us. But maybe we have headed the other direction? Have we moved from a fleshly, incarnational ministry, to a more technologically driven one?

I’m wondering about these things, and I have some things to think through. But until the next post, meditate on the Pope’s statements below: posted at Hugh Hewitt

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Posted at 3:25 PM, Pacific

Pope John Paul issued a letter on the Church and the media, and here is one example of the power of his presentation:

To Communicate with the Power of the Holy Spirit

13. The great challenge of our time for believers and for all people of good will is that of maintaining truthful and free communication which will help consolidate integral progress in the world. Everyone should know how to foster an attentive discernment and constant vigilance, developing a healthy critical capacity regarding the persuasive force of the communications media.

Also in this field, believers in Christ know that they can count upon the help of the Holy Spirit. Such help is all the more necessary when one considers how greatly the obstacles intrinsic to communication can be increased by ideologies, by the desire for profit or for power, and by rivalries and conflicts between individuals and groups, and also because of human weakness and social troubles. The modern technologies increase to a remarkable extent the speed, quantity and accessibility of communication, but they above all do not favor that delicate exchange which takes place between mind and mind, between heart and heart, and which should characterize any communication at the service of solidarity and love.

“Throughout the history of salvation, Christ presents himself to us as the “communicator” of the Father: “God, in these last days, has spoken to us through his Son” ( Heb 1:2). The eternal Word made flesh, in communicating Himself, always shows respect for those who listen, teaches understanding of their situation and needs, is moved to compassion for their suffering and to a resolute determination to say to them only what they need to hear without imposition or compromise, deceit or manipulation. Jesus teaches that communication is a moral act, “ A good person brings forth good out of a store of goodness, but an evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil. I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” ( Mt 12: 35-37).