Friday, May 28, 2010

"Allow yourself to be taught" - John of the Cross

Lady Elena of Tea at Trianon has posted a much needed reflection regarding online civility.  I for one usually assume even the most casual of readers of my posts understands where I'm coming from in offering my point of view, a personal opinion, something satirical or just plain foolishly ironic.  I forget that readers cannot hear a tone of voice or see a kindly smile.  I also forget that many people just don't get my humor - translated that really means they don't think I'm funny.  (I also tend to forget boundaries.  It's a very strange world online - we think we really know one another, but in most instances, we don't.)
Anyway, Elena posts her own thoughts on the matter and refers us to another source on cyber bullying:
Facebook has to be used with prudence and discretion, not to mention wisdom and kindness. Facebook is a place for being especially polite, to make certain that our intentions are not misunderstood. Those who are willing to invite us into their lives do so with a certain degree of trust that should not be abused by making intrusive and presumptuous remarks, just because we have the ability to write on someone's wall. It can become a form of harassment and even of cyberbullying. - Elena: Learning to use social media.

One of the most toxic trends that has been exacerbated by the advancements in technology is the emergence of the highly narcissistic persona behind technology. It is one that carries with it an inflated sense of self, a false but bigger-than-life sense of worth, and the delusion of an expert voice on matters from the weather to nuclear disarmament. We can be whoever and whatever we want – because we matter. And we can do whatever to whomever we want – because we can. We are entitled.

We can hide behind the computer screen with an alias while randomly posting violations of one another. With the stroke of a key or the press of a button, we have the ability to rob others of their dignity and grace, to redefine their worth and reputation, and relinquish them to foreign places and positions. We can seek out and strike whenever, wherever we want, and then we can run and hide. - Cyberbullying
"With the stroke of a key or the press of a button, we have the ability to rob others of their dignity and grace, to redefine their worth and reputation, and relinquish them to foreign places and positions."

My sincere apologies and prayers to everyone I've 'done in' this way... be it deliberate or indeliberate.  I will pray and do penance.  And a big thank you to Elena for her good work - using the internet as it ought to be. 

Art:  Study for the L.A. Cathedral tapestries. - John Nava


  1. Oh, put me to shame (in a good way, I might add);
    thanks to your frequent "examens" and "confessions" of all that you mention, you remind me that I must be careful, charitable, and very prudential in what I contribute on-line.
    Thanks, Brother...I really mean it.
    The "nasty" comes out in more than I want or realize, sometimes!
    I have refrained in the past several weeks of commenting on certain blogs where the "fever pitch" gets a bit hot about all that is wrong in the world and in the Church.
    Thanks to you; I mean it. I really do...Terry, whether you want to hear it or admit it, you are the best; you make me want to be holy and to love the brethren. Really!

  2. Well - I think you're funny, but then I'm insane...

    Nazareth Priest - I never comment on a post with which I disagree. It strikes me as a complete waste of time. And if they post enough things I find silly, they are deleted from my Google Reader.

  3. Oh yeah--people get real brave when they are behind the keyboard, and not necessarily anonymous...

    At work I can pass people 20 times in the hallway, won't get the slightest acknowledgement from them, and I get back to my desk and there is an email from them..

    Lots of times I will follow up a conversation or phone call with an email, just to have a written record for my files, especially if it is project-related. But I rarely communicate exclusively by email..

    In addition to the super-critical posters you also have the super sensitive ones--when you can tell them to have a nice day and that benign comment can hurt their feelings...

    ALOT of us need to go back to Kindergarten 101 and learn how to play nice in the sandbox...for some reason there are basic social skills that are not being learned and applied...

    Terry--I LUV your sense of humor :) No sense beating yourself with the cat-o-nines for those who "don't get it."


  4. Sara:
    There is some kind of saying about "Kindergarten"...the things I learned that lasted for life, or something like that...reminds me of your comments.
    Don't we all need to learn some civility?
    My good Mum and Dad, bless them, taught us (and I'm not bragging here) how to be civil, kind and socially acceptable, even when we were ready to crap our pants or barf (!)...and I can attest that it still exists in all my must be the "English propriety" Mother-dear taught us...but thanks be to God...we have a wild, naughty and nasty sense of humor (in private, mind you...and also on line,LOL!), but when in public, we are all kinds of nice...but that's just civility, no?
    Unless you're being a total hypocrite...sometimes it's just well worth it to keep your clap shut (and more charitable and virtuous to keep it shut when the person is gone!!:<)!.
    Do I hear an 'Amen'?

  5. Isn't Elena a gem in the quagmire that is the Internet?

  6. Father you shame me! LOL! I suffer for my sanity however... that's a line from a song.

    Thanks much Sara!

    Gette - I agree, Elena is an extraordinary person.

  7. Terry, don't we all "suffer for our sanity"??
    The older I get (and it's not that old)...the more I realize how much I've wasted my time being "bent out of shape" of what the "cool kids" think (you can put whatever group into this category)...right now, pardon me, but I'm in a WTF kinda mood...I'm taking a sister to chemo, I'm dealing with my own health issues, I'm watching my parents get older and feebler...and I say pardon me, I'm a priest, a religious and all...but only God, only God is worth everything...I mean it...really.
    I thought I was going to see His Face recently, and I was okay with that.
    Otherwise, let's just try to work out our differences, love the Lord, and get on with it.
    Yeah, that's it!

  8. Terry, I think that you are hilarious and yet you make me think at the same time. I think we have all pretty much learned how to deal with each other on blogs. If someone does not like a blog, then they don't have to visit it, period. Facebook offers a whole new set of challenges, because FB brings everyone together; people who "know" each other but may not really share interests. I had some woman from my neighborhood constantly teasing me in a way that became harassing...and on my own FB page. I had to put her on limited profile and she was then deeply offended.

    Thank you for the link and the kind words.

  9. One of the reasons I avoid FB is because I know my vices - I can be sarcastic and snarky, and once it's out "there" in the interwebs, it can never be called back.

    That being said, I have to continually work at not crossing the line that runs between being satirical and being cruel and nasty on my blog. Especially to commenters. I have found that just deleting the particularly inappropriate comments is better than addressing them.

    Adrienne - I agree with you - commenting on blogs we disagree with makes no sense and only adds to the hostility - unless it can be done charitably. Even then, it's best to just click away and leave a funny comment here at Terry's.

  10. Elena - thanks - I dropped Facebook several months ago. Nothing is wrong with being on it, but it was too much for me to handle.

    Larry - you are a perfect gentleman - I have never detected a mean-spirited word from you ever.

    Adrienne I don't comment on blogs I disagree with - but I do posts about them sometimes... something to blog about, y'know. See - that is how I get in so much trouble.

    Praying for you Father - I know you have a lot going on right now. God bless.

  11. Adrienne and Larry D: I used to comment on NCReporter...especially to be nasty to the frequent "trolls" and obnoxious contributors... no more...why?
    It's just too much a "nastiness" and
    "jpw cam o "fla,e" tje odiootic no-brain"?...not that I was any good at it...I decided to use that time and energy for prayer for the eeejdits who only get brainwashed by Fr. McBrien/Sr. Chittister/ who are the "gurus" of that particular cyberspace...grace is more powerful than actions...a contemplative aspect (my vocation, in fact!) rather than activism...we all have our gifts.
    I have found that whether or not I see the effects/fruits of it I must be more involved with prayer/penance...and leave the others to you most able folks (Larry D. among them...Terry and Cathy of Alex/Adoro/The al.)...I'm just a very poor priest who prays, tries to love Jesus, and offers his sufferings (as pitiful as they are) for all of you...we really do love you here...we really do!!

  12. Oh, for shit's sake... I have no idea what "jpw cam o fla,e" tju oidootic no brain? flippin' way:<)_!
    Just write it off, mates!
    I am goin' to bed now's just the right thing to do...I'm useless.
    Thanks, Terry. And all of you.
    I need you all. I really do. I'm so sad right now...I don't know how I'm gonna take the next sister is dyin'...I am so sad.
    It's okay. Jesus is everything.
    I'm in Holy Saturday right now.
    She is so good; so accepting of all of this...I am so sad...

  13. np - I'll be praying for you!!

  14. NP--when my dad was dying of brain cancer I had to be the strong one in the was really rough, juggling job, family, medical treatments..I hardly felt like I had time to pray and felt so numb and out of control, but looking back I am so glad I did what I did..I could really feel everyone's prayer surroundingme and supporting try your best and leave the rest in God's hands...I will definitely remember you struggles in my prayers.

    I will be attending the Ordination Mass at SLC Cathedral Sat morning...will especially lift you up in prayer. I have never been to an Ordination Mass..looking forward to it!!

    God Bless.. Sara

  15. Thank you, all: Terry, Adrienne, Sara and LarryD.
    I don't want to become a narcissistic a**hole.
    My sister has had such a hard life;
    I'm now a part of it, not being present to her for various reasons.
    Thank you, thank you so much.


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