Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not Much Meandering

I'm not sure why but I'm not surfing the web as much these days (or meandering as my blog post titles would say). These days I have not wandered much further afield than a few regular blogs (like my children's blogs, Alan and Esther in Africa, Jesus Creed) and the occasional automobile site. I realize that my meandering sometimes comes from distractibility - when I'm working on something and just feel like I can't continue on without a break. Sometimes it is a pure lack of focus and motivation that sends me to search out interesting and strange posts. Sometimes my motivations are as pure as the driven snow - I really do have a thirst for knowledge and I am genuinely interested in a great many things.

So this all begs the question, why am I not surfing as much? One of the reasons is that I'm feeling some of the pressure of the things I want and need to do in terms of my studies and of the pressure I feel as a friend and I contemplate writing a book together. These efforts require a great deal of creative thought and theological reflection. Secondly, I've been making a couple of significant connections with some new people that I have been mentoring. Those connections require more time and more thought and meditational prayer. Thirdly, I've committed myself (and our congregation) to be praying more for neighbours, co-workers and friends. That requires some time and energy and focus.

I also think that one of the major reasons I'm not surfing much is because there is so much stuff out there and most of it is junk. I have been sensing that a great number of people have been sensing the futility of just gathering more information without really acting on it. The internet is a great source of information but it is getting to the point that sometimes it's not worth wading through all the junk in order to find the specific stuff that you really want. Maybe I'm just being more disciplined in sorting through the fluff to get to the heart. I wonder about how much information the collective human mind can actually hold. At what point does too much information just become futility?

This doesn't bode well for someone like me who is writing a blog hoping that someone comes across my mental meanderings posted on the web - who hopefully finds something of interest or inspiration. Others have felt the same way. One of the bloggers I regularly read has just up and quit (Fred Peatross) and now sends out an occasional email (now usually written by someone else). It makes me wonder about simpler times when you needed to work for the information you wanted. Because you can get anything you want with the click of a mouse our brains have become empty and lazy. We have filled them with useless amusements knowing the the stuff we need will always be available.

It also makes me wonder about what happened to that valuable art of memorization. It has certainly taken a toll on Scripture memorization when what you want can be searched for in a couple of seconds. It has also caused us to be ignorant of some great works of literature that was often committed to memory. I remember having to memorize forty or fifty lines of Shakespeare in high school and poems like Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman or The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in grade school. I won't even get into spell checking.

I occasionally have an apocalyptic bent where I wonder what would happen if a gigantic solar flare fried all of our electrical generating facilities and we would have to go without all our electronic gadgets? I wonder how quickly our society would degrade into the survival of the fittest. I wonder who would be holding aloft the light of civility and grace and knowledge and faith? I want to read more books, pray more prayers and have deeper talks with more people. I want to write more and laugh more and do things that last a lifetime - or maybe an eternity.

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