Monday, August 29, 2011

Massaging the Medium

I was practicing the discipline of Lectio Divina today using Psalm 63:1-8.

Though the discipline invites me to reflect upon one word or phrase, there was a sense of ‘physicality’ flowing through most of the verses which highlighted a whole host of words as I read it over and over.

Words like:
-         seeking
-         thirsting
-         fainting flesh
-         weary
-         looking
-         lips
-         hands
-         calling
-         rich feasting
-         mouth praising
-         thinking in my bed
-         singing
-         clinging
-         upholding

That’s what I love most about the psalms, their tangibility.  I can FEEL through the psalms – both physically and emotionally.  There is an honesty in the words of joy and sorrow that often leads me to say, “I know how you feel,” and, “Thank God I’m not the only one who feels that way sometimes.”

One thing that is generally true in our ‘post-modern’ world is that ideas and ideologies have become the currency of the day.  This has become abundantly clear in the explosion of social media connections we have allowed to become confused with real life.  Remember, Marshall McLuhan, would point out, “The medium is the message.”  All the facebooking and twittering we do actually communicates the overriding messages of “Facebook” and “Twitter.”  What we post and how often are secondary to the growth and promulgation of the media themselves.

This dilemma is often true of our religious institutions as well.  We can spend ridiculous amounts of time and resources on arguing the fine points without ever noticing the poor, hungry, lost and lonely who are all around us – they are even among those who are on the other side of our debates!  “The Argument” or “The Debate” has become the defining medium of our churches in many cases, versus “The Good News…..”

The psalms remind us that we need to stop conceptualizing our world, to stop living in the virtual worlds of debate or cyberspace and refocus on the reality which is our blood and guts interaction with one another.  I like to remind people that the psalms are not writing, but songs from the heart.  So don’t read the psalms in your head, voice them and seek to connect with the raw reality of the composers and their lives.  It is a far more enriching experience.

In my daily interactions with you I am not seeking to deduce and clearer mental representation of the concept of ‘self” by which you identify yourself, or simply ‘check your status’….I just want to get to KNOW you.  Let me shake your hand, talk to you, share your joys and sorrows, be WITH you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still post things on my Facebook account and write my Blog, but they need to be put in their place.

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