Status Update—Spending Time Face to Face

Getting back to writing after a bit of travels, I report today from the beautiful campus of Santa Clara University in the silicon valley. I’m here attending a small conference/meeting on Theology and Communications: In Dialogue being held by the Pontifical Council on Social Communication, in conjunction with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. It has been a collegial and thought provoking meeting, with lots of talks and conversation.

Yesterday focused on what might be termed “Communication Theology”. Scholars being what they are, there are several different ways of understanding the term, but suffice it to say that people are working to more clearly a Christian, Catholic understanding of the fundamental role of communication (broadly speaking) and communion (as in deep connection) in human life. Today has been focused more narrowly on issues relating Christianity and the internet/digital culture/cyberspace. Very good stuff, and much more optimistic than one might expect given stereotypes about Catholics and media.
In the upcoming weeks, I’ll offer some reflections on things that came up over the conference. I am loath, though, to talk much about it for fear that it might end up an unseemly celebration of something that almost no one else has had a chance to enjoy.

I do, however, want to express my deep gratitude not for the conference per se (although I am grateful in that regard), but more about the many opportunities that I have so sit and talk with people about things that matter. Our culture celebrates getting things done. That’s one of the things that has helped it be so successful. And there is much to be said for the moral and spiritual power of work. Who we are has a lot to do with what we do, and our work is part of our human becoming.

That being said, we take too little time, I think, to sit and talk. To communicate with those around us, to listen as well as talk. That interchange—being together, sharing and listening—is the basic unit of being human, for it is the basic unit of our social lives. And when the interchange is with God, it is the basic unit of our spiritual lives. So often, though, we skip conversation, avoiding it as either unproductive—”wasting time” is the phrase we use—or jumping past to aggressive recreation.

So, let me offer a toast to conversation. Source of hope. Worth the time.

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