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Tuesday after Lent III-March 17, 2009

  • Posted on Mar 17, 2009

St Patrick’s E-Mail Jig

Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Today I find myself in Western Maryland and everyone is wearing green. When I am in Western Maryland, there is a feeling of being in a monastic frame of mind. Our house does not have landline phone service, television service or an internet connection. The cellphone service depends on the weather–and how thick the air is—really! Voicemail messages are delayed for a few hours. At the house, it really does have a sense of being away from it all. I have a sense of Sabbath—and this is because I am more separated from modern technology. I can access it, but I have to make an effort.
If I want to check my e-mail, I have to go to the local library where there is free wireless service. I can work on sermons, letters, teaching outlines and more from home off-line but cannot use the internet. That means that I can only really check my e-mail once a day–if that often. If I had been at home or the office in Baltimore today, I would have checked my e-mail at least twice and probably three times by now. If we are always connected, can there ever be a time of Sabbath? So, whenever I am here, I wonder what it would be if I had a discipline of checking my e-mail once a day—even when in Baltimore. When the e-mail or web is available at all times, it is so easy just to check one more time within the space of an hour or so. Before I know it, time that could be used to research and write or complete a project that takes good concentrated work is gone. Is checking e-mail frequently a sign of acedia or sloth? Sometimes I think it is. A way to procrastinate and keep from the important work at hand.
Do you have a discipline with e-mail that allows you to use its benefits and not get caught in the addiction of constant contact?
Ah well, it’s time to leave the library and go home. No more checking in for today. Time for some sabbath.