Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Luddites Were Wrong

On this cold Long Island day, with rain and snow flurries. and collars once again turned up against the (spring) weather, a sequence of events led me to a state of wonder, marvel and gratitude. My! That's a strong statement to begin a blog post if ever I saw one! Did it involve a religious experience? A physical transformation? Abduction by aliens? (Actually ignore the latter suggestion, as I live in a northern part of the United States where there is no desert or ennui to over-stimulate the imagination.)

No, it was a simple Facebook communication. Now you either love it or dismiss it, but Facebook can be a tool for great good in many ways. One of these, today, was theological. In virtual conversation with a fellow priest. Father Juan Quevedo-Bosch serves in Astoria, Queens, New York - one of the most wonderfully and demographically diverse neighborhoods in the "Five Boroughs." He sent me a quote attributed to Ephrem the Syrian. Of course you have read his fourth century commentaries, and if you haven't it's time to do so. C'mon! Get with the program! This one included a powerful comment by the theologian Kenneth E Bailey in his work, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. I will share this comment on the charged encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at a well. (John's Gospel)

At the beginning of the conversation he did not make himself known to her but first she caught sight of a thirsty man, then a Jew, afterwards a prophet, last of all the Messiah. She tried to get the better of the thirsty man, she showed dislike of the Jew, she heckled the rabbi, she was swept of her feet by the prophet and she adored the Christ.

In a Facebook exchange Juan told me about the book. He was in a hurry and rushing off to mass. What did I do? I went straight to where the book was retailing for $26. I then noticed that it was available electronically, and so in three (or was it two?) clicks I ordered it for my Kindle. Engaging the wireless app, the book appeared on my reader in thirty seconds. Price? $9 and change.

Of course we could always hand-set print and turn handles. No, that's an extreme position. But as one who embraces the electronic media, I can now enjoy and be stimulated by additional Lenten reading. Effortlessly, and with minimal loss to me and the environment.

Now, what was that about Jesus? And the woman? Ah, yes. I must read on... Click.

No comments: