Attention Must Be Paid

“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what he saw in a plain way.” –John Ruskin As nearly a year has passed since my last blog post, a year during which both my parents died (among other personal catastrophes), I am not going to attempt a continuity with that post I cannot feel. From where I am now, I cannot muster any confidence in my ability to write a “Part 2” that reasonably maintains the logic and tone of the first installment. Instead, I will attempt…

Nepsis and Digital Minimalism

During Lent, Fr Daniel Greeson inaugurated a series on this blog exploring the challenges of technology. So far, he has written a short piece that touches on the concept of technological skepticism and a more expansive essay on the New Media Epidemic. For my contribution to the ongoing discussion of the deleterious impact of constant digital media engagement, I will attempt to ground the framework of “digital minimalism” in the Orthodox ascetical practice of nepsis (νῆψις)—that is, sobriety and watchfulness, sometimes called “the guarding of our hearts.” The concept of nepsis was introduced to readers at…

Medicine in the Machine

I was recently in the emergency room with the family of a parishioner who had had an unexpected medical emergency. After waiting a while for the results of the procedure a man abruptly appeared clad in the iconic medical digs. This was obviously the person we were anxiously looking to hear from. Before we received the eagerly anticipated news, I was given the once over. For, of course, I was clad in cassock and cross. Our eyes were not to meet again. What happened in the next two and half minutes is something to which I…

Holy Week and The New Media Epidemic

  Holy Week is upon us in the Orthodox Church. We have celebrated the confirmation of the universal resurrection in our Lord’s raising up of his friend Lazarus, four days in the tomb. We have also cried out with the children running before our Lord in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Last evening we returned to Church to contemplate the approach of the Bridegroom. The troparion still rings in my ears. Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant He shall find vigilant; but unworthy is he whom he…

The Challenges of Technology: A New Series

Critically reflecting and commenting upon the deleterious effects of television, computers, video games, smart phones, and all sorts of new smart gadgets is nothing new. Jeremiads are an incredibly popular genre. I myself am partial to them. I mean, who doesn’t love a good lament?!? Jeremiads especially come to mind having just read “There are Spying Eyes Everywhere – And Now They Share a Brain.” We apparently now have the computing skills to be able to fuse all sorts of information feeds and technologies so as to have an all seeing eye of surveillance trained on…

Christmas Season and the Pandemic of Loneliness pt. 1

A quick google search will yield endless entries of various websites and blogs giving advice as to how to stop feeling lonely during the holiday season. Our uber-connected world is lonelier than ever. This constant strain is exacerbated by the holidays, a time when the religious and the irreligious focus upon the home and traditions flowing from the hearth and table. The year end rhythm of joyous raucous gatherings, gift giving, and tables laden with celebration are for many absent. Our screens flicker with images and sounds of joy and yet we sit in a dark…