What time is it?

A few weeks ago, Jane blogged about reading the first chapter of Receiving the Day while en route to my ordination.  She described the irony of reading about sacred time while caught up in air travel hell.  As I read chapter 2, “This Is the Day that God Made,” I’m caught in a similar tension.  Bass writes about how we divide up our days into hours and minutes, frantically rushing to fill those slots in “appropriate” and “productive” ways.  She then encourages creating a different kind of rhythm for ourselves–a pattern of thought, prayer, and worship that remind us about our relationship with God and the gift of each day.  I was grateful that Bass admits she herself struggles to follow this practice (pp. 23-4)–because God knows I do too!  Indeed, as I write this blog post, my mind is racing with countless obligations, commitments, and to-do lists.

Furthermore, I was amused to read this passage, in which Bass critiques technology (especially the Internet) and its effect on our sense of time:

“A new pattern of time is emerging, one that moves to a digital beat that has regard for neither night nor day… the impending homogenization of the hours is disturbing because it robs many people of the opportunity to ask one another, ‘How was your day?’  It is worrisome because it keeps people on the go too long, stretching their hours of labor and isolating them on schedules different from those of the people they love.  It makes it less likely that we will share stories about where we meet God today as we drift off to sleep.  We are in danger of losing our bearings and companions in the glare of an all-night arcade” (pp. 28-9).

Funny to read these words as I post on the blog we created to help us stay interconnected!  I see Bass’s point, I really do.  But, I gotta say, I’m not entirely convinced.  Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I struggle against such blanket statements about the Internet.  I have heard and seen too many examples of the Internet helping people to maintain relationships and use their time meaningfully.  I think of a First Churcher who gave thanks last week in worship for the miracle of Skype, which keeps her grandchildren connected to their father on the other side of the world.  I think of friends who met over the Internet and are now happily married.  I think about people who take night classes on the web, or do social justice organizing in minutes, or any number of positive, life-affirming things…

What do you think?  Has technology “homogenized your hours” or do you see it as a tool for greater connection… or something in-between?



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