Today’s find: Feeding the need to Tweet

Well, I guess we settled one thing Thursday night: Carrie Underwood is NOT Julie Andrews.

You gotta hand it to Carrie, though: She’s enough of a star to create a happening on network TV – in this case, NBC’s ‘live’ broadcast of The Sound of Music, featuring Ms. Underwood in the Maria Von Trapp role.

An ambitious undertaking, without a doubt – but one that fell short of the mark, at least if we judge by the Twitter chatter.

I’m a bit of Twitter novice myself – I’ve had my account up for just a few months now – so I still find all the talk of hashtags and retweets just a tad confusing. But I did manage to locate a ‘#Sound of Music’ feed after the broadcast last night…and before long, I was wishing I had kept that particular genie in the bottle.

I’ll admit: I found the first few snarky tweets amusing. But then they kept coming…and coming…and coming: Dozens, then hundreds, of instantaneous mini-reviews – everyone seemingly wanting to get in on the action: Offering up their two-cents’ worth…observations that, for the most part, would have been a bargain at half that price.

That’s not a bad thing, I guess. But it seems to run counter to the message that Jesus encourages us to consider in today’s gospel. It tells the story of two blind men who come to him, begging to be cured of their affliction. Jesus has compassion on them, touching their eyes and restoring their sight. Then Matthew goes on to say:

‘Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.’

On one level, I think I understand that impulse. If I’ve been cured…or touched…or healed…I think I’d want to spread the word far and wide, too. Still, it’s worth considering the fact that Jesus asked them – asks us – to pause a bit before going down that path.

Take a moment, he seems to say, to consider how you have been changed.

Meditate on how the power of the Lord is working in your life.

It was a hard message for those two men to hear in Jesus’ time. It may be even harder for us today, with the wide array of Twitter feeds, Facebook accounts and blog pages at our disposal.

Still, I’ve come to see it as a useful spiritual discipline – the ability to pause before proceeding. As Richard Rohr observed in his daily meditation today,

This does not come naturally to us, surely not in our culture. We have to work at it. All forms of meditation and contemplation teach some form of compartmentalizing or limiting the control of the mental ego—or what some call the “monkey mind,” which just keeps jumping from observation to observation, distraction to distraction, feeling to feeling, commentary to commentary.

Most of this mental action means very little and is actually the opposite of consciousness. In fact, it is unconsciousness. It is even foolish to call it “thinking” at all…

Fr. Rohr’s reflection certainly gave me cause for pause this morning. Are we sinning – turning away from God’s grace – every time we feed the need to tweet? Maybe not.

But a better model, perhaps, is to take a cue from Mary, the mother of Jesus, this Advent season – who didn’t let her ‘monkey mind’ run wild, but instead ‘kept all these things in her heart.’ (Luke 2: 51)

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