Rick Warren and Me

Last year, David Isenberg spontaneously called on me at the Freedom To Connect conference to offer a “prayer for the internet.” Now, I spent enough years teaching for Protestants that I have some practice at extemporaneous prayer; such prayers are always an adventure, but with a decent sense of how to get to a conclusion, they usually turn out just fine.
At F2C, though, I knew that the room was brimful of people who espouse faiths quite distinct from mine — or no “faith” at all. While I am not ashamed of the gospel, I also try to follow the Apostle by meeting people on their own ground. To those under the Law, I become as one under the Law; to the geeks, as a geek. So I steered clear of explicit Christian theological affirmations. If I recall correctly, I cited a saint whom most everyone could recognize, Stevie Wonder: “Heaven help us all.”
Since I care ardently about well-chosen words, though, I’m beginning to scour my brain for a somewhat more extensive invocation. I would anticipate deliberate equivocation (not in the interest of suppressing the truth I learned from Scripture and the saints, but in the interest of bringing as many people as possible together in affirming convictions that are at least proximate to that truth). I don’t know when I would have a use for such an invocation, but I expect that President Obama may have some jobs left, or maybe a Little League opening ceremony. Anyway, it seems fitting that il cappellano di Blogaria, someone who has reflected on the nature of digital benediction, have an interfaith invocation readily at hand for internet occasions.

7 thoughts on “Rick Warren and Me

  1. My Spanish and Italian are both fading fast but isn’t it el cappellano? You so seldom make mistakes, I fear I have missed either the language or the intent.

  2. I know zero Italian, but I trust Gaspar Torriero to know; he is the one who labeled me.

  3. Having wended my way through a number of belief systems, the one thing that I feel very strongly about religion is that, just as Marx said, it is “the heart of a heartless world.” We all yearn for connection, for community, for personhood/brotherhood/sisterhood, in this heartless world. And so a prayer for the Internet would focus (in my imagination … wish I could’ve been there) on connecting, on community, and on the very real, virtually palpable affection we feel for those with whom we connect.

    Some of my friends look askance at Facebook status updates, to give one example, as egotistical posturing: “Who cares what you’re doing at any given moment? And what makes you think what you’re doing is worth broadcasting?” But I have a different take on it: the trivial is often the connective tissue between individuals that then makes possible real community. It’s ironic but true. If I were living down the road from a friend, and could talk to them or hear what they were doing during the day, I’d have a sense of their life as they live it. Not the well-organized, grammatically perfect long-form letter that gets harder and harder to put on paper and often lives solely in my head — no! The quotidian, the mundane bits of people’s lives that reflect their trials, their triumphs, and their grace under pressure … or lack thereof.

    Surely this opening invocation is online somewhere, AKMA. Or did I miss it in your original post?

  4. Freedom to Connect doesn’t come up till next Monday, Betsy — but if (when) I come up with something, I’ll post it here. Thanks for the encouraging reflections leading toward such an outcome.

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