Times and times again…

Another big snow storm is supposedly upon us. Friends of mine in Baltimore said they measured three feet from the last storm. We, in Brooklyn, lost out. We got barely a dusting. This time, however, may be different. The weather guy said last night that we could get 8-12 inches. I’ll believe it when I see it. Snow is falling at this point…
I have been mulling over in my mind how this blog might take shape in the future. As I have always intended, it is a place for me to “dump” things to which I can return later – to keep track of links or quotes or ideas and to “think out loud” as I try to figure out this crazy world of ours. I’ve been doing less “thinking out loud” and more posting of quotes.
I thought that I might us this space to chronicle this new ministry project in which I find myself. It is the creation of something completely new from scratch, from the ground up. It makes me nervous, but also excited. Getting used to doing ministry full-time is challenging. For the past 4 3/4 years, I’ve been a working priest. I’ve worked full-time and then did ministry during my “down” hours. I worked two jobs, and that was very frustrating. Months would go by and I would have no days off. It wore me out… it is an unhealthy way to live. Now, for these past three weeks, my job is my ministry. I don’t quite know what to do with myself. I feel guilty spending hours in a row planning or reading or thinking about the work of a priest and the work of the Gospel of Christ in this blistered world of ours.
Society and culture is changing so quickly. As a tech-guy, I love the advances in technology and what they allow us to do – and be. But, the changes that are going on go far deeper than just the advancement of technology and our use of the new technology. My mind whirls when I think of the possibilities of the iPad (and like instruments), but my mind shutters at the thought of what is developing within the hearts and minds of people. The changes go to the heart of who we think we are and how we deal with one another. Technology may augment or finder aspects of that deeper reality, but technology is neutral – it is we that change. (Should I use “us” there instead of “we”? I’ll be lazy and not use the technology to investigate the correct grammatical usage. My failure, not the technology’s failure!)
Add to this the “gift” of the last generation that pulled us away from any mooring or tether to anything tried or solid to help ground us in something other than the immediate, the trendy, the superficial… as we stumble along trying to find our way unable to receive and recognize the lessons from lives past.
The next twenty years should be amazing, from the standpoint of a neutral observer of people and society. I don’t know were we will be, and I think few people will be able to imagine where we will be. These are strange times, as if all times are not strange, but these truly are fundamentally strange times.
As people who deal with people who are living out their lives in “real time” and as people who talk amongst ourselves a lot, I keep hearing from priests that something just isn’t right. Something strange is doing on in the underlying strata of our society and lives. There has been some sort of turning, and we can’t at this point quite figure out to what. Some say they think we will enter into a new Dark-Ages. Some say they think we may be coming close to an end of the age of democracy. I don’t know – that may all be extreme. Something, however, is certainly up.
In the changing and the new contexts, where is the Gospel? Where are the people who live lives so rooted in the Way of Christ that the image people see in them, in us, is something profoundly different than what is “imaged” or seen in most worldlings?
The way we live out our Faith in the coming days will have little in common with what has been commonly experienced in this country since its inception. These are heady times, these are challenging times, these are times that will look in many ways far more like pre-Constantinian times that post (our recognizable times). How do we navigate these coming days?
The snow is falling hard, now. Perhaps we will have a big snowfall, after all.