Tuesday, February 24, 2009

To twit or not to twit?

Okay, I know I will offend some people with this post, forgive me for speaking my mind - but I just don't get it. Yes, I know blogging can be very self-centered, since it is a forum for talking about oneself and bragging - showing everyone how wonderful the blogger is - but for the most part that is not it's main purpose or use. I have found most blogs I have read to be uplifting, informational, encouraging, and wonderful resources for ideas that have inspired many aspects of my home school.
I can even see the advantages of F*cebook (sort of ;)- though I have no desire to participate. I understand how nice it is for families to be able to connect and share photos and their lives with friends and family living far from them, or to allow a person to reconnect with old friends they have not seen in years (though when I hear people talk about it, it sounds a lot like high school all over again - "will -fill in random name- 'friend' me?" or "did you see what -fill in random name- is doing this weekend, can you believe WE weren't invited!"). But, when it comes to "tw*tter" I am still not seeing the advantages. The name alone is more than I can take - could I really not feel silly thinking "oh, I need to tw*tter this"? At least the founders of tw*tter were honest in what this creation was when giving it a name. Here are a few definitions taken from Webster's online.

1. to utter successive chirping noises
2. to talk in a chattering fashion

1. to utter rapid short sounds suggestive of language but inarticulate and indistinct (like squirrels)
2.to talk idly, incessantly, or fast

1. an act of twitting
2. a silly, annoying person

To "tw*tter" also requires me to believe that everyone really cares where I am at every moment, or wants to know where I will be getting my takeout from this evening. It reminds me of the quote - not sure who said it first - "You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought of you if you realized how rarely they really are thinking about you!" We worry all the time about what someone meant when they said something, or whether someone is judging us, or talking about us, when most of the time, we don't even cross their mind. Now, our ego centrism has reached the point that we believe the world wants to know where we are at any given moment, and what we are thinking.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about it is that it magnifies the problem I have always had with email. I love email, I love to be able to send someone a quick note about something, but I have also learned that each word must be selected carefully, since there is no way to convey tone. I would never have a serious discussion over email, since too often meaning can be misunderstood, feelings hurt, and black and white words on a page can often look much harsher than the writer intended. Now, combined with texting, we have a form of communication that restricts the number of words, and is designed to give a direct path from impulse thought to "speech". I am not even going to go into the impact this will have on future generations and their interpersonal communication skills, grammar and spelling abilities. It allows (encourages) the "twitterer" (I will stop short from calling them "twits" :) to send what you are feeling or thinking at that instant, without any thought to content. There is no "proofreading," no editing of the brain. It is pure impulse communication. I am reminded of the warnings in scripture of the dangers of the unbridled tongue. "But I say to you that every idle word men may speak they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment" (Matthew 12:37). How much more dangerous our world is now, as we are able to spill out meaningless, thoughtless communication not merely to the person standing directly in front of us, but to anyone who is bored enough to "follow" us. How much more self focused will we become as a society, when we are constantly being told that everyone around us is interested in every aspect of our lives? How much more self-important will we feel because we get replies to our tweets? (How many more words will be bumped from the children's dictionary to make room for the new "twitter" vocabulary - how appropriate we have lost the words "bishop" and "chapel" to make room for "celebrity" and "MP3 Player"). I realize that technology is a magnificent tool, and to survive in our world today, we must understand it and participate in some degree. I am sure there are some positive uses for this technology - and I do not want to condemn the individual who chooses to participate. But I think it says a lot about the world we live in today.

I often stop and wonder what it would look like if we could actually see all of the invisible wireless messages travelling throughout the world - all the emails, texts and tweets that are constantly flying overhead. Imagine what the air around us would look like. Imagine what the sky would look like. In my mind I picture this writhing mass of black Times New Roman type, swirling around, causing far more pollution in our world than any "carbon footprint."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stuffed Manicotti Shells

This is a favorite cheese fare week recipe in our house.
1 lb firm tofu, broken up
1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic salt, or one clove garlic minced
2-3 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce
1/2 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1 box pasta shells
Cook pasta until soft. Combine all other ingredients except spaghetti sauce and parmesan. Stuff shells with cheese mixture. Pour half the jar of sauce into a baking dish, then place stuffed shells into sauce. Pour remaining sauce over shells and top with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling. Serve with garlic bread covered in butter and a salad.
As Lent is "fast" approaching us, don't forget to order your T-shirt. You can see all their other wonderful merchandise here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I wanted to share this wonderful piece on the importance of simplicity, written by one of my favorite bloggers.

Monday, February 2, 2009

True Humility

Very dear friends of my family became Orthodox yesterday, and the comment my husband made was about how much humility it requres to accept the Orthodox Church. We have known this family for nearly 30 years, they were one of the first homeschool families my parents met, and their oldest son was a very close friend of mine through highschool. They have travelled a path from the Pentecostal Church, through Protestantism, and have been Anglican for many years until yesterday. As I reflect on their chrismations, it does strike me as a beautiful picture of humility. I have not ever truly appreciated the humility it requires to come to Orthodoxy. Perhaps outwardly, the most humbling act is the removal of ones shoes. To be required to proceed to the front of a church barefoot is not a small request for any adult, and I imagine it is even harder for grown men. To stand before a congregation of believers and answer the questions of faith is a daunting task. It is the ultimate display of humility - to put aside pride, to put aside the idea that we have all the answers, to put aside the idea that we should or must know all the answers - to embrace the mystery of being lifted up to heaven every Sunday to worship with the angels, to embrace the authority of the Church that has stood the test of two millennia, to bow to the guidance of the Holy Fathers in our interpretation and understanding of scripture, to see the wisdom of Christ and the church in acknowledging that our bodies are weak, and need to be engaged in worship through all of our senses - through the "trappings" or as my father used to say "smells and bells" that so many dismiss as silly, unnecessary or even heretical, each of which is designed to bring our focus back toward Christ and allow us to draw into heaven every Sunday morning. It brought tears to my eyes as I saw the commitment in their faces, the tears in their eyes, and the joy at receiving their first Eucharist. I thank God for their humility, and His grace.