So, this week on my Facebook news feed, I saw several posts about this new confession app for the iPhone. At first, I have to admit, I was skeptical. :) The way that the headlines were written made it sound as if the Church had approved a way for people to actually *attend* the sacrament of reconciliation via their phone. This is of course, not the case.
The app is a confession preparation tool, and I learned more about it on this week's Catholic Moments podcast. The designers are devout Catholics, and created it in response to Pope Benedict's call for Catholics to evangelize via new media tools. The app has customized examinations of conscience for all age groups and vocations, and includes the traditional confession prayers to assist those that may have been away from the sacrament for some time. They applied for, and received an imprimatur from their local bishop. I definitely softened toward it once I learned more about it.
This got me to thinking on my way into work this morning as I finished up listening to the podcast: have we veered too far away from a "simple faith?" With all of my fascination with Amish fiction, this issue is often on my mind, and certainly, this is only my opinion. One of our Church's strengths is the diversity that it promotes it expression of faith and worship. I happen to veer more toward a conservative, traditional appreciation of the faith, but there are others that are fed from a different expression of our faith. We all fall under the umbrella of our Catholic Church, and I think that's an important caveat.
For me, I do not have a smartphone, nor do I desire one. I do have a cell phone, and I do have a texting plan, because I find that it is a fun and easy way to keep in touch with my mom and sisters on quick little issues. I keep a cell phone because I do think it's important for me to be able to get in touch with someone if I'm traveling alone and need immediate assistance. But those are the only uses I have for my phone. I often forget to turn it on for days at a time. :)
I don't want to use the Internet on my phone. Why? Because when I am at home, I want to feel "set apart from the world." I don't need to look up things right at that instant. I have Internet access right in my face all day at work, I can wait until then. I also don't want to play games on it, or interact with the device in any way. When I'm at home, I want to focus on my family, and when I have some free time, I enjoy reading and crocheting/knitting. Mike and I do watch television, but to be honest, we really don't watch all that much of it. I'm certainly not criticizing anybody that does any of these things. Everyone enjoys different things, it's totally personal preference.
But I will say this: the Catholic Librarian's *biggest pet peeve of all time* is the following: you are sitting with a real, live human being in front of you, and yet you pull out your phone and start doing something with it. I don't mean, "oh, I'm expecting word from my son, would you excuse me for a moment?" or, we're talking about something specific, and the person offers to look it up on their smartphone on behalf of both of us. I mean, people who just completely disregard regular human interaction to become immersed in their personal electronic device. I honestly think this is self-absorption at it's worst, and is dangerous to our very human need for personal communication.
That was a bit rambly, but it comes down to a very thought-provoking point: Are we really better off now that we have these tools at our disposal? Regardless of how you feel, it's a fascinating inquiry, and I acknowledge that there bound to be many viewpoints on this, all with valid arguments. Just something to think about.
I have to admit, sometimes I daydream and imagine Mike and I living on a farm with no electricity. :0 I honestly think that we'd both manage it ok and would likely enjoy it. But would it be nearly so romantic as in my daydreams? Certainly not. There's the ...farm animals factor. This involves lots of critter poo and slaughterhouse implications. Not so idyllic. But maybe someday we won't have a tv anymore. I could actually see that potentially happening. Or at least, us not subscribing to satellite/advanced cable any longer. In the past we talked about just getting basic cable and subscribing to satellite radio. Interesting stuff, no? Things to think about heading into the weekend... :)