Distraction Sickness

If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation.

Andrew Sullivan is a controversial writer who uses illustrations that may be offensive to some readers, but his article on modern struggles with technology is our latest link for the Signs of the Times.

from New York Magazine


Deadly Distractions

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:1-14

On a recent morning, after listening to my wife read the gospel passage where Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding banquet, my mind, distracted by a crying child and the anticipation of a day of teaching, was able only to form a somewhat vague prayer: “Lord, help us to discern the kingdom of heaven, and to turn our hearts towards it.” Read more

Listening to the Word

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10: 38-42

Jesus is getting close to Jerusalem and confrontation. Luke says that Jesus goes to the home of Mary and Martha, which we know from John is also the home of Lazarus, which is located in the village of Bethany, just over the hill from the outskirts of Jerusalem. Luke says they welcome him into their home and Martha gets busy doing the many things a good hostess does: preparing food, setting the table, straightening the room, picking up the newspapers that have piled up, and on and on. Meanwhile, sister Mary sits in front of Jesus listening to what he has to say. Martha, understandably frustrated says, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister just sits there while I do all the work? Tell her to get up and help!” Jesus replies, “Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things: there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part…”

It is important to note that Jesus says to Martha, “you are worried and distracted.” He doesn’t criticize her for working and doing. Remember this comes just two verses after Jesus has given us the parable of the Good Samaritan with the concluding words, “Go and do …” The issue here is not simply that Martha is doing while Mary contemplates. The issue is Martha is distracted. The word translated “distracted” is a Greek word which means to be jerked around like a horse is jerked by a rider pulling on the reins. The image is that Martha is being jerked around by her frenetic busy-ness. It’s as if her desires are out of order so she is out of control in her busy-ness. The result is that she is unable to attend to the one thing most needful – sitting and listening to Jesus. Read more