Is it possible, in the age of smartphones, to have healthy relationships with technology? How has excessive phone use affected our mental health?
My senior year of college, I stopped attending Mass regularly. I have not yet replaced the rituals which were such a crucial aspect in determining the essence of who I am, but I am beginning to redefine the sense of joy which was so foundational to my Mass ritual growing up. This joy was not simply elation at this thing or that, but a spiritual wellspring at the possibilities inherent in being alive.
I was excited to see Cal Newport’s recent blog post titled “Digital Minimalism and God (Or, is Social Media Undermining Religion?)” In the post, Newport remarks that he was somewhat surprised by how well received his new book Digital Minimalism has been within religious circles.
As FJVs we have spent time living in small intentional communities, which are very tightly focused on the people we share a house with. But it is surely the case that we are meant to carry the four JVC values out into our lives with us. I wonder what it means to bring our experience of intentional community out into the communities around us, into our local neighborhoods, our cities, states, and nation.
Most of the things I do on a daily basis now, I do alone: commuting, working, exercising, and eating, just to name a few. I find myself in these moments wanting to invite God to join me in the accompanying bus seat or at the dinner table. In these moments, I find God in the comfort of remembering my JV community. Their presence pervaded the minute details of my routine in Houston, and I can’t help but think of them every day.
With the growing popularity of state-changing psychedelic drugs, can we hack our way to spiritual clarity and bliss?
Released in 2018, Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post bring major attention to Christian conversion therapy and the general repression of queerness by conservative Christian communities. In this post I discuss the ripple effects this kind of mass media representation has on people who identity as both queer and Christian, and what that might mean for FJVs working towards a better understanding of allyship within the church.
Writing letters became a ritual for slowing down, being intentional with my words, and inviting others into my experience.
I recently read Sarah E. Stevens’ essay “Care Time” in Disability Studies Quarterly, in which she reflects on how her experiences as a care partner affect her relationship to time. Stevens’ essay got me thinking about the two years I spent as a live-in assistant at L’Arche Heartland. Stevens’ description of care time strongly resonated with my experiences as a L’Arche assistant, but I also noticed some interesting points of divergence between care time and “L’Arche time.”
Have you ever tried to laugh without having a reason? I’d recommend it. Laughter has become an odd spiritual tool of sorts for me the past few years, not a defense mechanism as is often cited but, rather, a form of deep surrender to whatever situation is at hand.
While I try to maintain a sense of the past year through conversations and this blog, nothing captures it as poignantly as my dreams. They beg me to question how my life after JVC serves people besides myself.
I left Twitter in February 2018. I had been contemplating a clean break for a while, knowing how much time I spent on that website that I wish was spent elsewhere, and the effect that it was having on the way I thought about the world. Here’s what I learned.
I woke up to the sad news that Mary Oliver, poet of the natural world, had passed away. That day I took a few moments of silence to read a few of her poems and it suddenly dawned on me that her text, in many ways, could be considered sacred and spiritual. Reverting to the Catholic practices I am familiar with, I decided to apply the tools of Lectio Divina to a few different Mary Oliver poems, treating them as texts open to spiritual contemplation and personal reflection.
Through photography, I can be connected to the past, grounded in the present moment, and aware of the future all at the same time.
There were many factors that flew me down to Houston, Texas, for my year as a Jesuit Volunteer. However, as I suspect may have been the case for others too, a sense of doubt accompanied my answers to curious and slightly disapproving questions from family, friends, and even my own internal inquisitions.