"My third grade basketball team had just one superstar, and his name was Deon.
The rest of us were a goofy mix of driveway legends and playground wanna-be’s, but Deon was the real deal. He had a Herculean 4’9” frame and skills honed on the notoriously rough courts of suburban Orlando.
With Deon at the helm, our whole season was a breeze. He led us in scoring each game as we collected win after win, sailing smoothly into the playoffs.
There things got a little more challenging. The first playoff game came down to the wire, yet Deon’s late-game heroics produced a win. The next game was even tighter. But once again, channeling his inner Jordan, Deon willed us to victory.
But the third game was different. It was about five minutes before tipoff, and the whole team stood in a huddle. Everyone was quiet—even the coach. We exchanged nervous glances as we all noticed the same thing.
Deon wasn’t there."
"Marshall McLuhan, a 1960s media prophet, was one of the first to predict how digital technology shapes culture. Decades before the Internet became mainstream, McLuhan warned of the unintended effects brought by each new communication tool. His still-famous phrase “the medium is the message” summarizes his thoughts by pointing out that a particular medium shapes a message more than the content it carries.
For example, McLuhan, a late convert to Catholicism, would affirm that a sermon delivered through radio, through television, through a blog, and through YouTube would be received in drastically different ways. The radio sermon would be listened to with sustained attention, the television sermon would be viewed as entertainment, the blog sermon would be shallowly skimmed, and the YouTube sermon would be gauged by its visual and emotional effects.
Many Christians operate out of the belief that we can “communicate the same message through new means.” They assume what McLuhan adamantly denied, that communication mediums can be neutral. For better or worse, however, new media conditions whatever the Church shares through these technologies; how we think, relate, speak, read, worship, and pray are all influenced by these tools and the culture they create."
(Image Credit: Joe's Box)
"One day while waiting at a train station, a young atheist wandered over to a bookrack. He browsed the selections, picked up a small fairy tale on a whim, then sat down and began reading. He was immediately hit with odd sensations. It felt like a waterfall had engulfed him. Suddenly his mind was washed with wonder and life. And all of his boredom and cynicism felt as if they were being wiped away.
Some years later the young man marked the event as his “baptism of imagination.” This one book — a fantasy story — ignited his wonder and forever changed his view of the world. A few years later, the young man renounced his atheistic views and became a devout Christian.
Most of us can probably relate to the great power of stories. From our boyhood we remember being drawn into tales of pirates and knights, soldiers and cowboys. Most of us can still recall the great adventures, enchanting mysteries, and exciting journeys that captivated us as children."
If you haven't heard about it already, you're going to want to check out a fantastic new website called VirtuousPla.net.
The site is both produced and aimed at young adults and it features many of the Church's best young writers. It's in its infancy and is still developing, but be sure to bookmark it or subscribe to the RSS feed so you don't miss any of the great content.
Also, in honor of today's Feast of the Assumption, I'm guest posting over at Sarah Reinhard's excellent blog, Snoring Scholar. Click below to discover how the Assumption brings Mary close: