Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Over the last five years Friends' use of email and other electronic communication has changed drastically in my monthly and quarterly meeting. My quarterly meeting has a website and my monthly meeting has a Facebook page! For the most part, this helps us be more efficient and take advantage of popular and convenient modes of communication. Here is what I'm struggling with: I can handle it if my boss expects me to check my email twice a day and respond ASAP; I can't handle it when someone on a Quaker committee expects to respond that fast to their email about approving meeting minutes! I want and need my interactions with Friends -- electronic and otherwise--to help me slow down and be mindful. In the last year especially, I have become increasingly distraught at how much electronic communication I do in my life. I can't help but wonder -- is something suffering here? Are my relationships --personal and business--impacted by a lack of voice or face to face communication? I admit, I'm one of those people who will sometimes read an email five times, imagining the person saying it with five different tones of voice, trying to guess what they are really saying. Sometimes I feel old fashioned when I ask employers or coworkers to discuss certain things in person instead of via email. Yet at the same time, I feel a strong need to take a stand for mindful electronic communication. I find it ironic and illuminating that we can text, email, tweet, post, blog or Skype "at the speed of light" yet how do we actually Mind the Light in these modern activities that threaten to sweep even the most centered Friend away on a wave of fast paced communication?
I would appreciate hearing Friends' thoughts and tips on this issue. This post is the start of an article I'm writing for my quarterly newsletter. I also am compiling a simple list of guidelines that Quaker meetings and committees could use to Mind the Light while using electronic communication.