what do memes have to do with the CNMC?


Well, maybe not everything, but this silly photoshop, courtesy of Ashley Collins from Peter and Paul Ministries comes pretty darn close. It picks up the spirit of goofiness and making friends. This explains the Charlie’s Steve’s Angels theme we have going on.

You see, the CNMC really is a celebration. Oh sure, we’ve been moving toward a more professional conference, providing as much instruction and best practices sharing as we can pack into limited time with limited resources. We’ve managed to get some of the most amazing people in new media to come and play together under one roof. And what happens when these dynamic, faithful Catholics come together never ceases to amaze me.

What happens is akin to a lightning strike.

Collaborations begin.

Creativity flows.

Friendships are forged.

We connect as the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is a beautiful thing.

So when we kneel together in Adoration, sit together in Mass, celebrate the Eucharist as a community, send silly Tweets, post crazy Facebook statuses, pass notes send texts during presentations, and invade restaurants with huge parties, it’s because we get the point of the celebration — to get to know each other, not as virtual friends and collaborators, because we are that, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, working together to spread the message, His message, to all the corners of the earth.

Because when we know this Love, it’s impossible to keep it for ourselves.

photo by Cliff Ravenscraft

Read what others have to say about their experiences at the Catholic New Media Conference 2012. Add your Recap to ours!

I know, I should post something, anything

I’m trying to recover from the CNMC…I’ll post later.

In the meantime, thought I’d pass along a ridiculous cat video for you. Saw it in the FB feed and laughed…mostly because I spent most of my senior year of college smoking terrible cigarettes and pretending to enjoy french wines and foreign films.

And then…I quit smoking, acquired a taste for fine wines, and became a blogger. It’s kinda the same thing.

embracing the silence

Well I did it. I participated in the day of media silence yesterday. I didn’t post any snarky comments anywhere, or eavesdrop on any public Twitter conversations, or get into any combox discussions.

I never once updated my status.

I don’t think anyone missed me.

And whatever I missed…well…let’s just say I’m no worse for the wear if I didn’t get the memo about your adventures.

I did learn a few things about myself and my use of this ever present internet playground.

The first thing is this: I was on the whole day. I checked email, for work, for family obligations, for social engagements. It’s a tool I use, and use quite often.

The second thing is related to the first: For all the virtual engagement I may have with people I’ve never met, I probably have more with people with whom I have an actual physically present relationship. That, boys and girls, was very encouraging to know.

And then I learned something about my habits that I’m going to work on. You see, my initial go to, even with the people I know, is to reach out to them via social networks. Why? Because I’m already on. Yesterday, I made some phone calls. On land lines. Go ahead and laugh. Do they even exist? Yes. And I used them.

You see, perhaps I’m not getting full credit for being off-line…my phone broke. Yeah. No facie-book or tweeting for me anyway….at least until I get home.

And since I’m in full disclosure mode, I’ll also say something else. Except for a rosary in the late afternoon commute, I didn’t pray yesterday. Not the way I usually pray because I turned off my alerts. That’s right. I forgot about God because little chimes sending me to various internet resources for prayer didn’t alert me.

I am ashamed. Ashamed enough to rethink why something that I thought I had cultivated as a habit is in fact not a habit. It occurs to me that I had missed a certain communal aspect of my prayer life, which is in fact, a rather participatory thing in the social networks. I not only didn’t encourage anyone to join me in prayer, but I had no one to nudge me.

Aha! So perhaps there’s more to this than pulled-pork sandwich status updates and reposting George Takei’s pictures.

I think that is Pope Benedict’s point. The internet, for all its potential for distraction and sin, is also a resource for community, and learning, and growth. I missed my friends. I missed the apps that make me a better steward of my time when it comes to prayer. I missed the opportunity to engage my faith with other like-minded individuals, and a few unlike-minded individuals that are willing to enter into the conversation.

In short, I missed my Catholic Media, and the people who, um…people it.

So I finally get around to answering the big pressing question for this year’s Promote Catholicism Day:

“What in Catholic Media has had an impact on me during the past year?”

I didn’t need a day of silence to answer that question because I knew it right away. It just became very clear to me that the answer, Matt Swaim’s little idea with a big bang, The Grateful Tweet, is the thing that has had the most impact on me. The fact that the first thing I wanted to do when I opened my computer was tweet my gratitude — and couldn’t — made me a little sad. Ok, and I had withdrawal twitches when I engaged in a little conversation in my head. You know, where you proceed to rationalize why this one little tweet really isn’t breaking the silence.

One little tweet in the morning (and sometimes, later in the day), has changed my entire attitude. It has put me in a posture to seek the positive first. I’ve been tweeting since Twitter’s release (I’m kinda embarrassed by that, too) and I’d venture to say that my on-line attitude has changed, for the better, in these past 227 days of grateful tweeting.

It’s a small thing, barely 140 characters long, but it has had the biggest impact on me.

What about you? Why don’t you join the conversation at the New Evangelizer’s forum?

on the eve of Catholic Media Promotion Day 2012

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy some of the totally random, often silly and meaningless, and occasionally deep (or at least honest) reflections that you find here.

I think my blog defies classification. It’s not anything in particular…a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. It’s just a collection of the stuff that I like, or think about, or feel like ranting over, or recommend, or…feel like sharing.

There’s probably a whole lot that this blog isn’t, but there’s one thing that it definitely is, and that is that it’s mine. A reflection of me.

A big part of me is my faith. I try to live it quietly in spite of the rather obviously public way I might sometimes write about it, like this post, or talk about it, like on podcasts.

Tomorrow, I’m going to refrain from posting here, or anywhere else, as part of Catholic Media Promotion Day.

You might think that’s a funny thing to do…to go silent on a day for promoting Catholic media. It’s not such a crazy idea. Sometimes the best way to think about things is not to do them.

We often forget that we are reflective creatures, capable of thinking deeply and processing our experiences in such a way that contribute to our growth. Pope Benedict XVI challenges us to embrace silence in our lives to give us that opportunity for reflection.

My friends at New Evangelizers challenged us last year with the first Catholic Media Promotion Day, and this year have embraced the Pope’s call for silence and reflection by encouraging us to go silent tomorrow, Wednesday, and then going back on Thursday to answer the question,  “What in Catholic Media has had an impact on me during the past year?”

They’ve set up a forum for sharing. Read about it here.

You might also like to hear what Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom elaborates on the topic. An excellent reflection here.

Give it a whirl…go silent. If not today, tomorrow. Or soon.

Put away the smart phone, the tablet, the computer, and think about the things that have such a hold on our lives that we have trouble disconnecting, or walking away from it, or living without it. And think about how we can take that and turn it around so that it becomes a source of positive influence in our lives and the lives of others.

I’ll be thinking about that tomorrow as I set aside Tweeting, and Blogging, and Facebooking, and do a little bit of praying, and reflecting and pondering.

I like that word, pondering. Perhaps you’ll do the same.

Catholic Weekend…unplugged

Capt. Jeff: Okay… I think I have us in a chat room. I still HATE this Skype 5 interface

Maria Johnson: what a goober. so this week, I watched the Avengers, loved it

Capt. Jeff: @Steve: Do you want to do some game show questions?

Steve Nelson: ours is not to reason why. ok, it is.

William Newton: I’m almost ready give me about 5-7 more mins.

Maria Johnson: there’s a lot about music…love it…something about beethoven and shakespeare…love Beethoven, think shakespeare’s a hack

Capt. Jeff: I need more time than that

Maria Johnson: and my favorite composer, vivaldi

Steve Nelson: I can do some Cinco de Mayo trivia – as long as we don’t talk about it beforehand.

Capt. Jeff: ok

Steve Nelson: easy stuff.

Capt. Jeff: What do you think about inviting Jimmy to be on?

Maria Johnson: may crowningings…that should elicit some memories from childhood…I wanna do that

Capt. Jeff: he’s online now

Steve Nelson: I don’t usually give it much thought.

Maria Johnson: I lik him

Maria Johnson: like…LIKE

Capt. Jeff: me too

Capt. Jeff: lik… ooh

Capt. Jeff: yuck

Maria Johnson: ew

Capt. Jeff: brb

William Newton: This chat appears to have become #scandalous in my absence.

Maria Johnson: <Like>

William Newton: Heh

Maria Johnson: I’m going to have that facebook thumbs up made into a stamp and put it on my students papers

Maria Johnson: i think, though, I may have to use it upside down

William Newton: I wish FB had a “Dislike” button.

William Newton: You could be all Caesar in the arena.

Maria Johnson: oooooh…..don’t pull off the toga look these days

Steve Nelson: et tu maria-te?

Maria Johnson: nice.

William Newton: I thought you guys had toga parties at the CNMC.

William Newton: This is very disappointing. Shattered illusions.

Steve Nelson: shhhhh….

Maria Johnson: no, we’re simple folks. we eat cheetohs

Steve Nelson: and oreos

Steve Nelson: and chips a’hoy

Maria Johnson: mmmmmm

Maria Johnson: [we do spike the punch, though]

Steve Nelson: and lots and lots of …. coffee

William Newton: I love Ian Maxfield’s podcast from last year when he was shocked by all the food you guys ate.

Steve Nelson: don’t be fooled. he packed it away just fine.

William Newton: Well he’s a tall guy as you guys mentioned afterwards; you had been expecting a smaller guy and were surprised when you picked him up, if I remember.

Maria Johnson: hilarious guy…I saw him with that tub of cheese puffs

William Newton: I love that he indulges my armchair interest in archeaology and paleontology when we correspond.

Steve Nelson: I thank him for introducing me to Boddington’s beer. Good stuff.

William Newton: A solid beverage.

Maria Johnson: yeah, not too many people today versed in the art of conversation on a multitude of topics

Steve Nelson: I are.

William Newton: Is you?

Steve Nelson: Want to know about scissortail flycatchers or the difference between ferric and ferous oxides?

Maria Johnson: sometimes I think it would fun to have bubbles over our heads in real life. or have a status bar above our heads to hashtag our conversations

Steve Nelson: or how the difference in ferrous and ferric oxides is exhibited in the lithology of fine grained sediments, aslo known as shales?

Maria Johnson: because, clearly, I’ve had too much caffeine this morning

William Newton: This reminds me of an episode of Arrested development where Lucille is angry b/c Lucille #2 has bought the company

Maria Johnson: it would replace the “I’m with stupid” t-shirts

Steve Nelson: Ok, I’m done being pedantic. I’ll resume my role as the dull one.

William Newton: She’s yelling and air-quoting while holding a martini and splashing everywhere and Jason Bateman says, “You know you need to stop quoting when you drink.”

Maria Johnson: well, that about wraps up Catholic Weekend…thanks for coming by, folks, the show never aired because it never got out of the chat

William Newton: Ha!

Steve Nelson: that would be funny – just have Jeff narrate the chat: And then Maria said,”…”

William Newton: I bet C-Span would air it.

Maria Johnson: I have half a mind to copy it and post it on my blog

Maria Johnson: this is your opportunity to say something about having only half a mind…GO!

William Newton: Are we allowed to talk about Joe Biden on SQPN?

Steve Nelson: <rim shot>

Maria Johnson: oh. my. does he have half a mind?

William Newton: That’s true, it might be out on loan.

Maria Johnson: that was…well…rhetorical

Steve Nelson: I think it’s just that the two sides of his brain excommunicate.

Maria Johnson: hahahaha. that’s…really funny

Capt. Jeff: …

William Newton: Sibelius is one of the speakers up the road for graduation this year. My undergrad alma mater comes through in the clutch for heresy yet again.

Steve Nelson: All statements by Steve do not necessarily represent the views of Steve.  Copyright 2012.

wake up from your snoring!

Me...and Daisy, Sarah's hat. What are we pondering?

Hey! I have a guest post at Sarah Reinhard’s blog, SnoringScholar.com, at, um snoringscholar.com. She’s so gracious with her fun sandbox so I’m playing over there today.

Here’s a little bit of what I say:

We’ve all heard it – The Internet is an insidious source of distraction and evil in contemporary society. It’s true!

I blame a certain little addiction to cute farm animals and shiny pink tractors as one of those distractions. Thanks to family and friends mocking me at every obnoxious status update, I had an intervention and am pleased to report I’ve been Farmville-free for 18 months.

Of course, I’m making light of it – or am I? Social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google + or [insert your favorite distraction here], can be a powerful time suck. It can be a black hole that takes us away from our families and friends, makes us less productive, and does nothing, nothing to make us better people.

Is it a crazy anti-internet rant? A public confession and self-flagellation left over from Farmville days? Maybe. NO! One should never rant without a solution. See what a lot of people are doing to inject the internet with some positive medicine. Read the rest of my post here.