Internet Etiquette (“Netiquette”) For Christian Stewards

 

The internet can be a wonderful tool for Christian stewards to give witness to their faith, and knowing proper internet etiquette (“netiquette”) is important for exercising good Christian stewardship. Listed below are just a few netiquette principles to keep in mind when communicating over the internet.

BE KIND TO PEOPLE. Send messages that reveal a care and concern for others. Avoid posting comments that reveal impatience or lack restraint. Don’t use expressions that are vulgar, intemperate or aggressive in tone.

BE TRUTHFUL. When sending e-mails or using social networks, be sure what you are relating is accurate and do not leave false impressions. Avoid creating or promoting false online profiles or images of yourself.

BE HELPFUL TO OTHERS. Believe it or not, newcomers to online usage appear every day. If you encounter new internet users, help them.   Be patient and help newcomers understand appropriate internet use and “netiquette”.

ACT WITH COMPASSION AND EMPATHY. It is hard to share feelings on the internet. In person, people can see the genuine concern and love on our faces when sensitive issues arise. On the internet, messages can more easily be misinterpreted or we can respond in a way that appears curt or lacking in sympathy. Practice compassion online.

AVOID GOSSIP. Posting any form of gossip designed to slander, show disrespect or put down others behind their back (back-stabbing) should be avoided. We should also not share personal information about anyone without that person’s permission.

AVOID CHARACTER ASSASINATIONS.  Addressing others using derogatory terms such as “liars” or “morons” is certainly inappropriate for public forums, especially for a disciple of Jesus Christ.

AVOID “FLAMING” OR MATCHING “FLAME” FOR “FLAME”.  Flaming is an internet term meaning an exchange of inflammatory remarks with another in anger. Pause before reacting to someone’s post in anger, and pray before you decide on the appropriate response, or whether it might even be better not to respond in certain circumstances, rather than reacting in anger and posting words in an inflammatory manner. St. Paul wrote that if we bite and devour one another, we’ll only be consumed by one another. (Gal 5:15).

DON’T SEND MESSAGES USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Using ALL CAPS is generally perceived as “shouting” at others. It is considered as rude as it is inflammatory and should be avoided.

BE FORGIVING OF OTHER PEOPLES’ MISTAKES.   Mistakes, especially unintentional, do happen. Avoid scoffing or making fun of others’ mistakes in grammar. Where a message may be confusing or could be construed in a negative way, give the sender the benefit of the doubt. Ask for clarification where necessary.

LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS.  Think of two or three people to whom you can send a brief word of encouragement. Sometimes it is just, “Hi, I was just thinking about you and prayed that God bless you in a special way today.”

We can enjoy our internet communications and serve Jesus Christ at the same time. A principle of Christian stewardship is fundamental to internet communications: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Too Early to Think About Making Your Lent More Meaningful

 

The Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 1st.  That sounds like a long way off, but really, it’s only 10 days.   Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing well.  Make this year’s Lent a valuable time.  Actually make plans about how to spend the time most meaningfully.  When you receive your copy of Resisting Happiness next weekend, it will include a bookmark with all the events that are taking place in our parish this Lenten Season.

The season of Lent offers us forty days to review our lives and focus on conversion and spiritual transformation. It is basically a spiritual “spring training;” a time when we go back to the basics of our faith formation through prayer, fasting, almsgiving and other penitential practices in order to improve and enhance our spiritual lives and prepare ourselves to more fully participate in the paschal mystery of Holy Week with a generous heart and renewed commitment to Christ. Consider some of the following ideas for making your Lenten season even more meaningful this year. save. (See #5)

  1. Identify some penitential practice you can realistically commit to every day. It’s easy to become distracted and suddenly discover that Lent is half over. A daily commitment will keep you focused. Mark it in your calendar today and be faithful to your commitment.
  1. Make time in your daily schedule for private prayer, even if it is only ten minutes. Remember, improving our spiritual lives starts with prayer, and the silence of an empty room where we begin to listen to God is invaluable. Prayer requires reserving time for God.
  1. Reduce your daily or weekly soft drink or alcohol intake as a spiritual discipline. Drink water and pray for those who lack access to a safe, reliable source of drinking water.
  1. It’s become a cliché that people are addicted to communication technologies. “Give up” some of your “screen time” each day, whether it’s watching television, constantly checking your phone, or surfing the Web. Put the extra time to use: read a passage from Scripture, call or visit a lonely friend or relative, pray the Rosary.
  1. Don’t shop for clothes during Lent. Stay out of every store except the supermarket and pharmacy, and don’t loiter at these places either. Reflect on what it is like for millions in the world who have little or no discretionary income.
  1. Make an extra donation to the poor with the money you save (see #5).
  1. Find a way to reduce your daily home energy consumption. With just five percent of the world’s population, people living in the U.S. consume 24% of its available energy. Make it a spiritual exercise.
  1. Give up negative thinking. Work on a patient, positive attitude toward others. Catch yourself when you mentally berate someone and turn it into a prayer for that person.
  1. Take Luke 3:11 seriously. Do you have extra clothes languishing in a closet? Take an afternoon to clean a closet, give a “tunic” or two to a good cause, and prayerfully reflect on how well you are using the world’s resources.
  1. Pray with the Church. Attend an extra Mass during the week or participate in a devotion that inspires you.

 

DO UNTO OTHERS

 

Many times I have spoken of the power and blessings of the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy—for those who receive them and also for those who bestow them.    They bear repeating, because they are such an important part of who we are as Christians.

The Corporal Works of Mercy:

Feed the Hungry

Give Drink to the Thirsty

Shelter the Homeless

Clothe the Naked

Visit the Sick

Visit the Imprisoned

Bury the Dead

 

The Spiritual Works of Mercy:

Correct the Sinner

Instruct the Ignorant

Counsel the Doubting

Comfort the Sorrowful

Be Patient With Those In Error

Forgive Offenses

Pray for the Living & the Dead

 

We are most certainly not able to do all of those things all the time.  I don’t think we’re being asked to.   But I do believe we are asked to consciously reach out beyond ourselves to those in need.

What seems like a little effort or a little thing to us can mean the world to someone who is in need.

It doesn’t take much time or effort to come once a week to make fresh sandwiches for the homeless.  Or to bring some canned goods to church with you on Sunday.  It doesn’t take much effort to donate blankets or jackets to Brother Benno’s in the cold months.  Even if you yourself are homebound, you can pray for others.

A close friend of mine was recently diagnosed with a [benign] brain tumor and underwent 12 hours of surgery.  His stay in the hospital was extended with a few complications and then rehab.  So many from our parish have visited and prayed for him.  He has been very moved by the warmth of our faith community.

He asked me to share with you a short message that he wrote in gratitude for all that you’ve done for him as he’s endured pain, uncertainty, and finally—healing!

 Hi, my name is Mike King.  You may not know me, but I’m quite sure you’ve seen my work.  I have been doing repair and remodel projects at St. Mary’s Church and School since the mid-nineties. 

 I’ve worked in the church, rectory, offices and meeting rooms, quite literally from below the floor to the top of the bell tower and most areas in between.  I built the Memorial Wall and the grotto for Saint Juan Diego.   

 Recently, and with very little warning,  I needed to have a serious brain operation.  I was amazed and humbled by the generosity and outpouring of visits, prayers, Masses and kind thoughts of the people from St. Mary’s;  from people I know well, only met once, and ones I’ll never see.   My message to you is that it really works.  Your prayers lifted me out of the pain and ugly thoughts, braced me when things got bad, and helped me feel peace.  As a small token of my appreciation I want to share the lesson I learned from all this:  Find everyone is your life that you love and tell them that you do.  Look around at your life’s blessings and appreciate them; even the small ones.  Because everyone and every thing can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

 With sincerest thanks, Mike King

Detention Ministry

Detention Ministry

Volunteers are requested to help serve Catholic inmates in detention facilities. The greatest needs are in five detention facilities in Otay Mesa.

Can you find a couple of hours a week or even once a month to serve on a ministry team and pray, read scripture, and facilitate discussion with Catholic inmates?

Please explore this opportunity to help others and deepen your own relationship with God. There will be a diocesan Detention Ministry Information and Training Seminar on February 8 from 6-9 pm.

Visit San Diego Diocese Restorative Justice
or call the diocesan Restorative Justice office (858)490-8375.