Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Convention weekend

Thursday, August 10

The next few days will be enlightening as I attend a three day convention with brothers and sisters in the faith. It’s almost a retreat from the day today responsibilities. Solid spiritual food will take the center stage. I always enjoy myself thoroughly on these conventions as they build up strength and momentum, solidifying a chosen course of life.
I do understand it when people raise their eyebrows at my decisions. Why would anyone dedicate his life to such a large extend to his belief? I remember a discussion with my boss about it. He respects my beliefs and takes them into account, but he could not understand why I needed to work only 24 hours a week for it. Simply put, I need the time to do the works of faith. I have both the desire and the ability to maximise that time.

Saturday, August 12

When money turns into paper
During the convention I do some volunteer work as well. The convention is paid for by voluntary contributions put in donation boxes throughout the center. I am part of a small crew that actually counts the money. With 7500 attendees that makes for sizeable stacks of bills and piles of coins. It’s fun to make jokes about it, but when the counting begins the euro bills change into colored pieces of paper. It’s no longer money. Even worse, it’s filthy paper. Folded, crumpled, slightly wet paper. Luckily, for the convention organisation, it gets it’s value back when the piles arrive at the bank. Two more days to go.
Of course, the convention deals with more important things than that. For me, the key theme was how to endure despite adversity. And not just endure, but to give meaning to life, a life based on and deeply rooted in faith. With the principles of faith used to focus that life. To accept ones own frailty, but not succumb to it.
New? No, but that is not important. The convention is meant to encourage, to remind and to provide an impuls for the weeks and months ahead. And it is an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.

Sunday, August 13

Sunday evening. The convention has finished and now it is time to put it al into practice. The last two days basically revolved around that theme as well. When you say and believe that the bible is the word of God, as I do, you are supposed to abide to it as well. A part of the convention was used to identify trends in society and culture that go against fundamental teachings. Another part functioned as a mirror, where you could check up on your spirituality. And we got some goodies as well: a new book that discusses the 12 so-called minor prophets.

A three day convention is almost like a cocoon. There is such an intense focus on the spiritual, that the secular seems somewhere out there. The challenge is now to integrate the spiritual back into the everyday secular life. Where I live religion is something for the private domain. However, when the spiritual is a core component of what you are, a defining aspect of your being, life in the public domain is shaped by that as well.

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