The Daily Press
Hunting and Faith
“No service” and “Searching for service” can be a blessing.
Pope Francis has discussed the “tyranny of the urgent” in several of his works since becoming the Roman Pontiff in 2013. This tyranny enslaves, restricts, and consumes people.
The tyranny of the urgent is devastating yet gentle, catastrophic yet tough to notice, and deadly yet appears to be alive.
Have you ever noticed an individual completely consumed in an email, text message, iPhone, etc. while in the presence of others? You may not see chains around both his wrists and ankles but he is enslaved - a tyrant owns him. I’ve been enslaved by the tyranny of the urgent more often than I would like to admit.
C.S. Lewis wrote in his work The Screwtape Letters, “indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
This is precisely how the tyranny of the urgent operates. It begins with just a glance at the notification on the phone. This glance turns into another glance, then another. The finger flicks to the next post. A habit is then formed. In fact, the person most likely doesn’t even notice the habit. It has become normal.
C.S. Lewis was right - gradual, gentle, soft...the tyranny of the urgent is just like his description of Hell.
Let me be very clear - this is not just an issue for young people. The experienced worker may be unable to step away from emails. The older individual may check Facebook countless times. The fantasy football player may constantly check his app for another update.
Here is one question worth asking, “do I hold my smartphone or does my smartphone hold me?” I would encourage you to watch the 2020 documentary “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix which provides a compelling argument. The documentary’s conclusion...the smartphone holds us more than we realize.
So, how does hunting fit into this discussion?
“No service” and “Searching for service” can be a blessing. I understand that hunters, fishermen, etc. need to have their phones for emergency purposes, capturing photos, etc. but it’s incredibly freeing to not receive notifications on the phone. A good piece of advice if you need your phone while being in the woods - turn off your notifications.
In a world which demands instant delivery, instant communication, and instant updates - there’s a delicate balance at play: the tyranny of the urgent and the virtue of patience. The solution is not to avoid the 21st century, but rather to virtuously embrace it.
Hunting, in my opinion, sits at the fork in the road between the tyranny of the urgent and the virtue of patience. After a good day of hunting, we can return home with a more renewed, professional, and prudent approach to living in a 21st century world.
The tyranny of the urgent can be defeated, but it takes an effective game plan.
Ben Daghir is a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Erie from St. Marys, Pa. He grew up hunting and fishing with his family in Elk County. He credits archery hunting during his high school years as encouraging him to take in the beauty of nature and simply listen to God’s voice. He currently studies at St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore.