SPARTANBURG—Lent is a time of fasting and penitence, but it’s also a time for prayer and reflection when there is the need to remove oneself from the daily routine and find that quiet place.
Like many of us, Ken Davison knows that carving out that silence is more difficult than ever in the age of cell phones, pagers, Blackberries, iPhones, iPods, iPads and a flat-screen TV in every room.
Given what he calls the “ubiquitous nature of media,” Davison said finding that place to get closer to God and our inner selves is becoming more difficult.
But the vice president of college relations at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina said Catholics have a secret weapon which he will share March 13 during a dinner at the Rendezvous Restaurant in Spartanburg.
His talk is titled: “Who Will Win the Battle? You or the Media? Learn Your Secret Weapon.”
A former executive director of Catholic World Mission, Davison said God does attempt to speak to us through the distractions of television, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, emails, text messages and all of the rest of the modern communication medium that most of us are exposed to on a daily basis.
He fears that media is stealing from us the need to simply listen and talk with God, and with each another.
“Big-screen televisions are everywhere,” he said. “I remember, for example, going to the local barbershop where people would sit around and talk.”
Now, they watch the TV instead, he said.
Davison said that modern barbershop scene is rapidly becoming a microcosm of the way we deal with ourselves and with others in our families. He said that for many today, their lives are managed through their smartphones.
“We need to somehow ground ourselves,” he said.
Davison went to work at Belmont Abbey College nearly four years ago. An Air Force Academy graduate and a Rhodes Scholar, he worked in marketing for several companies, including Proctor and Gamble before going through a conversion 12 years ago.
He then earned a degree in theology prior to taking the position at Catholic World Mission, where he stayed for five years.
He is the creator of the long-running EWTN children’s radio show “Glory Stories” and the founder of “Holy Heroes,” an Internet-based source that brings Catholic teachings to families via e-mail.
The Spartanburg women’s Regnum Christi team is sponsoring Davison as part of its “Four Great Dates” speaker’s series.
Tina Andress, a member of Jesus Our Risen Savior, said the team’s mission includes serving the local pastor and helping others “come closer Christ through various apostolates.”
Andress said the date night idea resulted from the local Regnum Christi team’s efforts to help strengthen marriages by serving couples.
“Our thought was if you strengthen the couple, you in turn strengthen the family,” she said.
Davison’s talk is the second in the series. The team kicked off the series with a presentation on finances and marriage.
Andress said she met Davison a few years ago at a Catholic Athletes for Christ conference in California.
“I spoke briefly to Ken and shared with him that it would be nice to teach people how to discern what is bad in the media, what is good, and how to exercise balance in its use,” Andress said.
For Davison, part of his visit to Spartanburg affords him the opportunity to continue to spread Belmont Abbey’s mission into South Carolina.
“We’re trying to raise our profile in the Charleston Diocese,” he said.
The college campus is located just off U.S. Interstate 85 between Gastonia and Charlotte.