Give Me the Internet or Give Me Death!

Give Me the Internet or Give Me Death!

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

An open letter to my Church family

In my sophomore year at the Passionist Prep in Warrenton Missouri, I won a speech contest delivering Patrick Henry’s “Call to Arms” in front of the assembled student body and faculty. The urgency Henry presented to the fledgling colonists in 1775, just six months before the death of St. Paul of the Cross by the way, is brought home with his famous last line: “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

Today, I believe the Church is in much the same situation the colonists found themselves, with a few fundamental differences. The colonists were at the mercy of a government that didn’t serve them. Today the church is at the mercy of outmoded ways of delivering their much needed message of hope, joy and the power of the Cross to a suffering world. Paraphrasing Patrick Henry I’d say: “Give me the Internet or give me death.”

Haley Van Dyck in the above TED Talk presents a roadmap to such a change. She tells how she along with a few others, after having successfully used the Internet to elect President Obama, were charged by President Obama to apply these same techniques to providing government services to students, the poor, veterans, immigrants, the elderly. She tells about the four-step process that is bridging that divide and beginning to deliver services in record time. The four steps are:

  1. Recruit the very best talent you can find for a short term of duty.
  2. Strategically identify the most important services the government offers
  3. Pair these incredibly talented people with the people already providing the services
  4. Give them connection to everybody in the government from the President down to the front line people delivering the services

I think St. Paul of the Cross if he were around today would be using the Internet much the way Van Dyck is doing at the Federal Government. We are not in 1775, the year St. Paul of the Cross died. We must enter the 21st Century.


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