Lent, Unplugged

In a time of digital consumption, here’s how the church can lead the way on healthy media fasting.

With 6.4 billion digital devices connected to the Internet at the end of 2016 and 20 billion expected to be online by 2020, consensus is growing that tech’s best feature may be its off switch.

This week we entered Lent—a time for abstaining from the things that disconnect us from the divine, from God, from that which gives us life. For 40 days, we set aside distractions and vices in order to practice self-denial, focus on repentance, seek clarity in prayer, and pursue intimacy with God and others.

For many, the smartphone has become the ultimate vice. We are living in a never-off culture, where the speed and gloss of our screens often makes the connection to those far away seem more interesting and urgent than the people and experiences right in front of us. It’s happening to teens at prom, parents on soccer fields, and CEOs in boardrooms. Our energy, creativity, and time—perhaps the best of us—are being spent committed to screens.

As Christians, we’re not exempt from this vice.

In a Lenten reflection in The New York Times, Catholic María de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperlanda writes, “The question for me is not whether there’s a point to giving things up during Lent, but whether I should ever stop fasting from all that numbs, dulls, and deadens me to life, all of life, as it is today—the good and the bad. Fasting makes me willing to try.”

This weekend we are invited to fast. The National Day of Unplugging and its guiding project, the Sabbath Manifesto, invites us to join their eighth observance from sundown Friday, March 3 to sundown Saturday, March 4. Sabbath Manifesto’s aim is not just to promote one day of unplugging from technology, but a lifestyle change, explains …

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from Simon Cox Blog http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/XCw7PINa_5g/lent-unplugged.html

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