I was visiting my friend Mark’s facebook profile to wish him a “happy b’day” where I stumbled across his profile picture saying that he has given up facebook for lent.
My first thought was, ‘Well that stinks.’ Then I adapted my birthday message to say, ‘in 40 days’ or something along those lines. Then I began to wonder, why would you give up facebook for lent?
Maybe I have a different understanding of the social media sphere than many. I use these mediums for work and creative outlets. I’m not sure God cares for me to stop working and stop creating..
But what is lent & the practice of sacrificing that comes along with the season of lent? Is the lenten fasting just a stopping of practices that we hope to take back up again? Or are our lent fasting practices putting aside something that we know is harmful to us and we use this season to rid ourselves of the habit in order to not bring them back into our life? If smoking is bad for you, stopping for lent (except for the sundays) with the knowledge that you will start smoking again Easter Sunday seems totally counter to the spirit of preparing yourself for a resurrection & ministry in Christ.
Again, I see facebook as a relationship enabler. For example, I saw Mark just a week or two ago. I had no idea that his birthday was looming (I am super bad at birthdays, even my own). So one of my practices is to check out who’s birthdays are happening that day in facebook, and then wish them well. I don’t see anything harmful about that practice. It takes me a few minutes. I see everyone in my list of ‘friends’ and enjoy checking in on who has changed (checked out one persons new child this morning, that was news to me).
Maybe, facebook / twitter / linkedin, email etc become some distraction to people. Okay, I get that. However, is it a distraction more because of how you use the medium? Or is it a distraction because of how you let the medium use you?
Facebook, and the other social media mediums, connect people to people. That is not a bad thing. However, a sacrificial practice that is life giving in my opinion would be to not give up outlets to a mas of people, but to take the medium to focus one or two people.
You see, we now have some hyper-relationships, many relationships saying & doing many things. How about slowing that down to say, I’m going to take one day during Lent to scan my ‘friends’ and then pray for them, read up on their profile, check out their photos, ala. updating my understanding of them. From there you have a deeper understanding of the circle of influence that God has placed before you and are more able to live into that ministry of being neighbor.
Speaking of, I believe my neighbor is having their 3rd child (a girl) today, but she has yet to post it on her facebook profile to make it official. I’m waiting!!