Lent starts in a few weeks…..What to do for Lent this year? I'm considering a fast - Not of food, but Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram. That's my unholy trinity. Why? Candidly, I think it's eating away at my brain and my soul. Yes, in the same way, an addict needs just a little bit more. I now find myself strangely fixated and frustrated at the same time.
the one hand, I want to go and see what you are all doing, how my grandkids are growing up and what interesting, trivial or significant ministries are happening in and around our synod. On the other hand, there's a lot of …well, nothing. Political drama and virtue casting, bad photos of indoor painting projects and whiny complaints about clothes not fitting or airport security personnel misbehaving. Plus, do you care that I was at St. John's by the Gas Station last Sunday, and that my sermon, bombed. (It did, but it wasn't at St. John's, it was at St. Bartholomew's by the Donut shop)
Mostly, I'm wondering about what's happening to me. I find myself chasing the bird, the squirrel and bell that Pavlov is ringing. My attention span is decreasing. My ability to focus on reading something of substance or listening to a friend is in decline. Cal Newport authored a book called Deep Work. Yup, you don't even need to read the book. You know just from the title that it's about the real need in our current cultural context for us to focus. He argues that what we need now more than ever is the capacity to pay attention and dive deep into our work. That work could be child rearing, parent attending, or report writing. It could also be plumbing, surgery, and cooking…all three of these tasks need focus to be done well. After all, no one wants a distracted surgeon operating on your (fill in the blank). Newport's new book Digital Minimalism is just out, but I don't have time to read it, cause I'm spending time coining a catchy twitter post.
So, I'm preparing for a Forty Day Fast. Ash Wednesday to Easter 2019 I'll be living without the Social Media world that defines our age. I may miss the chatter about some upheaval in a church institution, or controversy of a politician. You'll miss out on my quirky humor, photos of grandsons, and my political outrage. I'm confident you'll survive. What will I learn? What will I miss? Hmmm, I'll let you know on the other side.
P.S. To be clear. Yes, I'll still use the internet. Yes, I'll continue to correspond via email and text. It's just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Starting March 6, Ash Wednesday through Easter April 21.