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22/02/2012

Comments

monty

Excellent Stocki Just excellent. I was thinking the same thing last night and had actually been asked a question about social networking (interestingly, by a girl whose wedding I conducted 10 years ago but hadn't heard from since). AS usual you have the ability and motivation to put down, what I only think about! Now, about 5pm this afternoon.........

Alfred Valstar

Bright analysis. Just invited you for FB because of this.

Paul Hutchinson

Steve, Steve, Steve - I love you man, but why always with the black-and-white "either something's brilliant or it's evil" thinking?...

I totally agree with your analysis of the social benefits of FB - good work.

I totally disagree with your analysis of the motivations of the people who want to take a break from it for 40 days.

When people (e.g. Jesus) fast from food, does this decision have written through it that food "is bad for your soul and a waste of time"? Hardly. Fasting is about giving up something good for the sake of something better - especially if we feel that the good thing might have developed an unhealthy grip on us.

When people say that they are still contactable by email or phone, it doesn't mean that they believe that those forms of communication are more "authentic". It probably means that they don't happen to be addicted to the medium to the same degree. They're also mainly "one to one" forms of communication, rather than the "broadcast to the world and see who bites" model. (Not that there's anything bad about that model, but I think people are entitled to some timeout from it).

This reminds me of the first time I went on a 5 day silent retreat (amazing experience btw, highly recommended). One friend tried to put a guilt trip on me that if my phone was switched off for that time, then I wouldn't be able to respond to his prayer request texts. (He had a big pool of people that got these requests). I was sad that he was missing the point of what a silent retreat was about.

So sorry to hear that you're feeling lonely in FB-land, but don't take it out on the folk who want a wee break, Steve.

Take it easy buddy :)

FF

I'm with Paul. It sounds like you have a really healthy attitude to facebook but for me it's a dangerous drug for my connection addiction. I see multiple baby photos and feel like there's something wrong because I don't have a baby... status updates about amazing get togethers which I haven't been invited to and feel excluded... in short, I know it's brilliant in many ways, but I am so much happier when I'm not using it and instead I'm seeing friends, phoning friends, emailing friends rather than stalking ex boyfriends and looking at the wedding photos of friends of friends of friends....

Ben Walker

Thanks, Steve, interesting. There are a number of different threads here. One is what a Christian disciple makes of facebook, and while that is important and debatable, it's not the central thread. More central is what Lent, and more profoundly, fasting is about. Given the assumption that one practices some kind of fasting at Lent (which I don't but I'm not unsympathetic to); and given that it is based on the model of Christ, not least in his 40 days in the wilderness, I think I want to reiterate Paul's point above that it is about giving up a "good" rather than a "bad". So I'm absolutely with you that giving up facebook for lent on the premise that it is a waste of time, or potentially sinful in some regard isn't really what Lent is about. It is what ongoing discipleship is about. Learn to use things obediently or not at all.

I'm not convinced that it is necessarily about giving up something good because it potentially has a bad grip on us, however. Again, this is ongoing daily discipleship. Did Jesus fast in the wilderness because he had a food issue? Or did he give up as an reminder of the total reliance he has on his Father to provide all his legitimate needs? I am a poor student of fasting and am convinced, Steve, that you would know better about it. I wonder, thogh, if that is at the hub of what Lent is potentially about - giving up a good (which admittedly could be a "bad" and abused - as could any good - but isn't necessarily) to spend the time realising one's reliance on our Heavenly father.

So that said - surely giving up communication with people for a limited period to reflect more profoundly on the goodness of God and our reliance on him to provide the people we ultimately do need fits into that scope? We presume (though the text is not clear and I'm happy to be corrected) that Jesus spent his time in the wilderness in isolation. If so, he surely wasn't wrong to cut himself off for a limited period? he surely wasn't making a mistake or letting his friends and family down by removing himself from the joy of communicating with him over that time?

I'm not sure I necessarily share the same view as you about Facebook, but that, as I said, is by-the-by. My ponderance is, while in total agreement with your argument against particular motives for giving up facebook for lent, if it is such a good, and if one takes to fasting from a good at Lent to meditate on such reliance on a heavenly Father who provides all that is good, is there still not a legitimate place for fasting from it for a period?

That was way longer that I intended it to be. Sorry.

Stocki

Thank you for the carefully considered responses... all good... I appreciate the discussion and the time taken...

Canalways.wordpress.com

been thinking a bit about this today and I'm none the wiser..I love Facebook and dislike it in equal measures.

If going of it for Lent makes people love God and their neighbour more than staying on Facebook then it's a good thing....but I guess that going off Facebook (as you point out) doesn't necessarily mean that people will love their neighbour more.....it mightn't be loving our neightbour...


part of me also thinks that it's easy to give it up for Lent this year as people are a bit tired of it or it's not cool anymore...a bit like a band they thought was really cool until everybody started listening to them....
the problem isn't so much Facebook, as our own hearts. Facebook doesn't make me jealous of people living sexier lives than me (and that's everybody apparently), it's my heart that covets those things....and I can't blame Facebook for making me lazy if I'm lazy, my heart is lazy......so yeah, none the wiser:)

hollister

Firstly! thank you for your article!I'm not sure I necessarily share the same view as you about Facebook, but that, as I said, is by-the-by. My ponderance is, while in total agreement with your argument against particular motives for giving up facebook for lent, if it is such a good, and if one takes to fasting from a good at Lent to meditate on such reliance on a heavenly Father who provides all that is good, is there still not a legitimate place for fasting from it for a period?

Shane Kelly

I like your post Steve. Wise words to remind us about the importance of community and relationships with one other. I'm reminded though that one man's gift is another man's vice. And that the human heart is a strange beast, capable of turning even the purest of things into an idol, and letting it compete with our heavenly father for the source or our life. I commend those who have the bravery, to take a break from whatever it is they think they lean on that isn't Jesus, and it's something we should all be do regularly. Living water comes from him alone, and nothing he's created, including community and others. Like you said, i hope gain more than they have given up. In the meantime, you have an opportunity to enjoy different relationships for the next 6 weeks or so.

Paul Hutchinson

Hey Ben - just to pick up one of your points:

"I'm not convinced that it is necessarily about giving up something good because it potentially has a bad grip on us, however. Again, this is ongoing daily discipleship. Did Jesus fast in the wilderness because he had a food issue? Or did he give up as an reminder of the total reliance he has on his Father to provide all his legitimate needs?"

No, fasting isn't necessarily about giving up things with an unhealthy hold over us, but (as far as I understand it) it can be for some people some of the time. So normally, fasting is just about giving up something good for the sake of focusing on our reliance and relationship with God (with no judgement implied on the thing being given up).

But, e.g. if you find yourself spending every evening watching stuff on TV that you aren't even interested in, then a valid form of fasting for you could be to leave the TV in the living room switched off for a night (or a week, or for 40 days), and spend your "post dinner TV time" going for a prayer walk instead.

Hope that clarifies :)

Miz Melly

Sorry you feel snubbed Steve. For me it was not a decision that I took lightly or without thought and consideration. I think for me, I find myself too often disconnecting from my 'real' life in order to connect with my virtual life. I have found myself misusing Facebook as a way of trying to create an image of myself, portraying myself in ways that I think other people will find interesting and attractive. I've been inauthentic. For someone with a chronic case of needing to please people, Facebook is lethal and it's addictive because I check and check and check to see who has 'liked' what I've posted. I have loved reconnecting with friends from far flung places and Facebook was instrumental in me making deeper connections with my family in South Africa, so much so that we were able to go and visit with them last year. But I am addictive by nature and I needed to prove to myself that my narcissistic tendencies could be brought into line. Aren't there times in every spiritual journey when we need to withdraw into the wilderness for a time? This for me is a wilderness of obscurity. I don't like it very much. I feel cut off from all the cool people and the in crowd as well as all my true friends and family. But I am more desperate to draw closer in to my Divine friend and listen to those hard to hear whispers just now, than the noise that Facebook can be for me.

ルイヴィトンバック

面白いです

Lynda

For me it is to focus more of my time on God, IE try to pray more through the day, read more of his word and also spend more time with my kids as Facebook gets more of my time than God or my family. Yes it is a super way to stay in touch with family and friends but God has to come first with my hubby and kids next.

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