Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Week With No Media (Didn't Kill Anybody)

For the unfamiliar, my church family recently took part in an 8 day media fast at the urging of our pastor. I posted about it HERE.. No social media, no non-work related computer usage, no news, no books, no movies, no television, well you get the point. We were expected to talk to people. Actual conversations. We were encouraged to read our bibles and pray more. How crazy is that? It was an opportunity to evaluate and build on our relationships with our families & friends, ourselves, and God. The horror!

At the end of the fast (6pm this past Sunday night), I half expected a power surge in the county as an entire congregation of people plugged back in to "The Matrix" to catch up on a weeks worth of Facebook happenings and all of the latest episodes of our favorite TV shows.

Maybe your thing is social media. I like to know what's going on in the lives of my friends & family and Facebook is a good platform to at least catch some highlights (and yes, lowlights).  But in the week I was offline, my non-church family, those not participating in the fast, made nearly 2000 posts according to the update I got from Zuckerberg's crew. That is 2000 "at lunch with my bestie's", "I'm bored's" and some slightly offensive and politically motivated humor.  I missed it all and lived to tell you about it.

For me it's "the news".  I have to admit that I have been obsessed with the news most of my adult life. If Matt Drudge doesn't update his headline every hour I used to find myself getting anxious. And if I read the news I would typically just get aggravated or so lost in it, clicking from one story to the next, that half a morning or more would go by, wasted. I knew what was going on here on Planet Earth, at least as it was reported, but I wasn't truly any better for it. I was immersed in it and I allowed it to steal something more precious to me than money. It stole my time. I guess stole is not the correct word. I willingly gave my time away and had little to show for it.

The classic movie character, Morpheus, said: "The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth", which may be more fact than science fiction. However, I submit that the "Matrix" I am concerned about is the one that occupies so much of our collective time that it prevents us from doing great and amazing things. It keeps us from reaching out to those we care about, hinders the following of our God-given dreams, it stunts our spiritual growth.

I think about all of the conversations I've missed, the writing I never got around to, the scriptures I could have studied and the relationships I could have built on. Is it wrong to follow the news? Absolutely not! Is it wrong to watch cats re-enact a scene from a James Bond movie? A much less emphatic, no. But, could I be a better man if I would give more time to living, to building relationships, and to developing my spirit-man? I strongly suspect I could. How about you?

The author is husband to an amazing wife, father to two beautifully grown daughters and papaw to two of the cutest and smartest kids ever created. He is currently the associate pastor at Tabernacle of Praise in Crestline, Ohio. At present, he is taking a break from his career as a Christian stand-up comic, however, if you would like to discuss him speaking to your church or group, feel free to contact him directly by e-mail at dwaynecastle40@yahoo.com or by phone at 419-961-1265

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