April 15, 2012

How Do We Glorify God? Lent and Facebook

I gave up Facebook for Lent.  I suspected I was not benefiting proportionately for the amount of time I was spending on it. 

I have never been one to bash Facebook.  I like it and can see the social benefit from it.  I can also see the negative impact, as mentioned above and expressed by a few of my friends for other reasons.

Six+ weeks later, though, through Lent, after Easter, I find that I am not especially excited or drawn to get back on Facebook.  "Too Much Information" is what I concluded with my Lenten sacrifice this year.  It's information that I would never know if we lived in a more grounded, let's talk face-to-face society.  Information that does not strengthen my core.  Information that distracts me when I see people I have only heard about on Facebook.  Information that does not necessarily glorify God.

During my sabbatical, I found that I became much more productive and prayerful.  Without the distractions of Facebook's News Feeds, and Wall Posts, and Photos, and Ads, I turned to praying more and writing more.  I do both anyhow, but my Lenten sacrifice led me to doing more with material that had more potential to spread the Good News.

I decided to write the story of my father's suicide for the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide (AFPS).  My story reached two pages pretty easily, and then it reached seven pages, and then thirteen, and then twenty-one, etc.  I eventually contacted AFPS and found out they only allow two pages per story on their web site.  After talking with them, and having other people review my manuscript, I realized I had a book on my hands, even if it is a short book.  So that is what I focused on during Lent and after.

It has been very rewarding.  I have deepened my relationship with Jesus and the other two members of the Holy Trinity, and I have reconnected with family members and with my own sons - and with friends and friends of friends.  My religious conversion and my beliefs are part of the story I am telling about my father's suicide, so the Word comes through in a variety of instances.

I am not saying I will stay off Facebook forever, but my Lenten sacrifice has shined new light on the busy-ness that easily evolves with Facebook, busy-ness that is not necessarily worthwhile.  I have enjoyed my sabattical and will continue to do so as long as it lasts.  If nothing else, I can repeat this next Lent.


image - http://www.jumpfirst.com.au/castles/funhouse_slide_castles.aspx

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