It’s strange, but the more demanding life seems to be, the more time I spend in that virtual cage called Facebook. Suddenly, replying to that message becomes critical, and watching my friend’s video about a reggae shark is of essential importance. Facebook is a great way to escape life, and it’s also a great source of shallow comfort. I’m thinking of a status that I wrote just after my 21st birthday with the intention of glorifying God. The post felt totally inspired and hopefully impacted a few of my friends, but every extra ‘like’ seems to create a subtle sense of acceptance and pride. Within Facebook, every photo we upload and video we share can become about building our own little kingdom.
It also takes a lot of integrity to scroll through photos of Kim Kardashian's bum, pictures of cute selfies and a number of crude videos while keeping fixed on Christ. That’s more integrity than I usually have. Instead I just get numbed to it all. I think true integrity is being able to close the internet browser and choose to hunger for purpose, identity, community and worship within the Word of God, with fellow Christians and in prayer. Facebook might be a great place to mention Christ, but it’s not a place to grow deeper with him.
Where we spend our time is also a good indication of what we value. Ask me any day and I will say that God is first in my life. He’s my Alpha and my Omega… but my use of time doesn’t usually reflect that. My use of time often idolises the internet. Every aspect of our lives is to be in communion with God with an awareness of his presence, but I find this especially hard in the busy world of the internet. When we practice beginning our day in the still presence of God, we will begin to see him in the everyday noise and madness.
Instead of trying to craft more points and a strong conclusion in my sleepless state, I will end with some Scripture and invite you to finish the rest. I would love for you to share your thoughts, perhaps argue a point, or disagree completely with me. It would be great for #NZCMS to flourish as a community of ideas and conversation.
Lastly, here is also a video that reminds me of God’s glory and holiness, found not through a screen but in his beautiful Creation.
What do these verses mean in our internet saturated environment?
“I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans come to nothing.” Psalm 146:2-4.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot! I wish you were one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth . . . To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne” Revelation 2:15-16,21.
For those of you who live in Canterbury, I’ll recommend the “Unplugged” silent retreat coming up in January. Funny enough, you should find this event on Facebook. Unplugged is three days without internet, without distractions and idols, but simply to be still in the presence of God. What a counter cultural challenge.
For those of you living elsewhere, try a Facebook fast. I’ve found this website helpful in the past: www.facebooklimiter.com