March 21, 2012 § 1 Comment
A few weeks ago I, along with a list of other “friends”, received a message on Facebook that said we would not be hearing from our “friend” for the next 46 days because he was giving up the social media platform for Lent. Give up talking to your friends for Lent? That sounds odd. I thought to myself…
If you find yourself relating to my “friend”, no worries, you’re not alone. Year after year more people are giving up communicating on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for Lent, but when used for the right context these social media tools can actually enrich our Lenten experience. Here are three things you can focus on in the last weeks of Lent to help these tools assist you in your desert days:
1) Readjust your understanding of Facebook:
Sure, Facebook is great for catching up on blogs and playing FarmVille and Angry Birds but at its core it’s still about communication and relationship. Social Media transforms from a hobby to into a tool for mission when we start reading our news feeds with the intentional understanding that every status update and comment we read was written by someone on the other end of a screen that scares with us in the imago dei – the image of God. We may read things that make us laugh…make us smile…make us angry…or maybe even make us wonder why we’re still “friends”…but no matter, to acknowledge the God found in the other – even on Facebook – allows our digital interactions to be just as fruitful as our personal interactions.
2) Comment and Like More
Once we start understanding the true personhood on the other end of the avatar we are reminded that our relationship with God compels us into relationship with the other. Instead of removing yourself from Facebook during these 40 days, this is a opportunity to intentionally partake in the lives of those around you. When you see it’s someone’s birthday, take the second and wish them a “Happy Birthday”; if you see something you appreciate, take the few seconds and comment and build up the one who made the comment; and if something bothers you, instead of arguing with it, use this as a chance to understand where your neighbor is coming from by asking helpful questions.
3) Follow Some Great Lent Resources:
Finally, there are some great resources on Facebook that may enrich your time on Facebook and enrich your Lent.
–SSJE: Great daily thoughts and mediations from our friends at the Society of St. John the Evangelist.
–Unapologetically Episcopalian Thoughts, news, and other Episcopal related posts.
–Lent Madness A fun Lenten exercise based on March Madness that allows people to root and vote for their favorite saint.
When you like these, or any resources like these, it sprinkles reminders of our Sunday Life together back into our day to day use of Facebook. And while your at it, if you haven’t already, make your way to our own St. Luke’s in the Field Facebook Group.
Social Media can be a distraction, but if used properly it can be a fantastic tool for witness, evangelism, and discipleship. In these Lenten days, instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, take the time to use these tools are ways to foster relationship and growth.
– Colin Chapman