man-working-on-computer-in-the-dark“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

“The world is too much with us”, lamented William Wordsworth two centuries ago.  What might the poet think of how the world is crowding in on us today!   Researchers say that Americans spend 11 hours a day with digital media, including television, radio, smartphone, Internet, social media and video games.  Even if digital media were morally neutral, one can only imagine the impact of those hours spent!  

Often I catch myself going online to check my email, only to emerge an hour later having forgotten why I went online in the first place!  I’m feeling more and more my need to take a frequent break from digital media, unplug, and pull off the information highway.  I need time just to know what I’m thinking, to feel, to be in wonder, and just be.  

For the past three weeks I have written about why I fast, and what I am learning as a beginner about fasting.  I have taken up a “Normal Fast” of abstaining from all food, solid and liquid, but not water, once a week from sunrise to sunset. “The central idea in fasting is the voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”  (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline)  

While Scripture has much to say about our need for fasting and praying, I also feel the need to apply the principle of fasting to other aspects of my life:  i.e. abstaining from “an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”  Specifically, I feel the need to fast in regard to my consumption of digital media:

  • Set aside one day a week to be as digitally free as possible (i.e. unplugging from TV, internet browsing, social media, emailing, text messaging, etc.)  
  • Create a physical space where you put aside digital devices as a way of saying to family and friends: “I am present to you.”  For example, you might have a tray into which you place your smart phone, computer, and other digital devices when you walk into your house at the end of the day.   Those digital devices remain there for the night unless you have “good reason” for accessing them.
  • Rather than listening to news or talk radio as I drive, take that time to pray, mediate, or review Scripture memorization.  
  • First thing in the morning, resist checking my email and text messages, turning on the TV or radio, and listen for God’s voice instead.    

I think of Jesus’ example of getting away from otherwise normal activity for the purpose of time with the Father:

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.   And Simon and his companions hunted for him.  When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’” Mark 1:35-36

The thought of everyone “searching for you” is daunting, but we all need time alone with the Father.  Wordsworth was right!  “The world is too much with us.”

Grace and peace,
Tim

 

WHY I FAST, PART III

On August 17, 2015 By

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly; gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged;
gather the children, even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride.
Joel 2:15-16

Although fasting is one of the […]

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WHY I FAST, PART II

On August 10, 2015 By

The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”                […]

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WHY I FAST

On August 3, 2015 By

It occurred to me last week that it was time for me to fast.  Fast for my country!  Frankly, I don’t know a better place for me to begin at a time when our nation seems to be descending ever deeper into coarse, brutish barbarism.  I find so much of the news disturbing, and leaders […]

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THE VALE OF SOUL-MAKING

On July 27, 2015 By

“We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5

The esteemed English […]

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Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion…’ So God created humankind in his image.
Genesis 1:26-27

Lord Mountbatten was the last viceroy sent by the British Crown to rule India half a world away.  He was the uncle […]

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THE TIME FOR JOY!

On July 13, 2015 By

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there […]

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THE GOSPEL!

On July 6, 2015 By

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.
I Corinthians 13:11

It’s fun watching a baby grow in awareness of self and the bigger world.  At […]

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STOPPING TO REMEMBER

On June 29, 2015 By

But this I call to mind,
   and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
   his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

It might seem strange that a […]

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GOD’S LITTLE WORKSHOP

On June 22, 2015 By

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the tent of meeting.  Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.
Exodus 33:7

From the time I was a boy I have been fascinated […]

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