About Face(book)

fb-fastSo after announcing that I was giving up e-mail and Facebook for Lent (after 6 pm), word has gotten out. Since I didn’t give up talking to reporters for Lent, I was quoted in an article titled “Fasting from Facebook.” It’s an interesting and well-written article by Lisa Hamilton of Episcopal Life Media which you can read in its entirety here.

Below is the excerpt where I’m quoted:

The Rev. Tim Schenck, rector at All Saints Episcopal Church, Briarcliff, New York, considered giving up Facebook completely for Lent. But, he said in an e-mail interview, “since I view social networking sites as ways to connect with people, I didn’t feel this was an appropriate Lenten discipline. Plus, my parish has its own group on Facebook made up of parishioners. Lent is a time to stay connected.”

Instead, Schenck is denying himself Facebook, e-mail or Internet surfing after 6 p.m. during Lent.

“So far, so good,” he reported via an e-mail sent at 2:36 p.m. “Though the first few days were brutal (especially when I heard my BlackBerry buzzing during dinner on Ash Wednesday).” When he checked in the morning, the message was spam.

Meanwhile, Schenck has found time to read a Bible story with his young sons each night. They decided to take on this spiritual discipline after their father explained his Lenten practice to them.

“I’ve always seen Lent as a way to ‘get back to (spiritual) basics,'” Schenck wrote. “And nothing strips away the clutter of modern life quite like unplugging yourself for awhile. By being accessible to others 24/7 — and feeling the need to respond immediately — the potential exists to put ourselves rather than God at the center of our lives. Intentionally unplugging, even for brief periods, helps realign that balance.”

So much for that reading appointed for Ash Wednesday that reads, “Beware of practicing your piety before others” (Mt 6:1). Maybe next year I’ll give up telling people about my Lenten disciplines and just let everyone guess.


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