Monday, March 28, 2016

Lent: Fasting from the Table of the World

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.

It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for
heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. 
It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we
drink in every night.” 

Each Lenten season for the past several years now, I have taken a Facebook fast.  I sign off and change my profile picture to one that has a quote about Lent and come up with some sort of cover photo that reflects the Lenten season.  I don't do that to signal how wonderful and pious I am.  It's just a way to let people know, if they're looking for me, that I'm not going to be on there for forty days. With the utter buy-in we all now have of social media, I actually did have to get on several times because it's become one of the main ways we communicate with one another.

What I find each year that I participate in this fast, is how much I miss seeing my friends' news:  the pregnancy updates, the precious photos of our children, vacation pics and funny asides about our day.  They bring a smile throughout the day and help me keep in touch with loved ones I don't get to see every day.  This is the brilliance of Facebook:  extending our community.

What I don't miss is the noise--the "prime-time dribble of triviality".

Our family doesn't cut ourselves off from the world, but through the dual miracles of DVRs and Netflix, we're able to avoid commercials and a lot of the perfectly awful shows on television.  And yet, we'll go right ahead and turn on the tiny computers in our hands and see some of the same things we deliberately chose to avoid.  It comes at you with lightning speed and eats away at your resolve.  "Well, if all these people are watching it, it can't be that bad."  "Her daughter is wearing those clothes, so, maybe I need to loosen up."  "His son is going, so, I should probably let mine."

Standing strong for our beliefs in this culture is hard, but we aren't making it easy on each other, are we?  Each song with questionable lyrics that we promote because the music sounds great and the singer is handsome and "classy", each episode we watch celebrating characters with all the morals of an alley cat, each joke we share that we would never tell in public--these are all adding our vote, our thumbs-up to this toxic culture around us.  

I need friends and a community around me that help me make the right choices and do the right things.  

There is strength in numbers, friends, and we need to use the beauty of our extended communities to build each other up and cheer each other on.

Us.  We.  Me and You.  

That's who can change our culture and help us build strong families.  That's who can be a light in our world.  One choice at a time.  

Choose life.

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