This week in The 7 Experiment, we were invited to fast from media: traditional, social, and otherwise. Off limits this week were: television, radio, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, most of the internet and iOS games. As with every other week, we cheated in a few ways. With the 22nd Olympic Winter Games going on, we decided that their historical significance meant we should be able to watch them. Also, with the 43rd Annual Convention of my Diocese starting on Thursday, as Chair of the Commission on Communications and member of the We Dream Committee that had 18 resolutions up for debate, SHW decided I should be able to at least Tweet some of the proceedings. Finally, with me preaching yesterday (the sermon will be posted tomorrow), I made use of my usual preaching and news gathering sites to make sure I was still in the know come Sunday morning.
My week of media silence began on Sunday morning as I drove to church with only the rattling of my car engine and the blub-blub of a slightly out of balance tire to entertain me. Driving in the car without listening to the radio was, by far, the hardest part of this week. Not to overstate it, but it was excruciatingly awful. Until I realized that all of the noise that I’ve put into my life has made it next to impossible for me to actually listen for the voice of God. As my mind wandered while attempting to fill the silence, I found myself much more able to pray, much more able to listen, much more able to just be in the presence of God.
The radio thing surprised me. What I thought would be the hardest part was turning off the notifications on my social media apps. The success of Facebook and Twitter is based, in my opinion, on the natural human desires to be liked, popular, and to find our 15 minutes of fame. Getting a “like” or a “retweet” taps into that deep longing to be a part of comminity, and to turn that off for a week made me nervous. I accidentally opened Facebook three times on Monday, but I closed it before I saw anything. From then on out, I didn’t even think about it. It was surprisingly easy to be disconnected – freeing even. I didn’t have to be clever. I didn’t have the chance to let my inner snark monster loose. I was able to be present in every situation: at home with my family, sitting on the floor of Diocesan Convention, whereever. I think I’ll try to disconnect more often.
All in all, the media week was the best week of 7 thus far. It was eye opening, challenging and spiritually engaging.
This week – waste. I hope that doesn’t mean we’re potty training the 20 month old.