Why would a former Senior VP of Apple be kept up at night by what many consider to be one of the great pieces of technology ever created? This Lent, we’re going to dig into this issue in a practical way as a church.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Intentionally limiting our use of screens during the season of Lent to grow closer to God, closer to one another, and consciously reflect on how to put technology in its proper place in our lives as Christians.
ON PURPOSE is intended to help us reflect as Christians on the reality that causes Fadell so much worry. We need to think about what Andy Couch calls the “proper place” of technology in our lives.
Christians can often be just as hurried, distracted, anxious, and lonely as non-Christians around us, and our screens often contribute to this. Lent, being a time of self-examination and reflection, is a good time to consider our use of technology. ON PURPOSE is intended to enhance the Lent season’s focus on repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter.
WHO IS DOING THIS?
We are going to try to do this together as a church, so it’s especially helpful for an entire family and/or small group to commit to this. That way we’ll be able to encourage one another and better learn as a church how we should using our technology wisely, to the glory of God.
WHAT SPECIFICALLY ARE WE COMMITTING TO?
The idea is to have a set of concrete practices we do individually and as a community during the season of Lent 2019. Application of these can be flexible depending on your circumstances and schedule (see note below).
Scripture before phone. Wake up before your devices, and have them go to bed before you do (no screens approx one hour before bed.)
Use the daily prayers provided.
Have at least one meal with others; don’t use screens during meals (especially important -- and difficult! -- for those living alone).
Turn off/silence phone for one hour.
Sabbath: Don’t use screens on Sunday (in addition to worship and feasting, i.e. church and a meal with others!)
Set aside one hour for intentional conversation with a friend.
Limit media (i.e. Netflix/TV/Youtube) to 3 hours per week.
Fast one meal per week, e.g. Friday lunch
Other possibilities to consider adding would include abstaining from social media during Lent, limiting news/social media to certain times of the day, or other fasts.
If you’re not so concerned with your use of your phone, consider leaning into the other communal and spiritual practices.
Note on Legalism and Flexibility
(text adapted from Justin Earley)
Legalism is the misguided idea that abiding by rules earn us love. We reject it. Knowing that the love of God is freely given to us, we are free from earning love and free to give love. These habits are constraints of love meant to strength our freedom to love God and love neighbor. Doing these practices to feel good about yourself is not the right starting point. We must resist "we work to earn love" and reframe it to a world made of love - "we work because we are loved."
Avoiding legalism will mean embracing partiality and messiness. You will mess up, forget, intentionally break rules and more. The point is not get a perfect score. The point is that in articulating a rule we are describing the life we long to live, and when we fail the rule prescribes for us the road home. We encourage you to follow these practices as best you can and so constrain your usual desire to adjust the world to you and this time adjust yourself instead, at least for this Lenten experiment.