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Thank Facebook it’s Lent…

February 16, 2013

Three days in to Lent and I am in mourning. Sort of. This year it’s not about gazing longingly through a sweet shop window or saying ‘actually I’m fine’ when someone pours out the fresh coffee. It’s not even about listening to an impulsive husband get caught up in a Lenten reverie and announce (without consultation) to a whole church that we were giving up television for 40 days. No, this year the mourning is for all the people who have taken a holiday (an absti-cation?) from Facebook.

“So if you want to get in touch, just call me!!” wrote a friend. What? Call? I haven’t spoken to this particular person for nigh on two years and so the chance of me calling are about as remote as that of me agreeing to a television fast.  I will, however, miss living in the sure and certain knowledge that aforementioned friend is alive and well and that if I had the inclination I could access several amusing videos of her daughters doing baby-type things.

I am, you see, a Facebook snooper.  Unlike several friends, virtual or otherwise, I do not update my status every time I’ve made a sandwich. I do, however, love to see what other people are up to and – so as not to sound like a soulless harridan – will of course incorporate this knowledge into the occasional conversation of the verbal-variety.

Snooping is the reason that I was jolly excited about a new church venture involving the glorious interweb.  Prayer updates, daily bible readings, community events – it’s all there, floating in cyber space for those ‘busy, mobile people’.  You see how great this is? It means that I can snoop on God without having to make time for a conversation.  Like checking emails, news sites and ebay listings I can easily fit God in between meetings and still make time for a coffee.  As long as He doesn’t also decide to sign off for Lent then we are surely on to a winner.

Ok, enough.  If Ginger Kitty et al can take the app-world by storm then so can and so should the Church. If you have given up Facebook for Lent then you may even have time to check out the London internet church and realise that it is an extraordinary place where people come for prayer and some start journeys towards face-to-face conversations.

How about a deal? Without poo-pooing the technojoy with which we are blessed, how about we remember the gap between real and virtual?  Following someone on Facebook cannot be referred to as a ‘conversation’.  Allowing God to occupy a text-sized space between school pick up and an overdue loo trip cannot be construed as an in-depth relationship.  It is surely a sublime experience to be inspired by a tweet whilst serving out spag bol but I’m not sure it’s quite enough.

By all means keep up with God in whatever way works. Just make sure that somehow He is different from the information overload of life.  Make sure that time with God involves real time.

On other matters, maybe I will make make that call after all…

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