Our Malibu landed in the shop for a few weeks (blown head gaskets, followed quickly by an electrical issue). So my parents let us borrow their little Accent. Dad bought it free of any extras – to avoid electrical issues. So for the first time my girls found themselves staring at a car window handle.
As we drove the windows were going up and down. Slowly, with some grunting, Ivy announced, “This must be why kids in the old days were stronger.”
Of course I normally, with windows rolling up and down, flip the switch to lock the girls out. Realizing I could not stop the windows, Phoebe was triumphant, “Now I am in control!”
I used this illustration in a sermon a few weeks ago. But it is has stayed on my mind. Every technological advancement comes with a cost. Maybe we lose privacy. Or give up a good window roll-up workout. But most often I feel as though I have given up control.
Partly because of my frustration with social media. I love checking in and seeing a friend at the Grand Canyon or pictures of new twins. But for every delight, there is a shared picture or article. Occasionally interesting, but just as often troubling. Recently I realized I am letting social media algorithms control what is on my mind.
These controls frequently lead to politics, and I am sucked into one issue or another. Frankly there has been a lot of chaos the last few weeks. And the communication has become 140 characters blunt. This has left me stressed (I am no tthe only one). While there is value in staying informed – praying the front page, this political intake is starting to control my daily outlook.
So as we move into Lent I feel the need to Unplug. I plan to pause from politics until Easter. No NPR in the car. I will only read newspapers and internet to stay informed about the Royals (I need to be fully ready for April Fools!). I will limit my social media to only church posts.*1 But more importantly I want to manually keep up with friends and family. Do the hard work of rolling up the window – calling and texting, visiting, even writing letters… I want to build stronger relationships, but I also want to remember the good that is in the world. I want to see our hope – that the politics of Jesus will rule.
*1 I would back off social media entirely, but I have committed to posting Chandler’s Lent Calendar. It is a simple daily challenge – a prayer, a service, or a fast. I am excited to get started. Even more excited to see how the church reacts. As we unplug, we will look towards resurrection. The Easter of Jesus, but also our own – as we rise to live out God’s Kingdom today!
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. I hope you will join us – whether through the calendar or another idea – and prepare your heart for resurrection!