Friday, August 17, 2012

Fasting from the Media (especially Facebook)

A man wakes up from his bed. Brush his teeth. A toilet session. A cup of coffee. Turn on the computer – Facebook. A woman wakes up from her bed. Check her phone. Message inbox. Click, connected – Facebook. A young teenager wakes up early morning. Staring at the ceiling. Thinking, constructing a sentence, shares it on Facebook, then pray. A minister wants to catch up with the latest ‘happenings’ in the virtual realm. A quick glance. Get hooked. Procrastination. Online daily – Facebook. A worker comes to office early. Works overload waiting to be done. End of the month, payment is on the way. Works still overload. Promises delivered, prayers for dream job answered, praise the Lord. Tension release method – Facebook. Works are on the waiting lists. Delayed.
Before I suggest anything here; I just want you all to know that Facebook (specifically), media (generally) is not bad or evil. Media is a form of communication. Media is morally neutral. It can be used for good or evil. Some media content inherently positive and uplifting, other content destructive and damaging. In my opinion, no matter how positive content they are, if one expose to it for a long time without any break in between – it can be utterly damaging. In excess, even good things (such as food) can become bad.

May I suggest? Take a break from the media. Intentionally choose for a period of time to avoid electronic media's intrusion into your life. This includes television, radio, movies, videos, movies, the Internet (especially for Malaysians, the Facebook), computer games, video games, etc. Richard J. Foster in his book, Freedom of Simplicity, suggests that we should fast on a deeper level. Fasting that helps to give us balance and to reveals the things that control us. He wrote (pg. 165),
It is amazing to me that many people are incapable of going through an entire day concentrating on one thing. Their train of thought is constantly broken by this demand or interruption. The newspaper, the radio, the television, magazines – everything interrupts their concentration. Some people are so enslaved to television that if it were taken away they would go withdrawal. Obviously, there is a time for the various media, but there is also time to be without them.”

How? Half day or 1 day without media is a small, practical, achievable step to begin. For me, I will normally choose Sunday or Saturday. There are times when I can’t due to my nature of work so I choose any day during the weekdays. Bottom-line: set a day apart for fasting. Then, go one step further – try 1 week fasting and so on. No doubt this probably strikes you as a pretty radical and revolutionary idea, but take heart, this joyful absent from the media (I say ‘joyful’ because you shouldn’t legalize this fasting as what people normally did to all other fasting methods) will free you from the bondage that had interrupt your concentration.

THINK BIG. First and foremost our fasting should be focusing on God. Our longing, desiring and thinking are to concentrate on God. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). START SMALL. Use this time of fasting for prayer; meditate on the Word of God or just reading the Bible; go for silent and solitude; reconnect with friends, family and neighbors (face-to-face conversation). GO DEEP. Don’t be a slave of the media. They are supposed to serve us for good, not the other way round. NOW. Take time to fast from the media… it is good for your soul.

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