What ‘digital paradise’ is not
When Bex first emailed me with this month’s themes of digital paradise, I was unsure what it meant. Bex explained that she knew, for me, what it was not. It wasn’t a room with no computers, and therefore no social networks. I’d found this out last week when I’d tried my first ‘digital Sabbath’: an attempt to break free from all things digital, and focus on ‘silence’ and time with Jesus instead. To my surprise, I found out how quickly I’ve become used to blogging, and how much of a habit it’s become. I did manage, however to have good ‘quiet time’ and found the break beneficial .One more point of interest is that last Sunday, I switched on my laptop as if by reflex, as if it was ‘second nature’. Read more about it here. I was thinking this would be a hard habit to break, until I fell and broke my laptop!
So what’s all this about ‘digital paradise’? Paradise, for me is something of a focus, perhaps more so than for other Christians as I am all too aware of the weakness of my flesh. Colossians 3 reminds us to look up, and focus on Christ.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” - Colossians 3:1-4
How can social media help us to ”focus on things above?” Well, when using twitter for example, we are constantly interacting with people which should cause us to think about our behaviour and how to be ‘salt’ online. I have friends to keep me accountable and correct me (lovingly (!) if I say something inappropriate. I have a variety of friendships on twitter, people of faith and people of none. To my mind, as Christians in the online world we have similar responsibilities to those we have when we are offline. Some I met offline, like Bryony, and for the most part, we keep in touch on line. Bryony introduced me to Bex via twitter, and I got in touch with Tanya after reading her blog which Bex had linked to. I contacted my friend Tricia after I’d seen a comment she’d left on UCB’s prayer line page. All of these are important friendships for me and all remind me to look up by helping me keep my focus on Christ. I know I can ask for prayer, and each one of them plus others will pray and they know I will return the favour. It is more than just friendship to me. It is mutual prayer support, and also a listening ear. I have a listening ministry of sorts in my flat, and the same thing is now happening online. I have to be careful not to spend too much time on twitter, to the exclusion of other things. It’s all about balance, as it is with other things in life. Where twitter really comes into its own is in enabling me to network. I’m initially shy on meeting people, which makes me slur my speech, so twitter takes the fear out of it. Also I can network with others who are ill/disabled and share tips or talk about some of the day-to-day realities. I think this is part of what heaven will be like, vibrant, fun and no-one will care any longer which denomination someone belongs to as it will be all about Jesus. and, even if I never meet Tanya and Tricia and others in person, we’ll get to party together for all of eternity!