...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Internet Use Disorder

Should pastors declare internet sabbath?
This week's post at Sacred Space is a sharp reminder that good things can be misused- and can be a hindrance to the spiritual life. The Irish Jesuits are timely in naming the loss of sacred space as one casualty of internet dependency. The many tools of the internet have the capacity to invade our mental and spiritual focus.

We can be described as an ADD culture, which has safety consequences all its own. Beyond the safety concerns, like texting while driving or walking through traffic, the lines between private down time and public work time are almost gone. Employees are beginning to ask employers for the time they spend away from the office working on various projects. An off-the- wall tweet or post can get you thousands of followers, fired, or both.

Like other addictions, the sickness of IUD is a dependency. I don't know about the physical dimensions of the disorder. Like anything we use to mask our pain, a nice convenience like the internet can easily become a life drain very destructive of our health in many facets.

For too many days and nights, I let my fascination with the internet ruin any chance for growing deeper communion with God and others. But I have chosen that. It is a spiritual discipline to turn it off. Just like previous generations learned to turn off the radio, the TV, or the VHS. A friend of mine periodically (she would like it to be every week) practices a phone/internet free morning, all morning. It's called an internet sabbath or fast.   



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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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