disconnecting . . . a spiritual discipline
A lot of folks have talked about, and even more of us have felt the paradox of loneliness while simultaneously being so well connected. The combination of text messaging, IM’ing, blogs, cell phones, email, even the speed of our snail-mail is lightening fast when compared to any point in human history, let alone planes, trains and automobiles all of which render us the most connected people to ever walk this planet. We’re not even bound to electrical cords any longer, between battery packs and wifi we can go almost anywhere with no strings attached; nor are we bound by location, as we up and move with great frequency and distance.
Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote: “Only as we are within fellowship can we be alone, and only [the person] that is alone can live in the fellowship” (Bonheoffer, Life Together, 77).
Bonheoffer’s words got me wondering whether so many people feel alone precisely because they are so rarely alone. Maybe contemporary life is encouraging a sort of “connection addiction”. As many people within relational churches and intentional communities discover when community becomes a goal it quickly becomes an idol.
Relationality, community and connection are very important to me, as even just a cursory pan through my site will reveal, but the last year to eighteen months has been a season listening the cry of my life for space. Allowing space and connection to flow together is dance I am seeking to learn currently.
As I have been prayerfully reflecting on the morphing rhythm of life/rule that I live under I’ve been trying to discern what some of the dominant values of my life and my cultures are, and what practices I could submit to that would place those values in Kingdom perspective.
One such value is the Spiritual Discipline of unplugging or disconnecting. I try to unplug one day a week; no email, no cell phone, not IM’ing, etc. Although disconnecting is not exactly a radical, I find it very difficult.