Early on in the stone age of The Network (about ten months ago), I blogged about why I did not tweet and rarely use my Facebook page. My use of those social networks has not changed appreciably since then. Why, I’ve even had several REAL friends call me (yes—on the telephone) wondering why I don’t check my Facebook messages and stay connected. I promised the first one I would. Turns out I lied.
After the second and third calls from friends I told them, “I was just waiting for your call.” They’re still real friends.
Obviously, if I’m checking out The Network, I’m using technology. I check email about ten times a workday, rarely on Sundays. I’ve seen the suggestions on The Network about how to use social networking in churches. Our staff members regularly send information via email to each other and many church members, but our church hasn’t done Facebook or Twitter institutionally yet. Our website is primitive and boring, though soon will be getting a facelift, if not a Facebook link.
But it’s always a good idea to think self-critically, Christianly about our use of technology. This is particularly timely for me, since my Council has granted me a sabbatical from mid-May to mid-August. For about six weeks of that time I’m planning to hole up in a cabin on a lake about 45 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. There is a phone there, but no TV and certainly not internet.
What will I do? Well, I have a modest reading list on preaching, worship, leadership and vocation and a yet-to-be-announced list of books for a Calvin Seminar in Christian Scholarship to which I’ve just been accepted. Rose hopes to be with me for a couple of those weeks, so we will read, relax, paddle a canoe, walk, pray, talk together. I’ll fish; Rose won’t. I might not even take my iPod.
Will I be able to keep guiding the Pastors Network? I’m not sure. More on that later. Meanwhile, what are your thoughts about voluntarily unlinking for a while? What effect might it have on your vocatio, work, soul, attitudes, relationships? In a future blog I’m going to provide some links to some serious articles about social networking, information gathering and digesting. I promise that after this I won’t call it social nutworking or farcebook even one more time.