Tyranny of the Glowing Rectangles
Now, The Onion, an online and print fake news service, isn’t exactly the greatest source of spiritual nourishment by any stretch of the imagination, and it can certainly be biting and uncharitable, but it does do some rather poignant social commentary oft-times, and I must admit that I do kind of enjoy it in small doses once in a while. I was particularly amused (and a bit convicted) by their article, “Report: 90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles“. You almost don’t have to read it to get the point from just that one line.
My wife and I know that we unfortunately do spend far too many hours staring at glowing rectangles. For pity’s sake, I’m staring at one now. (As are you.) Knowing we have this unfortunate habit, we instituted “Screenless Weekend”, a discipline where once a month, we shut off anything with a screen from Friday evening to Sunday evening. Sometimes, it’s not that big of a deal when we have things scheduled that weekend anyway, but when we don’t, it can truly be a profound experience. The last screenless weekend was one spent with a good percentage of it at home, and it felt quite a bit like a mini-retreat. Many have talked about the fact that silence and solitude cause things to well up out of the soul, and this weekend had a good deal of it, even if it wasn’t silent or in solitude. Just getting away from CRTs, LCDs, and whatever other screens we had running around had the same effect. God opened me up to various things that I needed to see and face with him, and I wasn’t distracted so much I couldn’t hear him. I needed it.
So who says disciplines have to be the classical versions or that retreats must be away from home? Screenless weekends can seem to do just fine for a person of the right kind of tendency.