I actually wrote this for this week's church newsletter, but thought I'd post it here.
Observe the Sabbath, and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8, The Message)
This weekend I took a computer Sabbath. From Friday morning (after I had turned in a paper that caused me to spend way too much time on the computer) to Monday morning I used the computer minimally. I checked email once, worked a little on the evening service, but basically did almost nothing with the machine. In fact, I left the laptop in the office Friday when I went to the coffee shop—surprising the regulars over there, who are used to seeing me with it—and it may or may not go home with me this week.
I spend a lot of time on the computer. One of my hobbies is the keeping of a weblog, or online journal, and I keep in touch with many of my friends through Facebook and email. On top of that, most of my doctoral work involves online meetings several times a month, and I’ve learned how to chat, videoconference, and use a wiki (although I still don’t know how to describe it very well). I keep up with my best friend through instant messaging, because she lives in Heidelburg, Germany.
The computer’s a big part both of my social life and my work and school, so taking a break from the computer was hard for me. It was good time, though. I spent Saturday doing things I wanted to do, and thinking very little about email and such things. I was able to do some crafts and run some errands and catch up on some sleep. I’m glad to be back on the computer today, but I’ve enjoyed the break and perhaps I’ll be a little quicker to take another, and to remember that there are things I love to do that make me happy that don’t involve this chunk of metal and plastic, chips and drives and electrons.
There’s nothing holy about the computer, but there can be holiness in how we spend our time. I’m glad to be reminded of that.