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(pp 95-98 of Spiritual Discipline Handbook)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you- James 4.8

Watch our video on Unplugging

Technology has become a very essential part of our life- before COVID-19, but particularly now that we’re living in a global pandemic. Technology has allowed us to continue our work, attend classes, and keep connected with our social and faith communities at a time when we’re significantly limited from in person connection. But the increase amount of time we’re spending looking at screens is also increasing our ‘screen fatigue’. We have a great opportunity during this pandemic to practice the spiritual discipline of unplugging, without compromising our ability to attend class, do our work, and stay connected with our social networks.

Unplugging isn’t simply just stepping away from anything with a screen, rather it’s about removing ourselves from distractions (which are often connected to screens). We’ve allowed screens to distract us from being present in the moment, being present with God. Our phones alert us when we have a new message or email. We can attend zoom lectures and scroll other browsers at the same time. We can play games on our phone, while watching a live feed of a worship services. Unplugging encourages us to shut down the browsers and focus on that zoom lecture. Turn off the sound to our computer and phone- anything that alerts us to new messages. Leave our phone in the other room while we’re attending worship. We can sit at a distance from our computer during video calls or live streams, so we’re not tempted to open another browser. Unplugging encourages us to take advantage of the “Do Not Disturb” feature our phone so we can be fully engaged. As a spiritual discipline, unplugging isn’t simply asking us to turn off the distractions, it’s also asking us to fill in that space with things that draw us closer to God.

Unplug this week- each day intentionally turn off the screens and focus your eyes on God- look at creation, look into the eyes of another person, seek God out and be present with him.

What are some examples of Unplugging in the Bible?

Deuteronomy 8.10-11

Psalm 127

Ecclesiastes 2.22-23

Isaiah 28.12-13

Luke 10.39-42

Ephesians 5.1-2

Philippians 3

James 4

Discussion Questions

How has your technology use changed since the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent restrictions were put in place?

How many hours do you think you spend behind screens each day? How much of it is for pleasure/time wasting vs. being necessary (i.e. School or work)

How do you think your personal relationships have been helped and hindered by the use of technology?

What do you feel are some of the benefits of technology for you? What are some of the detriments?

What draws you into spending time on a screen? What do you dislike about your screen time?

How have you been impacted by “Screen fatigue”?

If you could change something about how you use screens what would it be?

Reflection Activities

Pay attention to how much time you spend on technology for unnecessary things. Examine it and make a plan to intentional decrease the “time wasting” you do behind screens

Intentionally set aside time each day where you’re not looking at screens but instead allow your eyes to rest from screens. Replace that time with something that draws you into God

Instead of texting or video chatting a friend, consider talking to them on the phone or, where possible, have a physically distanced conversation in person

Instead of sending someone an email to wish them a happy birthday or anniversary, send them a card in the mail

When you’re on a zoom call close any browsers and turn off your phones to prevent you from being distracted

If you’re spending a long time on computers, be sure to walk away every hour for a few minutes

Looking at how you’re using screens and ask yourself if there are things you are using the screen for that you could do without a screen (i.e. Instead of using a Bible app to read the word of God, open a physical Bible and read it from there).

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