Thanks to a ‘tweet‘ from the folks over at Flourish (thanks guys!) I stumbled onto a brilliant project called Sabbath Manifesto created by a group of Jewish artists from the Reboot tribe. As a part of their efforts, they are inviting us all to take a sabbath and unplug from technology on March 19th at sundown for 24 hours. They call it the ‘National Day of Unplugging‘. I’m really excited about this because I have been exploring lately, in my own life, the appropriate place for technology and the Web.

Unplug! Reclaim the sabbath!

Unplug! Reclaim the sabbath! (montage: J Fowler)

As I have been carving out more time for work around the farm here in beautiful Virginia (Spring is a busy time of year) I have been shifting my attitude towards the Web and technology in general. There are days that I am immersed in the digital realm for a majority of my waking hours and I’ve finally come to a place where I am questioning the value of it all. I’m not saying I am going to shut down this website and go ‘solar-Amish’ just yet- but as followers of JESUS and citizens of His kingdom we have to ask ourselves: ‘are we mastering these tools or are these tools mastering us’? As I hear Neil Postman and Jacques Ellul‘s voices ringing in my ear, and the Sabbath Manifesto folks calling us to reclaim sabbath and unplug- I am struck at how hard it is to escape from the tyranny of the Web we have woven. I love what Thomas Merton said in his book ‘The Springs of Contemplation’:

“One of the central issues in the prophetic life is that a person rocks the boat, not by telling slaves to be free, but by telling people who think they’re free that they’re slaves” -[p.133]

Reclaiming sabbath is a doorway for us- out of slavery to the virtual realm and into the place and time and context GOD has made for each of us. Are we willing to admit our need to unplug?

(above) National Day of UNPLUGGING: March 20

Yelp: cut the umbilical chord of data!

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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