I’m honored to be a guest blogger at Presbyterian Outlook this week.
Over Easter weekend in 1999, my close friends convinced me to end my Lenten media fast a day early by going to a movie. Based on the good reviews and the promise of an enjoyable evening, I agreed.
The movie was “The Matrix.”
Advice for people who have fasted from food is to ease back into eating with a small, slow meal. After six weeks without media, “The Matrix” was like eating a five-course dinner while skydiving.
Though tame in comparison to today’s movies, the violence shocked me, even as I was captivated by the incredible story. It drove home how the Lenten fast had reset and heightened my senses. Like Neo, when he finally sees the Matrix for what it is, I realized how much immersion in screen stories had desensitized me.
Working with Young Adult Volunteers at the time, I longed to live more faithfully within the Story that God was writing. However, especially after a long day of ministry, it was easy to disappear into a show or movie. While screen stories, such as “The Matrix,” were powerful food for reflection, too much screen-time dulled my sense of participation in my own life and in the lives of those around me.
That Lenten fast was the first of many media fasts I practiced over the years. At the turn of the millennium, it was easier to set boundaries around the internet and TV.
Then everything changed.
Join me for the rest over at Presbyterian Outlook Magazine.