Christians forgo Facebook for ‘digital fasting’

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(RNS) In the world of faith-based social networking, evangelical Christian leader Mark Oestreicher commanded a huge chunk of cyberspace. Known as “Marko,” the technological hipster amassed 4,000 Facebook friends, 1,500 Twitter followers and 2,000 daily readers of his blog. But then he decided he’d had enough — and unplugged from his online circle of friends. […]

  • David R. Vaughn

    The use of facebook and similiar programs and texting can become addictive and as a result can involve a lot of our time. I agree with the author who says that maintaining large on-line connections can distract from our real-life relationships with friends and family. The user must stay alert and know when enough is enough of electronic talking.

    On the other hand, with disciplined use, facebook use can be used in positive ways. I am on disability leave from the pastorate due to Parkinson’s disease. In the early morning hours my fingers and hands permit me to use the keyboard. I have discovered that my computer can become a means of being in ministry. I place a daily devotion on my facebook account; I pray daily for persons who are facebook friends, and I send them a short message indicated that I have prayed for them; there are times I am asked to pray for persons; and there are times when a friend or an acquaintence will seek me out for spiritual or other forms of advice. There, also, have been occasions when a facebook friend has introduced me to someone after getting their permission. I think of an 18 year old female with cancer who does not have a church relationship and wanted to talk to a minister about her situation.

    I have even used the game, Uno, on facebook to make friends in other parts of the world who asks me questions about Christianity. Without pushing my Faith and speaking as a friend, I use the opportunities to share Christianity with them.

    I do these things without interfering with a person’s pastor, if they have one. I advise speaking to their pastor or a pastor friend for help. One must be conscious of the time involved on their computer. Family relationships and personal devotions must not be hindered. For me my Parkinson’s disease sets the time when computer use is a possibility, and that is while my wife is sleeping. There are opportunities available on-line for good relationships, and with discipline, can be an interesting form of communication.