This past summer I enjoyed some great vacation time with my wife of fifteen years, Grace, and our five children. We went to the high desert and spent most of our time enjoying the sunshine by playing catch, swimming in pools, inner tubing down rivers, going for walks and the like. For the first time in my life, I actually did not turn on my cell phone and did not take any calls or emails while on vacation. I made it a full three weeks of fasting from digital demons such as my BlackBerry, iPod, and second cell phone. Within a few days I also stopped wearing a watch and stopped really caring about time and instead enjoyed my wife, kids, and vacation. In short, it was wonderful. Unplugging my technology and simply having nothing on my body that required a battery seemed like a new kind of spiritual discipline for our age that refreshed and renewed me more than I could have imagined.
I know in years past I too have been guilty of these same digital sins against God, my family, and my own well-being. Now that I see it as a sin that destroys silence, solitude, fellowship, prayerful listening, and meaningfully and attentive friendship, I am deeply convicted that there is a new spiritual discipline of fasting from technology to be mastered. In this way, we can enjoy the life and people that God puts in front of us rather than ignoring them while we peck away with our thumbs and chat about nothing, which in the end is rarely as important as the people we are ignoring all around us.