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Associate Minister's Column

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    I am not ignoring you. That is to say, I am not intentionally ignoring you. This year for Lent I’m giving up phone notifications. I know, I know, it sounds like a pretty lame thing to give up. Well, it does to me anyway.

    Usually for Lent I try to give something up or take something on that helps me see the world differently. For a few years I did a random act of kindness for each of the 40 days. More recently I’ve tried saying yes to anyone who asks and giving up purchasing plastic. I do this because I want to take on practices that allow me to see the world differently and with more clarity.

    I decided to give up phone notifications precisely because I never really agreed to get them (or at least not knowingly). They were just part of the smart phone package. Recently I read an article about the effects our phones are having on our attention and temperament. The studies conclusions were both stunning and paradoxically not at all surprising: as long as the phone (on or off, it doesn’t matter) is in our presence we are more distracted and irritable.

    Following the advice of this study, I have turned off my notifications. Now I only get emails or Facebook notifications if/when I remember to check them. It’s already shocking to me how different this type of engagement is.

    Until Easter, if you need to get in touch with me it will probably take more time (until I get used to what life was like for most of human history, that is). Or, you could just give me a call. I left calls and text notifications on.

    Hope your Lenten practices are going well. I would love to hear about them.