Posts Tagged ‘renewal


Deacon Unplugged

So, as has become usual, I pop in, leave for a few days (or more), then pop back. To some extent it’s just being busy, or not having anything pressing to talk about.

But to a small extent these days, it’s also me unplugging a little from the Internet.

You see, I decided to give up something for Lent, which is a practice I haven’t done much these past 25 years or so. Our pastor talked a bit about giving stuff up for Lent around the beginning of the Lenten season, and brought up the point that lots of people have gotten into the trend of “doing something positive” instead for Lent. That is, picking up better habits or volunteering or getting involved in some special cause. It sounds nice on the surface (and it is nice, really), but as he pointed out, there is something to be said for giving something up. Not because of the “sacrifice” aspect necessarily but to discover things in our lives that perhaps are distractions from our spirituality, our families, our growth, etc.

Following a similar example of my wife, who vowed to cut down on her Internet time, I decided to give up Twitter and Facebook for Lent. Originally, I had intended only to cease regular and thorough checking of the social media. I would still check out posts and tweets from people whom I know in real life or regularly communicate with online.

Very quickly, though, I found that I wasn’t checking either site out at all for days at a time. I had taken my “sacrifice” even farther than I intended, and it was actually a nice feeling.

So nice that I thought, “Should I give up something harder to give up?”

But that isn’t the point, I realized. I had found something that was sucking at my time, and distracting me from other things, and tiring me out frankly. Trying to keep up with tweets in particular (I felt like I had to keep up with things, so I wouldn’t miss something interesting in the mass of tweets every day) was sometimes exhausting, and far from satisfying.

I’m not saying that I’m giving up Twitter and Facebook altogether; I think they have value and I plan to go back to them after Lent. But when I do, I plan to pare things down, particularly on Twitter, so that the only people I follow are people whom I know (virtually or in real life) or who truly add regular value to my life with their comments and sharing.

Giving up something for Lent has helped me find myself, find more time, and eliminate distractions. Even if that hasn’t translated into time solely and purely for spiritual reflection, it has renewed my spirit.

And so at almost 42 years of age, I’ve discovered something about Lent and larger purposes of “sacrifice.”


Renewal, Symbolic and Literal

spring_motif1So, here we are in the post-Easter time of year.

Fewer gray skies. Flowers popping up, in my case some lovely purple and white oblong things along the side of the house—Lord only knows what they’re called, as the former homeowners planted them and I know next to nothing about flora. The lilac tree in our yard has buds that will be leaves and flowers soon. The big-ass trees on our property should be sprouting leaves soon, too. Don’t have to huddle under blankets as much. Don’t have to shovel the house out from under piles of snow.

It’s good. And, it’s a reminder.

On the spiritual side, Christians like myself have just gotten done with celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. There are literal aspects, like the fact I believe he really died and really came back to life and that he died for our sins. There is the symbolic fact that this is also the time of the year that life comes back to the Earth after a time of “death” that we call winter.

Much in the same way that I view the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. I don’t believe that the bread and wine magically turn into bread (or cracker) flavored flesh and the wine (or grape juice) into vino-flavored blood. But at the same time, the breaking of the body and the spilling of the blood of Jesus was a serious thing, and we should view the taking of his symbolic body and blood very seriously and not treat it as some throwaway act we just do for the hell of it.

In this season of symbolism and spiritual renewal, I believe it’s a good time to take stock of where we are, in terms of God and in terms of our daily lives. For my part, I’m going to take some time to reevaluate what I should be doing in my spiritual life, but I am also considering some new paths for my career and the way I support my family.

Spring has sprung, folks, and I would encourage you to not only enjoy the nicer weather and blooming foliage, but also to look at where you are at, what you have gone through recently, and where you are (and where you should) be going.

Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


Jeff Bouley

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March 2023

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