Why I Do Not Give Up Social Media for Lent


In the Orthodox Church, the first day of Great Lent falls on a Monday and is called Clean Monday.  This is the day that the fast begins in earnest, and the journey towards Pascha has begun.  On Sunday night, we serve the Forgiveness Vespers and at the conclusion of the service we ask each other for forgiveness as we start Great Lent.

Over the past week, many people have been signing off of social media for the duration of Great Lent and do not necessarily agree with this especially for clergy.  The one question I ask is, do you give up other forms of communication?  Do you give up talking to people and answering the phone? Do you give up answering questions from seekers?  These are just some of things that take place in the social medial realm.

Whether we want to admit it, social media is here to stay and is the avenue that many young people use to communicate and find answers to their questions.  A millennial is more likely to come to Facebook looking for an answer they would be walking into a church.  Say what you will but that is the reality and if we wish to meet them where they are then we need to be where they are.

Cutting off communication, during the holiest time of the church year, to me seems counterproductive.  It’s like closing the doors of the Church!  In the past, I have had many fruitful conversations with seekers, who have come to social media specifically during the time of Lent.  If no one is there who will answer their questions?  There will always be someone willing to answer a question but are we sure of the truthfulness of the answer?

If used appropriately social media is a powerful tool for evangelism and the season of Lent is a time when many people’s minds turn to spiritual things and start to ask questions and seek answers.  Stay connected during this time is extremely important especially for clergy.  There is a lot of good information out there, but there is also a lot of junk and helping people navigate the minefield is an important task.

Lent is a time for us to focus more intently on the spiritual life and how we are living that life in the world today.  As Christians, we are a witness to the world by the way we live our lives.  I wrote previously about my reaction to seeing people on the streets of Boston wish ashes on their heads, the witness is needed in all walks of life and especially in social media.  We have the potential of reaching more people with the click of a mouse then we could ever hope or imagine.

Jesus told His Apostles to go into the entire world, and that includes social media.  I would urge you to reconsider, especially if you are clergy, your desire to stop communicating during Lent.  This is not the time to be silent but the time for us to be shouting from the rooftops!

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