My discomfort is growing. So are my questions.
- Shall I continue with Facebook?
Shall I drop Twitter, now that I have experimented with it?
If I reclaimed the time from Facebook and Twitter, would I return whole-heartedly to the Quaker blogosphere, both in reading blogs as well as writing for my own?
What about sustaining the relationships that grew out of blogs and are currently much more active on Facebook and Twitter?
It seems as though I've been spending less time with that new, exciting project and more time keeping up with the electronic Joneses.
That turns my stomach a little bit.
The fact that I am asking myself these questions indicates that something is stirring within me. It's clear that I can't adequately sustain all of these pieces of technology.
It's also clear that I won't give up email: too many people in my immediate life--family, local Quakers--rely more on email than on the other electronic forms of communication.
I wonder if other bloggers wonder about these things.
I wonder if non-bloggers wonder about these things.
I wonder what choices Friends in particular have made about managing their time, about using online social networking tools, about evaluating the benefit or difficulty of these things...?
I can't imagine I'm the only one struggling.
From time to time, I think about the testimony of simplicity and how it relates to my searching. This afternoon I took some time to read a bit and reflect. And yes, I found these through a Google search: I do believe there's a place for the Internet in my life, but it's a question about how to use it and how much to use it.
Outwardly, simplicity is shunning superfluities of dress, speech, behaviour, and possessions, which tend to obscure our vision of reality. Inwardly, simplicity is spiritual detachment from the things of this world... [so as] to love God with all of the heart and mind and strength. The testimony of outward simplicity began as a protest against the extravagance and snobbery which marked English society in the 1600s. In whatever forms this protest is maintained today, it must still be seen as a testimony against involvement with things which tend to dilute our energies and scatter our thoughts....I suppose I have the answer to my own question. Now begins the struggle for me to live into it.
--Faith and Practice, section on Simplicity, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), 1983
Simplicity is essential to our relationship with the Divine. It is the deepest leading of spiritual life in stewarding needs, time, money, possessions and energy for the purpose of our relationship with the Divine... Simplicity can set free richness of spiritual life and joy in living... It can remove barriers to engagement with others. This testimony encourages Friends to consider obstacles in our lives which interfere with this Divine experience... The practice of this testimony changes throughout our lives and requires a constant awareness. We recognize the pressures to conform to the materialism of our society.
--Faith and Practice, Approved chapter on Simplicity, Northern Yearly Meeting
The taproot of simplicity is to be found at that point in the life of a Friend when the realization comes that his or her inner and outer lives are connected, that for the inward life to continue to grow, there must be a response from the outward life.
--Frances Taber, as in Northern Yearly Meeting's chapter on Simplicity, see above
Simplicity - A Wider View, from Still Life
Other blog posts by non-Quaker bloggers that link to this post:
It's Facebook Week at Mashable
How Do You Communicate