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THE ROAD TO EASTER: Lake Placid clergy offer a digital challenge

February 9, 2018
By REV. JIM KOENIG , Lake Placid News

The topic of the place media has in our lives came up several months ago in the monthly gathering of the Lake Placid clergy.

Without much prompting, we began telling stories of personal experiences where we observed and personally experienced the way that the digital screen has captured people's attention and shifted their focus. You can see it when you are out to eat, hear about its danger for the distracted driver and know its pull in that many of us will return home to retrieve a forgotten phone even if only going on a few errands.

Our lives are filled with screens: phones, tablets, computers, media centers, TVs and even refrigerators. We ask Google more questions than any person and live more digitally than one could have ever fathomed even five years ago. I know that for me, I even keep track of time on a small digital screen that also tells me my heart rate and the number of steps I have walked during the day. My day is dominated by beeps and alerts that whisper for my attention and draw my eyes to one of the many screens that populate my life. As I sit and write this article, there are eight different screens within my field of vision.

Article Photos

Rev. Jim Koenig, Lake Placid Baptist Church

The reason that the topic came up was an article Father John had read about the challenge digital dominance to our time and lives. What this sparked was a discussion that leads us a group to partner with the Lake Placid News to offer a series articles proposing suggestions to replace the magnetic pull the digital world has on each of our lives. These will appear weekly during the Lent season.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14 begins the Lent season of many faith communities. The beginning is marked with Ash Wednesday, and Lent's ending is Easter Sunday, April 1. For many, this season is marked by fasting and self-denial as one contemplates Christ's great example of sacrifice. Examples you are familiar with include abstaining from certain food and curtailing activities or habits. Some of you will see friends on Facebook announcing a break during this time, know people who give up soda, snacks or candy, or have a friend that abstains from alcohol or tobacco.

Over this year's Lent experience, local faith leaders want to challenge you to think about a digital fast of some sort. You need not attend our churches to join us; I think we can all agree that the digital world is vying for the hours we are awake. Each week of Lent, we will offer different suggestions to replace screen time. You will hear from many of us what we are learning ourselves and how we are working to exchange digital time.

We want to thank the Lake Placid News and Editor Andy Flynn and how that many of you will join this adventure during Lent.

(Jim Koenig presently serves as pastor of Lake Placid Baptist Church. He and his family moved here in August 2012.)



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