techno-Sabbatarianism: InBeginning

I have decided to start practicing techno-Sabbatarianism - beginning this evening.

My aim is to find a symbolic way to be in this matrix of a globally integrated electronic information and entertainment age that we call the twenty-first century but not of it.

I could drop out of it altogether. In fact, I've always been attracted to the Amish way, to Wendell Berry, to Thoreau, to Annie Dillard as the Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and to the self-sustaining agrarian life. But I also know that attraction is at least eight parts nostalgia for a golden age that was hardly golden.

Technology is a human good. Technological progress has contributed greatly to the relief of human suffering, the spread of the gospel (in one sense, anyway), care for the earth, and many other worthwhile human endeavors.

And yet ... there is some things about technological progress that is troubling to me. Deeply troubling. For one , it's linked in many ways to a rationalist, modernist, enlightenment vision of reality that I simply don't buy into. For another thing, I've read too many books like Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World not to see glimpses of these dystopias in the viral consumerism that threaten to alter for the worse our basic understanding of what it means to be human and to be in society with one another -- perhaps even what it means to relate to God. Furthermore, technological progress is a thing that is rarely called into question and much more rarely resisted in any way. We rush headlong, in fact, to fill our lives with its textureless lights and manufactured noises.

I intend to practice techno-Sabbatarianism (according to the Christian calendar) by resting from technology from sundown on Saturday (around the time when we usually practice an opening of the Lord's Day ceremony in People of Praise) to sundown Sunday evening (or thereabouts).

The principles and kosher rules of techno-Sabbatarianism are subject to revision, but right now I'm thinking no Internet, no phone calls, no television, no movies, no radio, no compact disks - except for emergencies or acts of mercy.


Ben said...


What do you hope to accomplish? Do you think that by taking a day off from technology it will affect (positively) the rest of the days of the week?

I am deeply interested in how this plays out, mostly because I have had some similar thoughts, and may even have to write my own blog post on the subject. (Ironically, i might write it tomorrow, a Sunday.)

JPB said...

Well ... as the snow drifts slowly down from the early winter sky ... I'm off! See you all Sunday night.