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Tim Challies

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July 19, 2010

I have returned from my week away—a week away from home and a week away from the day-to-day. On July 9th we bundled ourselves into the van and drove 1100 kilometers pretty much due south. That took us to a state park in Virginia—a state park far from civilization, one that is accessible only by back roads. There we met up with all of my family along with some of Aileen’s. And there we stayed for a week, living in some surprisingly nice cabins.

We spent the week doing family stuff, vacation stuff. We went to the beach, went for walks, talked, played, read and saw some of the sights. We drove to Appomattox and saw the home where the Civil War essentially came to an end. We drove to nearby small towns and looked (mostly unsuccessfully) for something interesting to see or do. But mostly we just stayed pretty much static, in or around the cabins. It was a genuinely relaxing vacation, a time of real rest. It was a time I needed in a bad way.

I kept my week entirely free of electronic media (not counting the GPS that was affixed to my windshield). I had no phone, no text messages, no email, no blogs, no Twitter, no Facebook, no television. I had prepared myself to find this difficult, to deal with wanting to fight the guidelines I had put in place, with wanting to “cheat” and steal a few glances at email. But what surprised me most about my media fast was how much I enjoyed it. There was not a single moment of regret and not a single moment of wanting to find a wifi signal to check in with the world. I fell of the grid and was very content to be there.

July 08, 2010

The problem with writing a book is that, as an author, you feel like you need to practice what you preach (OK, I guess that’s not really a problem, is it?). And while I believe in the necessity of occasionally fasting from technology, I’ve found that I’m not very good at it—at least, not for very long. But now as I take a week off from all of my work responsibilities I am seeking to implement a lesson I learned last year. If I don’t take a break from technology, I’m not really taking a break at all. I had a vacation last year, but didn’t truly “vacate” because I continued to be as wired as ever.

So here’s the plan. For the next week I am not going to be checking email. I also won’t be tweeting or Facebooking or even blogging. I am going to simply cease to exist electronically. When I tell people this they give that low whistle and say, “That’s going to be tough.” And that may be the case. But I am really looking forward to it, both for the benefits I believe will come from it but also as a kind of case study. I think it’s going to make this a true vacation.

Here’s the auto-reply message I’ve setup within email:

I am taking an electronic vacation which means that I will not be checking email or blogging between July 9 and July 16. There is a very good chance that when I return to the digital world I will erase the hundreds (thousands?) of emails that will have accumulated.

Therefore, if the email you sent me is very important, it would probably be wise to send it again sometime around July 17.

As for the blog, there will continue to be daily content here for you. I have asked a series of friends to each provide an article and those are all queued up and ready to go. Some of these people you will know and others you will get to know through their posts. Obviously there will be no A La Carte updates (those will resume July 19), but you will still be able to come here and read something good every day.

I’ll see you around the 17th!

June 22, 2010

As you read this, I’m on my way home from Orlando, Florida. I’ve been here with the family for nearly a week now, first to take in Ligonier Ministries’ National Conference and then to grab a few days’ vacation. This is part one of our two-part vacation this summer—a bit later on we’ll be headed for a state park in Virginia.

I was busy from Thursday morning until Saturday afternoon and, quite literally, did not venture outside until then. On Thursday I spoke at the pre-conference which dealt with digital living. It was quite a good and useful event, I think, and featured talks from myself, Burk Parsons, Al Mohler and Ed Stetzer. If you read blogs, use Twitter, have a Facebook account or are otherwise engaged in social media, you may want to check out the audio or video. I think it will prove worth your while and hopefully it will help you understand these technologies a little bit better and help you use them in a way that honors God.