I picked up the passage below from Peggy, and it speaks my mind. I think most of us struggle with the balance between the Internet and the rest of life, which is why I'm (almost) glad when I sometimes go "dark." On the other hand, as Peggy says, the Web is a source of support and friendship. Here's Peggy:
Like Jamie (and so many others), there is a virtual community that lifts and supports me that stands in the gap of what does not exist in my face-to-face reality. I have learned that I need to be more restrained.
But I find that I am able to be more restrained as the sense of “starvation” abates … for I have been many years in a very desert kind of place, a dry land where there is little to refresh and nourish. For me, to have turned away from the oasis that the Holy Spirit has provided in my virtual community would only have hurt me more — like the traumatized one in shock who pushes away the hands of those come to help and heal.
These hands have lifted me up and brushed the sand from my face. I admit, in those early days, I was a bit like those who gulp the water in such a way as to splash more than is swallowed … and the starving who forget to take small bites and chew thoroughly.
But I’m recovering from that and the strength is seeping back into my weak limbs … and I can now do things in the physical realm because of the strength received from the virtual.
I too have had that sense of being spiritually starved and then nourished, through the grace of God, on the Web, and I felt moved by Peggy's words on that topic and her honesty. I think sometimes we can be open with others on the Web in a way we can't face to face, and that we can find spiritual friendships that are a blessing with people we otherwise would never have a chance to meet. I wonder if the best of the Web is a taste of what heaven will be like. But I do understand all too well how the computer can also pull us from real life. What do you think? I think we all struggle with the tension of the web versus "real life," but how do you handle it?