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Well, so much for a regular update on the status of my 101 Things list.  I haven’t even been very good at keeping up the list here at the site.  I did go back and make some updates, though – so here’s what’s new with 101 Things:

#1: Call one friend a month just to catch up
I’ve done a fairly decent job of keeping up on this one, making some intentional effort to connect with friends the good-old fashioned way over the phone.  So far, three months and at least three phone calls.

#20: Read the Bible in its entirety
Thanks to seminary classes that require a fairly heavy amount of Bible-reading, I’ve been keeping up with this one.  So far: Matthew, Mark, John and Galatians (all for classes), and Philippians (during my silent retreat at Mowana)

#30: Attend 30 On-Turf Youth Events
Three PSHS varsity basketball games, one community league indoor soccer game, and a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the PSHS volleyball teams.

#43: Complete the One Hundred Pushups Challenge
I began this program at the same time as the Two Hundred Situps Challenge.  After four weeks of the program, I am currently able to do 32 consecutive pushups.  I’m hoping to be able to do 100 by the time the next few weeks are over!

#47: Tackle the Tower
Finished!  February 7th Scott and I joined a group from PLC to Tackle the Tower for Ronald McDonald House.  It may not have been my best athletic performance to date, but I did it nonetheless!

#49: Complete the 200 Situps Challenge
Finished!  After completing only four weeks of the six-week challenge, I was able to do 210 crunches on 4/5/09.  I will be finishing the last two weeks of the program and then maintaining by doing a minimum of 200 crunches three times per week.

#52: Read and Finish 101 Books
I’ve definitely been keeping busy with this one – between reading for classes and a voracious appetite for personal reading that I’ve had lately, my list now includes the following titles:

  • The Shack by: William P. Young
  • The Synoptic Problem by: Mark Goodacre
  • Mad Church Disease by: Anne Jackson
  • She Said Yes by: Misty Bernall
  • The Way of the Heart by: Henri Nouwen
  • Holy Bible, Human Bible by: Gordon Oliver
  • Eat This Book by: Eugene Peterson
  • The Last Word by: NT Wright
  • Fundamentalism and American Culture by: George Marsden
  • The Real Billy Sunday by: Lyle Dorsett
  • Crazy Love by: Francis Chan

In addition to those, I’ve got about nine more that I am currently in the middle of reading both for class, ministry and personal enjoyment.

#53: Spend an entire day in silence
Finished!  In fact, I spent two entire days in silence while on a personal silent retreat at Camp Mowana from March 22nd through 24th.

#54: Watch 101 movies I have never seen before
Added to the last list are: Wall-E, The Final Cut, and Down With Love

#82: Go one week without logging into Facebook
Finished!  And beyond a week, since I gave up Facebook for Lent, it has currently been 41 days since I was last on Facebook.

#88: Spend at least 15 days at Camp Mowana
Two down, 13 more to go!  I’m definitely hoping to make a few more silent retreats down to Mowana during this 1001 days, and hopefully a few trips with the youth group and this goal will be more than met!

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Twouble with Twitters

I find this little gem of a video brilliant.  Espcially after being away from the twittersphere, AIM, and facebook for a few weeks now.  Enjoy!  (ty los)

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This Lenten season has already given me plenty of opportunities to [Re](insert verb here).  It’s amazing what can happen when you begin to break the habits and cycles that have come to define your lifestyle, and whatever those habits may be (watching too much TV, investing too much money in expensive coffee beverages, over-indulging in sweets, or developing a pattern of disconnected-connectedness) Lent is a time that the “traditional” Church sets aside specifically for the purpose of breaking those habits.  Throughout this journey I hope to periodically write about some of the [Re]sults of that breaking.

One of the joys I have experienced already is a sense of [Re]connection, which has actually been a pleasant surprise considering I was half-expecting to experience loneliness and isolation to result from “cutting myself off” from the outside world through an internet communications fast.  In the past week I have had the opportunity to visit with several friends who I haven’t seen or spent time with in quite a while, and I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to [re]connect with those people.  I’ve had authentic conversations that have been worth more than any amount of time spent checking facebook statuses or browsing through pictures and profiles.

I’ve found that in the midst of this journey, I have become so aware of and appreciative of face-to-face interaction with people.  It seems like it’s somewhat of a lost art in our fast-paced, “I’m too busy for that” culture, to just sit down and enjoy the company of another human being, and yet it is a form of connection that cannot be replaced by anything a machine can do.  There is something about looking into the eyes of another person, seeing their joy, excitement, grief and sincerity, that is simply unmatchable.

So, with that I challenge you.  How are you [Re]Connecting this Lenten season – with family, with friends, with God?

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For the past four years, I have allowed you to consume my life.  And I’m afraid that our relationship has gone too far.  I have allowed my self-worth to be dictated by wall-posts, comments and friend requests.  I have allowed you to make me feel popular whenever I browse through my 4823923 friends, when in reality there are only a handful of those folks who I could even consider real friends.

You have given me the pleasure of re-connecting with acquaintances of old (remember what’s-her-name from preschool who moved away when we were like 4?  yeah, we’re friends now thanks to you!), and have given me a new and shiny, yet somehow artificial way to be “friends” with relatives, co-workers, and my sister’s friend’s little sister.  You have given me the ability to know that what’s-his-name-the-high-school-football-team is now a father to kids with two different mothers, and to know in an instant who is dating whom.  If it weren’t for you, I would have no idea that girl-from-choir and guy-from-band ended up getting married after all.  Seriously, what would I do without you, Facebook?

Oh yeah, remember that time that we spent hours upon hours together as I wasted away my life playing Tetris thanks to that wonderful little app you like to call “Tetris Friends”?  I think I may have actually lost friends because of that little trist.  And speaking of apps, how would I ever tell my friends how much I care about them if it weren’t for Bumper Stickers and Flair?  Thanks to you, it has been months, if not years since I actually sent someone a hand-written note.  Why waste the energy when I’m sure there’s already a bumper sticker that says “I love you!”.

And why do you tempt me so by suggesting more people I may know?  You know as well as I do that I have no idea who at least half those people are and that the other half are people that I had long since forgotten.  But hey, since you think I should be friends with that popular kid from high school who made fun of me all the time, why not?  Maybe things have changed since then, right?

Oh, and remember that picture?  Yeah, the one from that time at camp when I hadn’t showered in a week?  Remember how someone found it and made it the face of Erin Satterlee for WELL Leadership my senior year?  Ok, maybe that wasn’t so bad.  But seriously, I blame that partly on you.

I heard a song on the radio that reminded me of you.  It brought back all kinds of memories.

I don’t know what I’ve done
Or if I like what I’ve begun
But something told me to run
And honey you know me it’s all or none

There were sounds in my head
Little voices whispering
That I should go and this should end
Oh and I found myself listening

‘Cause I don’t know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should

(Thanks, Missy)

That song came on the radio, and I thought of you.  Then I thought of me.  I realized that I’ve invested way too much of myself into this relationship – far more than I should.  And it’s come to the point where I seriously don’t know who I am without you, and it’s time for that to change.

Anyway, what I guess I’m trying to say is that I think we need to take a break.  I need some time to find myself – to invest myself in all of those things that you have taken me away from – in God, in family, in love, and in real friendship (you know, the kind where you sit and have coffee and talk face-to-face).  You can go ahead and spread your facebook love around to all the other people out there (in fact, I’m sure you have hardly even noticed my disappearance since I walked out on you last night about this time).

Seriously though, it’s not you, it’s me.

I guess I’ll see you later.

Sincerely,

Erin Satterlee

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This year marks the first in quite a number that I have not been able to attend an Ash Wednesday service (mainly because all of the churches I would attend for a service only have one at 7pm which falls right in the middle of my night class).  While I miss the symbolic act of the imposition of ashes as the start to the Lenten season, I have had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time today in reflection over the beginning of this journey (especially with all of the newfound spare time I have without the old ball and chain of internet communication tying me to the computer for every waking hour).

In particular I’ve been reflecting on a passage from the Old Testament book of Joel that is typically read during the observance of Ash Wednesday:

Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:13)

Rend your hearts and not your garments. This season and journey is not primarily about giving up facebook, instant messenger, twitter, or any other form of internet communication (or whatever else you may choose to abstain from).  Rather, it is about “rending one’s heart” and “returning to the Lord.”  And it’s about doing whatever is necessary to make that happen.

Obviously I’ve made some sort of judgment call as to what is necessary for me.  For you it may be something different – it may mean adding a discipline, intentionally engaging in additional service to others, or eliminating something else from your life in order to make more room for Christ.

Whatever it be, I pray that you are blessed as you walk this journey.

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The liturgical season of Lent has always been one of my favorite seasons of the church year.  This year, I’m particularly excited for the Lenten journey to which God has called me.  Ben recently wrote a wonderful post about Giving Up, Giving Out, and Taking In noting that:

…the season of Lent is not just about giving up things.  Sweets, soda, television, or Facebook.  Lent was a time to fill ourselves with the things of God.  So we empty ourselves of these simple pleasures that we might be filled up with the joy of Christ.  Lent is a time to be drawn closer and to draw closer to God.

There have been years that I have painstakingly legalistic about forcing myself to give up things such as dessert, soda, caffeine, meat, etc. without so much as a thought of filling that space with the joy of Christ.  What is the point if we are not throwing ourselves whole-heartedly at the feet of Jesus, emptying ourselves of our worldly desires and filling ourselves with His love.

So, here’s the deal.  In light of recent struggles and confessions, I’ve been spending some time in prayer and reflection over what God may be calling me to in this Lenten season.  Where does He desire me to empty myself and what areas of my life need to be filled by Him?

For the next 40 days I will be emptying myself of the need to be artificially connected to people:  I have deactivated my facebook account, I will be signing off of Instant Messenger and will most likely stop Twittering.

In place of artificially maintained relationships I will be filling myself: I will be investing heavily in my relationship with God and re-discovering His love, I will be investing in “real life” relationships – with Scott, with my family, with friends, with my youth.  And I will be fully present in those relationships.

So, basically my only outlet for internet communication will be here at the blog – and I even questioned giving that up (but it turns out that blogging is typically beneficial in that it helps me to reflect on God, life, and love).

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

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I am addicted to connection.

The more I wrestle with this whole issue of being fully present vs. always available the more I am beginning to discover the root of the issue.  And I honestly don’t think that naming it an “addiction” is going to far.  Dictionary.com defines an “addiction” as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.” So, I suppose the question then becomes whether or not this practice of “connection” is something to which I am enslaved.

Sure, everyone needs to be connected to something, or someone.  That is human nature, and it’s how God created us to be. We need to be connected to God and connected to people around us.  But is there a point at which that need to be connected becomes so habit forming that we are unable to be alone?

Our society and its instant gratification culture have made it possible to get anything we want whenever we want.  Along with that, we can generally get a hold of anyone we want whenever we want.  Between e-mail, instant messaging, facebook, cell phones, and “crackberries” we can connect with any person anywhere in the world at any moment.

And so, I am a product of my society.  Back in the day I used to crave solitude.  I can remember having the express desire to spend days alone – no computer, no cell phone – just alone.  Lately, though, I can’t handle being alone.  I am constantly connected to the internet (unless I am travelling from one place with wi-fi to another place with wi-fi) and when I’m not conected to the internet, I’m most likely texting this person or that.  It almost seems like I need to be connected to someone at all times.

So, what is it that causes us to need this connection?  Why do we have so much trouble spending time in solitude anymore?  Will we ever get back to the point of choosing solitude over connection?  What will it take to get us there?

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