March 1, 2009

Facebook a new abstinence choice for Lent

A growing number of Christians in the United States are swearing off the social networking Web site Facebook for Lent, a priest says.

The Rev. John Grimm of Seton Hall University said such modern technological services as Facebook and MySpace are part of a growing imbalance in today's Christian community, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported Sunday.

Oftentimes, we are just spending too much time on these things. We're out of balance, said Grimm, who serves as a Christian ethics assistant professor at the New Jersey school.

Therefore, the growing trend of abstaining from such online sites during Lent appears to represent a modern take on the traditional 40-day period leading up to Easter.

Giving up something we enjoy and like is to make restitution -- to give penance for our sins, Grimm said.

Pastor Tim Morral of New York's New Covenant Church said cutting back on Facebook, which has more than 175 million members, and the Internet is his Lent plan.

I think I can do it, the Rochester, N.Y., pastor told The Star-Ledger. Check in with me in 40 days.