Fake Margins

As we wrap up our introductory weeks on the blog, we want to take one last look at margins. Here’s our picture for this week:

Technically, we have put a margin on this page, but the question is: does it help make more sense of the page? Of course not. In fact, it actually makes it even more difficult to understand. It is a fake margin.

Margins are supposed to help us make sense of our lives. So even when something looks like a margin, but is adding to the chaos rather than giving it order, it is not really a margin.

Technology functions this way. Technology is supposed to be something that helps us have better, easier, more productive lives. It presents itself as a margin. It looks like it is a good thing. It can be a good thing. But just because it has the potential to be a good thing, doesn’t mean it will automatically create margins. If it is not used properly, it only looks like a margin but is actually creating more chaos.

Take Facebook for example. Facebook allows me to communicate with people I do not see all that often. It also gives me a different way to communicate with people I do get to see. It is supposed to HELP my relationships. In this way, it can help create margins in my life. It helps me build and grow relationships.

But what happens when Facebook is over extended? What happens when I am sitting in a coffee shop with someone pouring their heart out and all can think about is how to respond to the message I just received? What happens when I am on Facebook at the expense of those in front of me? What happens when I misunderstand a Wall Post and it destroys a relationship?

Is this creating more meaning and purpose in my life? Or adding to the chaos?

This is true of different aspects of the spiritual life as well.

Church, spiritual disciplines, traditions, etc. exist to point us to God. They exist to create the margins in our life so we can see each moment as divine. But they can serve as fake margins as well.

When my church, my tradition, my practice becomes the most important thing, rather than a vessel to point me towards God, it becomes a fake margin. When they become one more thing to add to my schedule, rather than the space that is needed to make sense of my schedule, it becomes a fake margin.

It looks like a margin, but it is actually creating more chaos.

So we want to know – when have you experienced this? What are some things that started as margins for you but are now adding to the chaos?

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