In Praise of Slowness
I woke up this morning feeling as if I had a hang over. I donâ€™t drink but I live a non stop life. As a pastor, it seems my day is never done. Time seems to be in a conspiracy with life to kill me.
Life as a pastor has never been slow but if I had the time I could chronicle how busyness has progressively consumed my life. There is more to do, more people to see. I woke this morning, my day off, and I realized that there were several people I need to visit. I think I will do it next week but next week is going to be busy too. What has happened to time?
I know that I am not the only busy person. In fact, I think the issue of time is one of the major issues for all Christians, at least for American Christians. Our culture is a busy culture. Even those folks who have retired are incredibly busy! We keep inventing time saving products and methods. However, all of our efforts only makes it worse. Now, we can do even more in a given period of time.
The problem is further complicated because we are all chumps. Yes, chumps. We buy into culture that tells us what we should be doing. All successful families must have their kids involved in 15 different sports at any given time of the year. We must participate in large numbers of extracurricular activities that range from hunting and fishing to political campaigns to softball to garden clubs. For Christians, it is the life of the church that should drive us, everything else is sort of second rate. But since we are chumps, we have bought into the worldâ€™s ways and church gets the leftovers if anything at all. We have allowed culture to invert the time pyramid and we now major on the minor and minor on the major. We Americans have been accused of playing at our jobs and working at our leisure. It certainly seems true in our use of time.
The time conspiracy is taking its toll. Todayâ€™s church is both shallow and weak. We are under the illusion that certain churches, i.e., Christian entertainment centers, are really centers of worship. We get it all done in an hour or hour and a half. We can get our exercise, get juiced up in an endorphin high, feel good about ourselves and claim that we worshiped God, all at the same short period of time. Instant faith, instant worship, all in the name of time. Then we go on our merry way living our busy lives as if all of this stuff is necessary.
I ran across a book, In Praise of Slowness, and it certainly got my attention. I have had the book for over a year and have not finished the book because, you guessed it, I have not had the time. But what I have read caused me to think. The author, Carl Honor subtitles his book, “How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed.” The cult of speed is a good name for it. But it is an addictive cult.Â I hope I find time to finish the book. I noticed on the back cover that the author got a speeding ticket while researching the book.
Like all idols, we Christians are supposed to put them a way. Of all the demonic idols; money, power, sex and time, time is probably the most addictive, the most seductive, the one that consumes us all. And it is the one most of us fail to recognize as an idol. It is the stealth sin. We need to repent. We need to help each other on this journey to the City of God so that we can slow down and enjoy each otherâ€™s company and enjoy the journey. No wonder so may Christians are miserable. No wonder so few Christians enjoy their walk with Christ or their association with each others. Joy is supposed to mark us. We have allowed the idol of time to destroy our faith and our relationships and steal our joy. It is “time” we got back on track with the important things.
We all need to be committed to new movement of slowness. We need to repent and leave the cult of speed. Let us all slow down so that we may enjoy our life together in Christ.