Friends-I had lunch with Michael and his wife today at our community lunch. We got talking about a variety of things and they ended up scolding me. You see, my life is scheduled so that taking time for a sabbath--an intentional break--is a challenge and something I frequently neglect.

Recognizing that, we talked about books that we had both been reading. In my case it was a work by Walter Brueggemann about Sabbath. Brueggemann writes that our culture has lost the concept of Sabbath. The world revolves around speed, accomplishment, busy-ness. In our culture our importance is marked by the number of emails, texts, and calls that we receive. In this framework there is no room for rest. When we face a problem we expect an instant solution and struggle to tolerate that liminal time of working through things.

Slow Church by Smith and Pattison is another book that takes on what they call the "cult of speed". These two authors share Brueggemann's perspective on our culture, but they write particularly about how the church exists in that sort of atmosphere. Slow Church is a good book, but I have to spoil the ending for you. They advise that church functions better when it functions slowly. We are more truly church when we take time--time to listen, time to discern, time to encounter God's will.

I don't think either of these books tell us anything that we don't know. There is a voice inside that tells us we're moving too quickly, that life is being lived too fast. I think God is calling us to slow down and savor the wonderful life that we've been given. Have you ever thought about how quickly God works? That question was the impetus for this blog entry. I ran across this article that measures the speed of God at 3 miles an hour.
None of these authors mention a call from God to do things quickly. I am reminded that love is slow. Love takes time to sprout, bloom, and grow. Moreover, love is gentle. Why all this talk of love? Because God is love and God commands us to love. A life of love is one that dwells in the moment and enjoys all that God gives us each and every second that we are alive.
I know I've written on this subject before, but I also know that we are so good at least I know I am. I need to hear things over and over before they sink in, especially when those things run contrary to the culture that surrounds me.

Michael, thanks for scolding me and causing me to remember that, as Leah says, we are human beings, not human doings.

Shalom, David


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