December 7, 2016
The slow movement intrigues me lately. Who would have predicted it a few decades ago?
We love speed. We love “git ‘er done”. We crave efficiency and keeping granular records of timing and accomplishments.
But what are we losing in all this efficiency and rush?
Ponder the words Jesus said about Himself: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Most Christ followers focus on Him being the truth. That’s not a failing. But this is not all He said.
Have you considered that he is also “the Way”? Have you taken time (slowed down at all?) to think about what that might mean. Have you reflected on how He lived? Can you think of any description of Him being in a hurry?
No? Then why do we think it’s so important?
I found this quote recently, written by Carl Honoré, from In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed. Have a look:
“Fast and slow”, writes Honoré, are not just rates of change. “They are shorthand for ways of being, or philosophies of life. Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections—with people, culture, work, food, everything.”
What do you think? Has he overstated it?
I found this quote in another book, Slow Church, by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison. (As an aside, it would be fascinating to learn how long it took them to write this book, in a time when a book can be drafted, finished, and published in a matter of days. I hope the answer would not be ironic.)
Referring to Honoré, here’s what Slow Church had to say:
“Plug-and-play ministries, target marketing, celebrity pastors, tightly scripted worship performances, corporate branding, the substitution of nonhuman technology for human work, church growth formulas that can be applied without deference to local context, and programs upon programs upon programs—these entice us with promises of miraculous results in just a few easy steps.”
I so get it.
I am ashamed to admit how often I have gone down that path of diminishing returns. How many conferences have I salivated over and feasted upon, only to go back home and have my attempts at duplicating what I saw fall to dust in a few months?
I became weary of programs moons ago, but it’s an entrenched practice that’s hard to change. Relationships and people, connection and bearing one another’s burdens are so many levels better. (I am not saying these two things are mutually exclusive. But it’s easy to depend on a range of programs to “get ‘er done” and imperceptibly slide into maintenance and cruise control modes. Get the formula tweaked to smoothness and near-perfection, and watch the results flow.)
While I appreciate ways to save time as much as you do, I do not want a shorthand way of living. I want to have time for you – time for the Almighty. If there are routine tasks that can be done more quickly and as good or better, that gets my vote. Why deliberately do a routine the harder way?
But when it comes to hearts and relationships, forget this noise. And I mean noise. Heart change and growth cannot be addressed by programmatic means. It takes mutual access, with willingness to give ourselves and to receive exhortation and encouragement.
What’s your philosophy of life?
The Cult of Speed and Efficiency? Or is it receptive, reflective, and oriented to connection?
Study the Way of Jesus. You might see things you never saw before.