Slow down

Lake

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.

– Dallas Willard

In the spiritual life God chooses to try our patience first of all by His slowness. He is slow: we are swift and precipitate. It is because we are but for a time, and He has been for eternity. …

There is something greatly overawing in the extreme slowness of God. Let it overshadow our souls, but let it not disquiet them. We must wait for God, long, meekly, in the wind and wet, in the thunder and the lightning, in the cold and the dark.

Wait, and He will come. He never comes to those who do not wait. He does not go their road.

When He comes, go with Him, but go slowly, fall a little behind; when He quickens His pace, be sure of it, before you quicken yours. But when He slackens, slacken at once: and do not be slow only, but silent, very silent, for He is God.

– Frederick Faber

Going slow is difficult for me. Especially since I’ve learned what it means to put my faith into action, and I just want to do it. Especially in a church that’s committed to the work of justice and the renewal of our city, and there’s so much to do. Especially in a city where your value is often based on your activity.

But in these contexts, going slow, even stopping, and learning to listen are particularly important. Because it’d be real easy to think when you’re busy and active that it’s what you do  that matters, rather than who you are and who you are becoming.

Who you are and who you are becoming are far more important than what you do.

So …

  • Remember to sabbath.
  • Build your life on a foundation of love and devotion for God.
  • Spend time tending to your soul by spending time with God — quality time.
  • Make time for things that give you life — whether that’s with friends or on your own (or both).
  • Build in habits of rest and silence and solitude and prayer.

William Wilberforce, the great anti-slavery activist and parliamentarian — I’m guessing he was probably fairly busy — said,

Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.

Doing good is good. Doing good is important. But doing good won’t last long if we’re disconnected from God because we’ll constantly feel stretched thin, worn out, and burned out. We weren’t made just to do good. We were made to live with Godto do life with God (and part of that involves doing good).

And doing life with God means we have to move at God’s pace — James Houston wrote, “The speed of godliness is slow.” So slow down a little; don’t miss what God’s doing.

[Both quotes taken from John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You.]

A long overdue update

Apologies for the gap in updates (posting other people’s words doesn’t count!). My parents used to email me when I hadn’t blogged in a few weeks to see if I was okay, because it was an indicator that there was a lot going on! And life has been very full lately, for a number of reasons; so here are some highlights from the last month and a half:

LST ChapelUK: For the last week, I’ve been back in London. I came for my old college roommate Kaz’s wedding, and have been trying to get some rest as well as catching up with old friends. Last Tuesday, I got to speak in chapel at my alma mater, London School of Theology. (Pic courtesy of @tomlcox)

EAST SIDE: We had a couple of great meetings–with a pastor and a school principal–before I left London about a place for the new community to meet regularly, so I’ll hopefully have some good news soon. We also did some prayer walking around the neighborhood recently that was extremely encouraging and reminded us that God’s already at work in our city–and we’re on the right track! More on this to come.

HEALTH: Some of you already know that I made a fun little trip to the emergency room the other week, with what I thought were breathing problems. Turns out, it was actually a heart thing, something called “premature ventricular contractions.” Two doctor friends have assured me that there’s no reason for concern, since I’m otherwise healthy; but I’ll be seeing my primary care physician and then (possibly) a cardiologist in the coming weeks to confirm it.

PRAYERS: Please keep praying: (1) for continued momentum on the East Side; (2) for all of the upcoming Easter festivities, as we remember the most momentous weekend in history; (3) for my health as I return to the States and get checked out.

Is redistribution of wealth good for your health?

Reframing GOOD Magazine’s article, “Inequality Makes Me Sick (Literally),” this interview with epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson is particularly interesting. Of particular note is his observation that it’s not those who have the most or the highest incomes who tend to be the happiest and healthiest, but those who have the most equality (or least inequality):

…we looked at life expectancy, mental illness, teen birthrates, violence, the percent of populations in prison, and drug use. They were all not just a little bit worse, but much worse, in more unequal countries. … Epidemiologists and people working in public health have been doing this work for some time, not only controlling for relative poverty, but for all the income levels within, for instance, an American state. So once you know the relationship between income and death rates, for example, you should be able to predict what a state’s death rate will be. Actually, though, that doesn’t produce a good prediction; what matters aren’t the incomes themselves but how unequal they are. If you’re a more unequal state, the same level of income produces a higher death rate.

Now, of course, my title for this blog is a little facetious–I’m not under any illusions that government intervention is the only way to deal with inequality. But the fact remains that it’s not how much we have that determines our health but what we do with what we have–and I would say, how we help and empower others with what we have–that determines our health. And our character.

Links of the Day, November 25

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

  • Eugene Cho blogs; warning: some disturbing images.

News

Green

Miscellaneous

Links of the Day, October 16

News

Miscellaneous