Not an exclamation, just a concept. And perhaps an opportunity to muse for just a moment.
It's been almost a year and a half since I started this blog. In a way, it was in partial response to the perception of inefficiency. While the conversation out of which this grew was a bit "tongue in cheek" at the time, as is often the case, there was also an element of truth in it. Here is a quote from the original post:
This blog arises out of conversation with my colleagues. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, as a way to reduce conversation with my colleagues. Maybe , on a more thoughtful level, as a reflection of the nature of what conversation in our culture has often become.
In response to some thoughts I was sharing, that the rest of them clearly did not think was contributing to an efficient use of our time, someone suggested that maybe what I needed to do was start a blog. It became clear that this was not merely a rhetorical statement, when one of them carried through on their offer to set it up for me, e-mailing the links and access information just a few days later, having thoughtfully selected the title "ken's diatribe" as the name of the blog. I got the hint. (The original blog was posted April 21, 2008)
I wonder how often and to what extent we offer sacrifices at the altar of efficiency? The machinery of the kingdom of God industry getting its necessary maintenance, and the less pressing issues of what all of this means, and probing of where God is at work in the process, or just sitting quietly in God's presence long enough to get a clue about about it . . . or just being part of the sometimes cumbersome journey of sorting that out . . . too often is left to other times, and "as time allows."
Fortunately, despite the appearance of this blog, there actually have been many times where my colleagues and I have spent significant time exploring the meaning of a text, or talking about the implications of what is happening in the lives of people we touch, and what that means for how we minister to them. But still, too often, we still seem to be haunted by the unspoken, probably unconscious assumption that this is more luxury than necessity. These are things we can get back to as time allows, but right now we need to . . .
Shane Hipps, in his book, Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith, in some rather profound and provocative ways, discusses (among other things - all of which are well worth commenting on and exploring) how efficiency and intimacy are concepts that have a challenging time existing along side of each other. This brought to mind an insight shared by a former chaplain of the Senate with a friend of mine, as he summed up the essence of his job as:
"Being with people with no other agenda except to respond to the needs the Holy Spirit makes known."
That is worth pausing and contemplating awhile. As I did that, what came to mind was this quote from Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline,"
The Church Fathers spoke of otium sanctum, "Holy Leisure." It refers to a sense of balance in the life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves. With our tendency to define people in terms of what they produce, we would do well to cultivate "holy leisure.". . with a determination that is ruthless to our date books. (pg 27).
As I look back over the last year and a half or so that, so far, as constituted the life of this blog, I'm not sure it has turned out to contribute to the practice of the art of holy leisure as much as I wish it might have (few technological innovations do). Perhaps I have not lived nearly as ruthlessly with my date book as I might have. But it has at least provided an opportunity to collect a few scattered thoughts from time to time, write them down, and thus at least preserve them from drifting away into that place where so many things go that I wish I had not completely lost track of.
But whether or not this blog always (or even efficiently) provides a vehicle for this to happen, I still am drawn toward, and am seeking to live in response to, the nudging of the Spirit to live more consciously and intentionally in a place of Holy Leisure . . . a life that is characterized by an unhurried sense of awareness and responsiveness . . . A way of life in which the agenda for which I was created is not lost track of in the midst of the agendas I create . . .
I've got a way to go, but I am looking forward to the journey.