I need to hurry up and slow down. Let me explain so you can laugh and thank God that you're not like me. This afternoon I spent a couple hours catching up on my to-do list. It was not an exercise in efficiency. Some items were so old I'd forgotten what I was supposed to actually do. For example: "Call Fred" appeared on my list. The problem is, I don't know which Fred I'm supposed to call or what I should say when I get one of the Freds I know on the phone. Claiming ignorance, I scratched it off the list. That was easy.
Then things got bizarre in a way that's only possible if you're a pastor and a human at the same time. On Monday Suzanne asked for some language to describe a series of upcoming events our church will be hosting. She needed this information to complete a web-page. The events lead with the title "Slow Down Series." Catchy isn't it? Knowing Suzanne needed this from me two days ago, I rushed to complete it today. This is what I wrote:
Will there be iPhones in heaven? When it’s all set right and the world returns to it’s native state will we be on call? Will we spin in ten directions chasing our to-do list like a dog after it’s own tail?
It’s not a coincidence that Jesus described the good life with small, organic, animate examples. Mustard seeds, fig trees, and children develop at a pace that frustrates our contemporary expectations; their growth cannot be hurried without causing damage or altering their fundamental nature. Yet still, we value efficiency, speed, and production at the expense of the good life.
To slow down and live is not only possible, it is essential. We will not encounter God or each other in a manner that invokes growth otherwise. It is an elixir to the common cold condition of busyness that afflicts our soul and wears down our body.
Slow down with Downtown Church through a series of gathering events where time is suspended to make room for life. We will eat, reflect, learn, serve, and play slowly. These gatherings cannot offer quick fixes, easy answers, or cheap pleasures. They will move too slowly to satisfy those urges. Come and join us if you can stand a slow thing, if you need to step away to a lost world of simple joys.
The irony of me writing an invitation to slow down in a total rush cause it was two days late, cause the week ran away from me so quick I forgot who Fred was, is ineffable. Who gave pastors the authority to not practice what we preach? I laughed about it as I sped home to see my son before he fell asleep at 7:00 and commenced his regular 12.5 hour uninterrupted slumber. Is this what Jesus meant when he said "come to me as little children?" There might be bears in heaven if not iPhones.
My son opens kitchen drawers each time as if it was the first, he sings silly songs with enough ebullience for Broadway, and he jumps up and down yelling my name when I rush in at the end of the day. He sleeps hard, plays harder, and hugs like he means it. He forgives my weaknesses instantly and won't allow me to sulk in self pity. He knows nothing but grace and love. He doesn't know how to hold a grudge because his father missed dinner to write about slowing down. He has not yet learned how to say hypocrite. Is it a coincidence that Jesus described the good life with small, organic, animate examples?