Very little original blogging going on here, but I hope that will improve a little soon. It’s been busy – a little too busy if you ask me.
I’m also in the middle of summarizing a Tim Keller talk in which he touches on evangelicals and the emerging church. I listened to it on the way to Ithaca the other week and found it really helpful.
Meantime I leave you with some advice I need to follow more than I do:
In response to our frenetic world, in which we can speak instantly to anyone around the world but have very little to say, I would argue pastors should be inaccessible more often than not. Part of our problem is that we get agitated if the email bell doesn’t go off every 30 seconds. Over against this, the pastor needs to teach us, to embody patience, or even silence. If my pastor, for example, is always instantly emailing me back, when is she praying for me? When is she quietly sitting in God’s presence, waiting for a word for us for Sunday? When is she nourishing her own soul in a way unrelated to her service to us, but just because God is good?
Hmm, or this from Chris Erdman in his new book Countdown to Sunday, from a chapter called “Why You Must Not Work Too Hard.” Erdman writes of Gregory, abbot of St. Andrew’s Monastery in Rome, who in 590 CE was called to become the new pope, “the church’s chief pastor and preacher.” Gregory did not want the job and “undertook the burden of the dignity with a sick heart.” He would have preferred a life of contemplation and prayer. The world did not need or want “more harried preachers whose words were shallow.”
Often it happens that when a man undertakes the cares of government, his heart is distracted with a diversity of things, and as his mind is divided among many interests and becomes confused, he finds he is unfitted for any of them. This is why a certain wise man gives a cautious warning, saying: “My son, meddle not with many matters.” (Ecclesiasticus 11:10).
So, preacher, go ahead, “meddle not with many matters.” Learn to flip the “off” switch. Take time to think, doodle, play. If you don’t, your congregation will lack the kind of witness who can help free it from the gridlock of a way of life that values the excessively active, the spiritually shallow. But if you do, you’ll be the kind of witness the church and this world most need, and you’ll help preach us all toward the freedom we were meant to enjoy.