Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Slowin' Down

I added the following post to a little blog I created for the student leaders I work with. Have fun and happy summer.

The ideas of rest, of slowing down, of timelessness.

They aren’t new thoughts. Actually, just about everyone I talk to here in Upland comments on them. The nice-ness of summer. How it slows down and there really is time to just be. A few nights ago, Jorjette and I grabbed a couple books, walked over to those criminally underused tables between the Union and Metcalf, and read with a quiet and soft breeze surrounding us. The ability to get lost in a book, in the beauty of my new wife, in the evening cool of mid-June Indiana – not bad.

This didn’t make the reading list (I’m not sure why…) but Sheldon Vanauken (1980), in his book, A Severe Mercy, talks about how he and his wife “…longed for unpressured time – time-free existence – for thus we should find joy” (p. 207). Our enjoyment of timeless moments suggests that we may not always be “purely temporal creatures” (p. 203). So when I have moments like I described in the last paragraph, I like to think that I’m getting just a little taste of eternity.

Eugene Peterson, in his devotional-ish book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction(2000, another book not on the list… I promise I’m reading the reader, too) challenges the reader (me) to continue following Christ, even when there’s not a whole lot of excitement or hoopla involved. We are called to be disciples and pilgrims, “apprenticed to our master” and “going to God,” respectfully.

I like to think that the time-less moments that keep popping up this summer (which hint at something of the eternal) set me up nicely to continue in my feeble attempts to be a disciple and a pilgrim. I think, in a way, these two thoughts are connected.

I thank God for times like these and, while time-less moments and my roles of disciple and pilgrim do not end with the accompanying end of summer, it’s just a little easier to recognize when those moments happen and it’s just a little easier to assess how I’m doing in my various roles. Here’s to another month and a half of living slowly.


Peterson, E. H. (2000). A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Vanauken, S. (1980). A Severe Mercy. New York, NY: HarperOne.


Anonymous said...

I am so happy about those two books you are reading/have read. Both are dear to me and are a part of creating a sense of timelessness that exists somewhere in the stories that have entered my consciousness.

Josiah said...

Yes, Severe Mercy was quite good. And I'm excited to read the rest of Long Obedience.
Jorje and I are reading the two books as our own little devotional/bookclub/etc. It's great.