Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Slow Down!

Watch this video of a recent TED presentation by Carl Honore, author of In Praise of Slowness.

He says that it is time for us to get in touch with our "inner tortoise." We need to rebel against the "roadrunner culture." And he is not alone. There is an International Slow Movement which started in Italy. Its two main branches are Slow Food and Slow Cities. There is also an emphasis on slow sex.

Adults are not the only ones suffering from this frenetic pace. Our children are also overwhelmed with organized activities and homework.

And so this movement is trying to bring some peace and sanity to modern life.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed."

Steven Wright joked, "I think God is going to come down and pull civilization over for speeding."

But for Christians, the pace of life is about more than productivity or even happiness. It is a spiritual issue. The slow movement was started several thousand years ago by God himself.

The purpose of the Sabbath was to allow, even to force, people to slow down.

God knew Parkinson's Law (Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.) long before people studied such things. That is one reason that he did not allow any work to be done on the Sabbath. (Not even servants or animals could work.) The Sabbath was also a constant reminder that the people depended upon God for their security and prosperity.

I am not an advocate of returning to Sabbatarianism. But I do think that we have a serious problem with stress and busyness.

One antidote to busyness is solitude:

Solitude well practiced will break the power of busyness, haste, isolation, and loneliness. You will see that the world is not on your shoulders after all. You will find yourself, and God will find you in new ways. Joy and peace will begin to bubble up within you and arrive from things and events around you.

Dallas Willard, The Great Omission, p. 36

We need to realize that a chaotic life is not only bad for our physical, emotional and spiritual health. But it is also an expression of distrust of God. This is part of what Jesus was talking about when he said to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

So what do you think? How serious is this problem? What are some disciplines you use for slowing down?


"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be."


Steve Sensenig said...

Like you, I don't advocate Sabbatarianism, but I am making a strong effort to get back to resting on the weekends. It's so easy to keep finding stuff to do, places to go, etc. But I definitely recognize the value of rest, and why God ordained it in the first place.

Good article, Rod!

Pastor Rod said...


Thanks for your comments. I think one of the problems with Sabbatarianism is that it makes the mistake of the Pharisees. It turns what was intended as a privilege into a burden.


Steve Sensenig said...

It turns what was intended as a privilege into a burden.

That's it, exactly. Never thought of it in those terms, but you have just described legalism of all sorts in a very good way.

Steve Sensenig said...

"described...in a very good way" meaning it was a good way to describe it. Not that you put it in a positive light!! ;)

Pastor Rod said...


I've been helped a great deal by Dallas Willard in this area.


jeff franczak said...

I've also been thinking about and working out the practicalities of reprioritizing and slowing down.

This past Sunday I posted an article called Relax on my blog.

I'm encouraged to know there are others seriously thinking about this and demonstrating that there is a better way.

That video was helpful; in fact, I think I may go back and listen to it again tomorrow because it's getting late.

Pastor Rod said...


The way disciplines such as the Sabbath are implemented is very important. If they are done legalistically, they add to the pressure instead of alleviating it.

This also requires us to rethink what "success" looks like.