Thursday, 11 November 2010

Redemptive Time Wasting

An excellent reflection on redemptive time wasting by Kelvin, Bishop of Dunedin (where I was still Presbyterian (but drifting), Jude and I met and Kate was born):
I'm aware of the compelling dictates of the stuff that MUST be done, but also increasingly aware of the need to be the sort of pastor described by Eugene H Peterson in his wonderful quaternity of books on pastoral ministry (The Contemplative Pastor, Working the Angles, Under the Unpredictable Plant, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work) : that is, unbusy, subversive and apocalyptic. 
I read another gem from St Eugene in Leadership magazine (a 1998 issue, I think):
A student was telling me he saw a video on Michael Jordan. He said, “Michael Jordan looks so lazy. He looks like he’s not doing anything. Then suddenly, he’s through three people, and he’s slam-dunking the ball.” 
As a pastor, how do you slip through the opposition and make your point? You do it by being lazy—or what looks like being lazy—sitting in your study for half a day reading a book that doesn’t have anything to do with your sermon. 
My first spiritual director, the formidable Sister Una Conran of Calgary's FCJ Centre, called it "mooching." I was to forget my lists and "mooch" in the LORD's presence.

Bishop Kelvin's thoughts also remind me of something I read in Juan Carlos Ortiz's book, Disciple (Creation House: 1975) years ago. Ortiz had built a church from 185 to 600, and was feeling pretty good about himself, when he felt the LORD telling him what he had built was a “business” rather than a church. “You are not growing, you think you are because you’ve gone from 200 to 600. But you’re not growing—you’re just getting fat.” (p85)

The LORD in His mercy impressed a ministry maxim on me not long after I was ordained. Unless the LORD builds the house, I strive and labour, go to bed late and get up early, in vain (Ps 127). If my ministry models workaholism to my people who are already living at a frantic pace, I do not shepherd well.

Thank you, Bishop Kelvin. All here: Available Light: Wasting Time