Monday, June 16, 2008

slowing down

Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed has an interesting post about a book advocating "slow spirituality". I think this British author, Ian Stackhouse is making an excellent point I need to hear.

I don't see myself as a hurried person, though the nature of my factory work at RBC Ministries sometimes demands that. But I have found myself simply trying to get as much done of this and that as possible, without sufficient thought and prayer as to the reality that I'm to be doing it all out of love for the Lord and as to the Lord, as well as out of love for others. And with the thought of savoring and enjoying it at least because I want to do it as to the Lord.

Slowing down for me is going to mean reading less Scripture. Many years of my Christian life I've been through Scripture at least two or more times a year, either by listening to it, or more recently by reading it. I've decided that I need to slow down, make it a reading - praying time, try to be consistent in keeping set times as a rule (but not as a binding law) which majors on drawing near to God, hearing his voice, and prayer.

For myself I find that I end up getting more done that is worthwhile and lasts when I slow down. There may be moments when we need to do something quickly. But in thinking about how Jesus lived his life on earth it seems like it was one thing at a time with always an openness to the Father and a life led by the Holy Spirit. Paul and Jesus' disciples seemed to learn from the Lord in regard to this. They were devoted to prayer and the ministry of the word of God, and I'm sure like their Lord, they spent time alone with God. And we need quality time with each other, as well, and that cannot be rushed. Being busy with our hands should be done in the same spirit.

So just starting this morning I broke my Scripture reading fast (actually it hasn't been a total fast, though relatively speaking it has) and it was wonderful not to be in a hurry as I was reading through the psalms and praying from them and for others and myself. As well as praying "the Lord's prayer".

What would you like to share with us about slowing down spiritually?

See A Time to be Quiet from Been Thinking About - Mart DeHaan


preacherman said...

Thanks for the wonderful post Ted.
It is my personal opinion based on the opinion of Paul that spirituality is a slow process. I don't believe that it happens over night or fast. Each of us grow at our own pace but growth is a must. I know that if my sons weren't growing the way they should be I would take them to the doctor and specialists to see what was wrong. The same thing goes with our growth in Christ. "The whole entire body grows and builds itself up as each part does its work." God help us to grow and glorify you in all we do. Amen!
Again thanks Ted for this wonderful post. I read the palms and Lord's pray this morning too. I read them slowly to let its powerful words seep into my mind and soul.

Anonymous said...

i am just wondering if i am old enough to call every one " honey " yet. since i have always had a hard time remembering people's names. i think that since i am 52 that i might be old enough to use the "honey" thing.

i am thinking about the question of slowing down spiritually. i really do not think that we have a choice. i think that God will grow us in His time. so even if we really try and go at it at a hurried pace, it still only gets done in God's timing. i agree though that the spiritual ways with human kind is done slowly in our eyes. we are slow learners and we take time to really get any little spiritual concept and be able to incorporate it into this broken life. i really think that the only real good that is done is by being aware of what is going on around us for the most part, and paying attention to what God is trying to say to us. we are very structured to time and money here on earth, and that ties us to the world in a way that can suck us in to depending on ourselves and the timing of the world. i find walking in the Spirit almost like walking in a dream state, almost being a little detatched from everything to allow God's thoughts and views of what i am seeing to filter in. in many ways that appers slow to those that do not do this. i could appear to have my head in the clouds at times when something is going on or when someone is talking, but, and in a way i do, i can have my heart and mind on how God wants me to see what is taking place or how to hear what is being said.

yes, i think that taking things in slowly and being alert to God is a good thing. our own agenda will seem less and less important.

Andrew said...


As I recall--correct me if I'm mistaken--you belong to the Evangelical Covenant Church, right? I've been trying to find out what they're really all about from their website, but they don't have a single doctrinal statement of real worth.

The reason I'm doing so is because if I move to Chicago, I'm trying to figure out what seminaries are viable options up there. I've read some good commentaries by professors at North Park Seminary (Linda Belleville, Mark Boda), which got me wondering about that school and the ECC.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen. Growth is slow. And like Charles Swindoll said in a title of one of his books, it's three steps forward, and two steps backward. But we must keep growing in the Lord.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Not yet, but I guess it depends on the person and their personality! It may seem natural and alright to some. :)

I don't really think I was thinking about growing in this post, but going. How we work and conduct ourselves- slowing down in that. Slowing down spiritually doesn't mean for me slowing down in seeking to grow, but just in slowing down as our manner of life which in its haste is contrary to spiritual growth.

Remember that though God is the one who makes us grow, yet we're also commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3). So we do have our responsibility, but I think it's a responsibility to "abide", simply "remain in the true vine" -Jesus. And from that our lives will grow and bear "much fruit." (John 15).

Your words remind me of Colossians 3: Since then we have been raised up with Christ, seek those things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your heart on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life in now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Etc.

Thanks, Nancy.

L.L. Barkat said...

It's true that even in our spiritual lives we can be careening. Gobbling. Gulping. What sweetness to slow down and just let God brush by with His rest.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Of course I love the Evangelical Covenant denomination. Scot McKnight and Klyne Snodgrass are two more good commentary writers who teach in this denomination's schools.

This denomination is Lutheran in its roots, but free church and a cousin of the Evangelical Free Church, which also has a seminary in the Chicago area- TEDS.

This is the statement I find on the Evangelical Covenant denomination website, and it's quite compatible for where I am theologically. This reminds me of the Christian and Missionary Alliance- A.W. Tozer, Ravi Zacharias- which has within it a variety of beliefs in the nonessentials. This can make for less of a coherent theology, though arguably I'd say often the theological lines drawn which divide true Christian churches, are not as clear from Scripture, as we make them out to be.

Based on what I gather from you, Andrew, you might do very well to look into TEDS first since the Evangelical Free Church tends towards a moderately Calvinist point of view, whereas the Evangelical Covenant Church may tend more towards a moderately Arminian perspective, though not all of them, I think.

I am a relative newcomer to this denomination, though it fits me well due to its strong stance in regard to Scripture being central in our lives as the word of God, and its works all over the world in preaching Christ and doing good works in difficult places, plus its emphasis of going "deeper in Christ (pietism of Philipp Jakob Spener- at the roots or influential at the roots of this denomination) and "further in mission".

I find a refreshing freedom of the Spirit and of community in the Spirit within this denomination. And a refusal to be tied up in either right wing or left wing political statements. This denomination is solidly committted to Scripture as the word of God, in fact "covenant" in their name came simply from the agreement to take all questions and everything back to the touchstone of the word of God- Scripture. And of course Luther is Luther. Flawed yet brilliant.

I think Andrew, you might fit better over at TEDS, but just my guess. Though I think you would do very well at either school, and either school would be more than eager to have you there! (Website of North Park Theological Seminary.)

Ted M. Gossard said...

True. And it seems so hard for me at times. Yet so refreshing other times. What gives, I wonder?

Mike Mangold said...

I like to think of spiritual growth like athletic training: sometimes you train hard; sometimes you compete; and sometimes you just rest and recover. Every exercise physiologist knows that growth takes place during R&R but would not occur without an antecedent workout. Good post...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good thought. So we need the workout prior to the rest. Yes.

Easy for me to work out to the nth degree and keep doing that and rather get burned out in the process. Then go to the other extreme and just veg out. But both needed. Reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3.

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

Mike Mangold said...

Ted: thanks for the nice welcome. I ALWAYS respect your well-thought-out comments on the Jesus Creed blog so I was glad to find your community.
The physical metaphor, I think, is more than just a play on words. The ancient Jews had a very organic vision of life and spirituality which we would do well to emulate.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike, Your more than welcome. It's great to have you, anytime you might come over here!

Thanks. I agree, even though I don't understand that as I should. But we can learn alot from the "very organic vision of life and spirituality" of the ancient Jews. I like how all of life is spiritual to them, that physcial rest included! Of course true for us in Jesus, as well.