Saturday, November 01, 2008

Insistent Immediacy

The term is not mine. My brother used it as we talked today. It's the chief culprit in the erosion of personal prayer and quiet time. It ruins stillness and calm. It's the screen of CNN and FOX News, banners top and bottom, background moving and deep bass tones thumping about something "breaking" right now that you need to know about, new fears to be concerned about, new threat levels somewhere, storms surging and winds howling. Hurry! Hurry! Don't change that channel!
It's the red number at the bottom of the screen indicating waiting emails or the red light on the phone indicating voice-mails left that need answering. It's the post-it notes and pink slips of people who need you to call them. When you take "insistent immediacy" and put it into a room of pastors, whom Eugene Peterson called "quiverring masses of availability" you end up with always tired, low-grade grumpy, never-done, restless pastors. Who wants that? The late John Nilson, former pastor of 1st Covenant Seattle asked me, when as a seminary student I showed him how full my appointment book was, "who wrote all that in there?"
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4


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