a five minute challenge

Life moves quickly.

The pace of things in our contemporary world is astounding. Within seconds of an event, millions find out about it on Twitter. Within moments of an idea, friends or co-workers around the world receive an email. Years and months seem like passe measures of time in a world where everything is instant, always on, and continually connected.

Give me seven minutes of your precious time–two minutes to read and five minutes to practice something. I think you’ll be amazed.

Our challenge–slow down. Just for a few minutes.

Part of simple living is slowing down. Slowing down in order to be aware of what is going on around us. Slowing down in order to enjoy the little things in life that bring joy on a minute-by-minute basis. Slowing down to focus on what is important in the midst of the noise and busyness of life.

Part of the Christian life, at least in today’s society, involves slowing down. Slowing down to be aware of the needs around us we might otherwise miss. Slowing down to give thanks for the simple blessings we’re given each day. Slowing down to be deliberately led by Christ instead of blinding following only our to-do lists or calendars.

As simple as is the idea of slowing down, it is also revolutionary and counter-cultural.

Do it anyway.

Specifically, sometime today, take five minutes and do this:

  • put down your phone (you’ll live, I promise)
  • go outside
  • walk, slowly
  • still the noise in your head
  • breathe deeply
  • look
  • listen
  • feel
  • smell
  • relax
  • enjoy

It doesn’t matter if you live and work in the country or in the city. Get outside and slow down for a few minutes. Autumn is upon us most places in the States…look around and see the reds, yellows, and oranges. Listen to the birds sing or the dogs bark. Feel the sunshine, which feels good this time of year. Notice the breeze blowing on your face. Smell the scents of Fall.

A few minutes outside is a good thing. It relieves stress. It gives your eyes a break from your computer screen or your books. It stretches your legs. It gives you time to focus. It lets you think about things that are really important instead of only things that are urgent.

Hopefully this little challenge will somehow become part of not just a routine but part of what it means for you to live simply, Christian.

So…how’d it go?

stumbling along: thoughts on worship

For the times when we have…
…read the liturgy extra quickly to get on with our day,
…used a shorter creed just because it was shorter,
…omitted lectionary readings because they were too long,
…skipped verses in our hymns because we didn’t want to sing that much,
Lord, have mercy.

For the times when we have…
…changed historic prayers for the sake of worldly political correctness,
…edited the creeds instead of taking the time to explain them,
…littered our sermons with jokes for a quick laugh and personal approval,
…caved to the false god of relevance at the expense of faithfulness,
Lord, have mercy.

O Lord, “we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror,” and we stumble.

Our worship looks less like the communion of the saints than it does children at daycare.

We are selfish about our preferences,
impatient when you have called us to be still,
immature when you have exhorted us to maturity,
concerned more about ourselves than you or others.

As a loving Father, have mercy on your children until we “see everything with perfect clarity.”

materialism and mission

Materialism is all but killing the mission of the church. The churchlacks resources for mission, not because things are tight, but becauseChristians spend money in much the same way as any old atheist. Thelifestyles of most Christians are no different from non-Christians inthe pursuit of more. The only difference is that in the church we arethe hypocrites because we condemn materialism while wallowing in it upto our armpits, justifying our way of life by pointing our fingers atthe person who has more than we do. The materialists are always thosewho make more money and have more expensive things than we do. Thus we can make our prophetic pronouncements directed at someone else andcontinue to live as if nothing has changed…

Read the rest here On Living Heretically: Some Wisdom for the Church

blogging reinvented

Just over a year ago I dreamed up and launched “simply, Christian” as an outlet to write about living the simple Christian life—a mashup of simple/minimalist thought and a Christ-centered life.

I wanted to change the world.

I wrote steadily for a while but then, like so any others, I tapered off.  At some point, I pretty much just stopped, jumped over to Tumblr, and started reblogging cool stuff that other people wrote.  Why?  Ironically, I was too busy.

Pretty hypocritical for a blog focused on simplicity, no?  I thought so, too.

Maybe it was hypocrisy.

Maybe it was just a false start.

Maybe I wasn’t committed enough.

Maybe my scope was too big.

Maybe I was just scared.

I’m not sure exactly why I failed, but that’s okay.  The fact is, I still want to change the world.

So, how exactly am I planning to go about this?  After tons of off-line brainstorming, doodling, rambling, and filling up pages of my trusty ecosystem notebook, I think I’ve crafted a model, a vision, a plan both for life and for blogging.  It’s a simple approach…

be. share. encourage.

Expanded just a little: be the change…share the change…encourage the change

Will this ‘succeed’ in the eyes of the world?  I dunno.  I don’t care.
Will this succeed in glorifying God, sharing in the work of Christ, and building a community that encourages others to do the same?  I hope so.

Will you join me?

live simply…simply live