Friday, July 17, 2015
I don't know about you, but I find myself wondering what ever happened to summer. Not on the question of weather or climate. Here in New York we have had both very warm days and some a bit cooler this summer. No, I mean in the sense of the human feel of the time.
Back in the day, and still in popular parlance at least, summer was the legitimate time to kick back and relax. I grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts where General Electric at that point was the major employer. That giant managed to shut down everything and everyone for a period of time each summer: "Everybody! Go home. Hug your kids. Get re-acquainted with your spouse. Chill." That in effect (in today's speech more or less) was GE's message to its employees.
It seems different today. Here we have been, if anything, more occupied and pre-occupied between the two academic years. And all around us, people lying on beaches, supposedly on vacation, are checking (and answering) their email, taking texts from their boss (or sending them if they are the boss), and generally bringing the office and the job with them on vacation.
You might instead, if you are a church-goer or church-interested, or a person in ministry, instead bring on vacation this book, published in 2014, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus, by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison. Read more: http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=4114#ixzz3g9iwVbqD
There is a website as well, www.slowchurch.com, with a wonderful benediction any of us could benefit by praying. Here's a bit of the authors' shared wisdom:
"Unless churches today can recover a sense of parish responsibility, of belonging to people and place, we will continue to propagate the disembodied Christianity – and its accompanying racial, social and economic injustices..."
In a nutshell the message is: slow down, and stay put.
Maybe it is time for a very slow revolution.
This afternoon I begin vacation. I will be back on Monday, August 3rd. In the meantime, you won't hear from me. I wish you summer peace!
John P. McGinty+
Canon for Formation | Diocese of Long Island