This morning I attended a ministerium meeting for Lutheran pastors from the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Area Synods. After worship, our presenter, Bishop Margaret G. Payne of the New England Synod, spoke on her passion for a Slow Lent Movement.
Inspired by the Slow Food movement which calls us to step away from fast food and re-learn the values of thoughtful shopping, local foods, time spent in preparation and even more time spent in sharing food slowly with family and friends. The Slow Lent Movement has similar goal. Some of her questions are
- How does our culture’s addiction to hurry stand in the way of spiritual growth?
- Do we have too much ‘fast worship?’
- How could this Lenten season provide an antidote to the weariness of too much to do at the same time that it offers strategies for recovery?
She spoke on how pastors have bought into the seduction of our culture’s three A’s: Accomplishment, Adrenalin, and Affirmation. As pastors we think our worth is based on how much we accomplish in our congregations and we enjoy the adrenalin rush that comes from having much to do and being needed by many people. And we relish the public affirmation that often comes from having our hands in many programs and ministries. I found myself nodding my head several time, recognizing my own self-delusions being exposed by her words.
But I don’t think her words are limited to pastors. In spite our professed trust in God’s grace, so many of us who are Christians still seek our self-worth based on our accomplishments. We rush about trying to fulfill the many “shoulds” we carry inside our heads. We seek public affirmation even as we feign humility. We have bought into the prevailing culture without seeing our need for a new way of life.
How have you been seduced by the Three A’s: Accomplishment, Adrenalin and Affirmation?
Tomorrow, I will post on Bishop Payne’s Five Slow Disciplines for Lent.