Tag Archives: Bishop Payne

Slow Lent Movement: Part Two

Slow down for Lent

Yesterday I introduced Bishop Payne’s concept of a Slow Lent.   Here are five slow spiritual disciplines that complement traditional Lenten disciplines.

1. Traditional: repentance 
    Slow: speak less, listen more.

In our hurried culture, we often are so quick to speak, to get our words out, that we rarely take the time to listen to what others say, especially those that we disagree with.  We rush to judgment when we need to listen and possibly to change the direction of our thinking, planning, and acting.

2. Traditional: forgiveness
   Slow: let go of one “should.”    

Many of us carry various kinds of “ought’s or should’s” that overload our schedule. We need to “forgive” ourselves.   For example, as a new pastor, I feel I should be involved in different local community activities.  One piece of wisdom I received recently is that a new pastor should not be involved in local community activities during the first year so that he or she can fully enter into the life of the congregation.   So I have given up that “should” even before Lent starts.

3. Traditional: catechesis (teaching)
    Slow: re-learn one basic of the faith

Rather than focusing on the newest spiritual discipline, simply re-focus on some basic spiritual discipline.  This year at Resurrection Lutheran, we will be re-learning the Lord’s Prayer and its meaning for prayer and life.

4. Traditional: fasting
    Slow: choose one way to ‘unplug’

For some Christians, Lent means giving something up so that one can better focus on God.  The usual items are chocolate, desert, alcohol, or meat.   Bishop Payne suggested that perhaps we “unplug” from the internet or turn off our smartphones or television.  We might not be able to do it 24/7, but we might choose to turn it off every evening or every Saturday.  Of course, the purpose is to open our time and our lives in a fresh way to God.

5. Traditional: almsgiving
     Slow: simplify

Certainly we need to be as gracious as our God and give to people in need.   Lent is a great time to practice such giving.  Yet our culture is so focused on the accumulation of things, perhaps we can shift our attention from accumulating to letting go.  My uncle Jerry lived for several years during his retirement in an RV.  Whenever he considered buying something, he had to consider what he would give away to make space for the new.  It made him think twice before buying.

Which discipline might help you slow down this Lent?

The Slow Lent Movement

Slow Lent Movement

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.