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A Lent sermon
11-04-2010, 04:49 PM,
An interesting sermon.

Thinking about it set me to wondering about the 'frenetic pace' of modern life as our excuse for being so busy. The sermon elided this with the desire for holidays and consumer goods, as though there were a connection; there may be, but there is not necessarily one. There is, actually, as faster pace, which even if one drives and old car, wears old clothees and never goes on holidays, one still notices.

It may be that in the private sector there is a direct connection between effort, hours and money, but it is less so, if at all, in the public sector; and yet there one is busier than ever; why?

In part the explanation is a technological one. When I first became head of my department nearly a decade ago, most of my correspondence came by mail. One had time to open it, reflect on it, draf a response and dictate an answer via one's secretary; one could take even a couple days on this process. Now the wretched e mails ping stuff at one coninuously, expecting an instant response, which, of course, one coposes oneself. I' not sure anyone gains fro this new process - but one's own 'business' increases twenty-fold.

Yes, no doubt in a monastery one can move slowly; no one's going to demand a repsonse to an e mail, and there is probably not a latest directive from the authorities which demands instant attention and dissemination. I suspect we know what we're missing, but can't quite see how we are to have it in our secular lives.

We see it everywhere. When Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister he would have time to read Trollope; now our politicians scarce have time for the lower case version!

As in our other conversation in this area, are we not seeing a monastic ideal set against a secular falling away from it? If we are, is this actually helpful? Many of us just cannot stand there and be still at work, not because we don't want to but because if we did we should be deficient in doing our duties.

Can we not sacralise our work by recalling that what we do we do for Him?
It is beginning to seem as though we have a deficient theology of very way life and work. We take the monastic minority as the ideal for the secular majority, and if we do, we set unrealistic pictures before ourselves. Id our devotion to Christ really antithetical to good works? Or do I do good works because when I help to feed the hungry and clothe the poor I do it for the Lord Himself? Are we not in danger of a false dichotomy here?
Quote:even devotion to good works is idolatry if it interferes with our devotion to Christ, whose own life seemed to strike a balance between mission and reflection, between work and rest??
We are not the Son of God, and our lives, whilst consecrated to Him, nonethless have in them demands He did not face.

There is a danger in this line of thinking. We denigrate what most of us do most days and place in its stead a monastic ideal which most of us will never be in a position to achieve. Surely we need a theology of work which recognises that even in the faster pace imposed by the relentless technology, we can consecrate what we do to Him? When I take the trouble to really read and thoroughly mark an essay, rather than yield to the temptation to give it a cursory read and an equally cursory mark, I remind myself that in so doing only God sees the difference, and hope He will forgive mw for taking so long doing this that I have less time to do something more overtly religious Smile

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Messages In This Thread
[] - John Charmley - 11-04-2010, 04:49 PM
[] - Simon - 11-04-2010, 08:08 PM
[] - John Charmley - 12-04-2010, 05:03 PM

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