I am fascinated with human behavior and the psychology behind it. I love reading books that examine sociology and help to explain why we, as a culture, do what we do. This is partly why I am in the field of Practical Theology and not Philosophical, Biblical, Systematic, Historic or any other branch of theology.
I am interested in how faith is lived out in actual locations.
I am also interested in why I do what I do. Why do I make the decisions that I do? Why do I value what I value? Why do I spend my time the way that I do?
Two quick stories:
I used to be a big fan of ‘time’ theory and practice. I based much of my philosophy on books like “Unwinding the Clock” by Bodil Johnsson and “Margin” by Richard Swenson. When I was a Lead Pastor this was a major emphasis of my thought and practice. Then I went back to school for graduate work and became an Associate Pastor and almost all of this has either gone out the window or deteriorated to the point of being unsustainable.
This past week I had the opportunity to go up to the mountains where there was no TV, Internet or reliable cell coverage. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving break. It dawned on me after two days “maybe I am not spending time during the week in a way that brings out the best of me.” I decided to revisit some of my routines and renovate some of my ruts.
Saturday went well as I change the way I prep for Sunday.
Sunday went well as I tweaked the way I get ready for a full day of activities.
Monday went well as I disciplined myself to change the way I spend time in the office.
Then came this morning…
I was doing so well that I thought I would return to an old pattern I had gone away from: morning devotional reading. I pulled out an old daily reader that I have read and re-read so many times over the last 20 years but have not touched for the past 4. I was excited to sit down with an old friend and meditate again to some classic ideas. There was just one little problem – it stunk. The reading was stale and the thoughts were antiquated.
I had a good laugh after I got over my initial disappointment. This is why it is so hard to make changes! If your first run doesn’t meet immediate success, it can be really hard to muster enough energy to try again. This is especially true if you are making the change because of a perceived lack or deficit.
I feel like the person who does situps one day and then is disappointed when they look in the mirror and they are no thinner.
Anyway – I almost done with the semester and have great plans to get ready for the new year and some new patterns. I just thought I would throw out this reflection and share it with people I love exchanging ideas with. seasons greetings to one and all –Bo
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