Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Praise of Slowness (and Being the Message You Bring to the World)

Two thoughts immediately struck me as I listened to Carl Honore, author of In Praise of Slowness, speak in the video below. The first was how happy I am to see that the general awareness is rising in us all about the life-sucking effects of a faster-is-better lifestyle, as is the desire to find realistic ways to pull back the throttle on our pace, at least at certain times of our week, and drink in life in a richer, more savory way--whether that be through a meal shared with family, an evening without media, or an unhurried bedtime story well told.

The second thought was about how much stronger and more impactful Honore's message could have been if he had intentionally embodied the message he brought from the stage. He spoke quickly throughout the 20-minute talk; his energy was consistently tense and racing. His delivery told a different story than the story of his words. This is more a point on leadership skill than on the content of the talk (which was, in itself, rich and satisfying). But to me it also speaks metaphorically of a common failing of many in leadership in the church. We get so busy, so all-consumed, with our passion to promote the abundant life available to the world through Christ, that we lose our connection to that very life within ourselves. We aren't living--that is, vividly incarnating--the life of Christ that we say that we have. Our lives speak a different message than our words--and speak it so loudly that the world can't hear what we're saying.

Not to say that Honore's message didn't sink in for me--it did. But not because of Honore's example, which was of something very other than what he was speaking about. Rather, his message resonated with me because I have had other experiences that support and reinforce it. I have reason to believe, quite apart from Honore, that engaging in a practice of slowness increases the richness of life, and also opens wide the door to the life of Christ within us--the life without which we really have nothing of unique value to offer anyone in the world, regardless of how good and smart our message may sound.

It's one thing to bring a message of life to others. Certainly that has some merit. But the real power lies with those who are the message.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had not heard of the "Slow Movement" before seeing this TED video. How encouraging! I want to see this become a cultural reality and norm in the US and not just hear about it in Europe. All things are possible!