Drop by my house sometime on a morning when we’re trying to get all five members of our family out the door. A sampling of some of the phrases you might hear:
“Let’s go!” “Hurry up!” “I already told you to put your shoes on!” “We’re out the door in three minutes!” “We’re gonna be late!” “I don’t care, move faster!” “How do you not have your shoes on already??”
On second thought, please don’t drop by -- that could be embarrassing. In the days of constant activity and never-ending obligations, our family knows how to hurry, or at least we’re trying our best to learn. Yours might be as well, and I’ve seen this in the teenagers I work with. Merely reflections of the culture around them, they’ve gotten good at staying busy. Homework, sports and other extracurriculars are every day occurrences. Those activities plus the pressures to stay connected to peers through social media are making for weary and over-committed teens. These are ‘good kids’ – involved in our church, well-grounded, not afraid to stand up for what is true and right. But they’re learning how to run the rat race that most of us have already become accustomed to.
So a while back we created something new on Sunday nights – Slow Club (name taken from a talk by one of my favorite authors). The only rule of Slow Club is
you do not talk about Slow Club you cannot be in a hurry. Oh, and no phones. We gather to eat, share life and pray in creative ways. In a world where Faster reigns supreme, we go slow. Like really slow. We sit quietly in silence, we listen to music, we pray for each other and those around us, we go on hikes, we color, we collage, we watch movies and discuss them. We’ve tried energetic games-with-a-spiritual-point before on Sunday nights, but the crowd usually fizzled out by the end of the year. Not Slow Club though – it’s almost as if those growing up in our culture are starved for something they didn’t even know was missing.
You couldn’t call it productive. We don’t really get anything done. But then again, maybe we do. It’s a formative time that informs the rest of the week. It’s not about checking off the “had some quiet time with God” box on our checklist; it’s about learning to be still in the midst of a hurried world. It’s about peace within so that no matter what happens around us we remain grounded in our true identity in Christ.
Chances are you’ve noticed it’s now the Christmas season. Squished in with hope and joy and peace are parties, shopping, obligations, family gatherings, kids’ programs, packing lists and more. And I know just what you need: you are hereby invited to join the Slow Club. Nah, you don’t need to add a Sunday night meeting to your schedule. But if you desire the peace God offers, you might not want to speed right past his outstretched hands.
Martin Luther once commented, 'I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.’ It’s ok to be busy during this season of life, but don’t let it overcome you. Realize that life will go on whether you run yourself ragged or not. To very-loosely paraphrase Jesus (am I allowed to do that?), What good is it to complete every item on your holiday task list and yet forfeit your own soul? This Christmas season, see if you can slow down instead of speeding up. Come join the Slow Club – you’ll be glad you did.