- Keeping the Focus
- Has anyone already started working on a practice? If you have, can you share what that is, and specifically, how you practice it? (one or two people)
B. THE PRACTICE OF SLOWING DOWN
QUOTATIONS TO DISCUSS
“Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried.” Henry David Thoreau
“The one who hurries delays the things of God.” Vincent de Paul
“When the Spirit of God descends, patience is His inseparable companion.” Tertullian (cf. Galatians 5:22, 23 “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . .”)
“God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which he must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.” A. W. Tozer
“He who believes will not be in haste.” Isaiah 28:16 RSV
“I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind if I have to make a decision. This is usually the wrong thing. I have to wait and assess, looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time.” Pope Francis
“Jesus walked a lot. . . . This gave him time to see things. If he had been moving more quickly–even to reach more people–these things might have become a blur to him. Because he was moving slowly, they came into focus for him, just as he came into focus for them. . . . While many of his present-day admirers pay close attention to what he said and did, they pay less attention to the pace at which he did it.” Barbara Brown Taylor
“Jesus moved slowly, not striving or rushing. He patiently waited through his adolescent and young adult years to reveal himself as the Messiah. Even then, he did not rush to be recognized. He waited patiently for his Father’s timing during his short ministry. Why is it then that we hate ‘slow’ when God appears to delight in it?” Peter Scazzero
“When we’re in full possession of our powers–our education complete, our careers in full swing, people admiring us and prodding us onward–it’s hard not to imagine that we’re at the beginning, center, and end of the world, or at least of that part of the world in which we’re placed. At these moments we need . . . to quit whatever we’re doing and sit down. . . . When we sit down, the dust raised by our furious activity settles. . . . We become aware of the real world. God’s world. And what we see leaves us breathless: it’s so much larger, so much more full of energy and action than our ego-fueled action, so much clearer and saner than the plans that we had projected.” Eugene Peterson
*Which quote really affected you (convicted, provoked, challenged, etc.)?
*Can you describe what you feel (body and soul) when you’re rushing?
*To put it mildly, everyone wanted something from Jesus–yet Jesus never seemed hurried or frenzied. Do you really need to hurry?
*Is it hard for you to relax? Do you “hate slow?” What do your answers say about you?
Moving From Head to Heart,
Moving From Words to Deeds,
Moving from Self-love to Love of God and Others
After this discussion, is there something specific, measurable, and realistic that you are going to practice in order to develop slowing down as a new skill?
How does the practice, as you understand it, make you more able to be a person who loves well (compassion and justice)?
For further reading: Wisdom From the Margins*: January 8, March 6, 11, 17, 19
*This is the book we will use for this discussion.
For further consideration (either before or after the discussion):
Are you wary of decisions made hastily? . . . of the “first decision?” What does that look like in your actual experience?
Do you factor in the realization that meeting goals will often take much longer than you expected?
Do you keep busy to outrun that internal voice that shames you with charges that you’re not good enough? Are you good enough?
If this discussion seems like something you might be interested in, please contact me for more details. We meet on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm EST. Also, if you’re in a completely different time zone and you’re interested, please let me know, since a second gathering time, designed for people in the Eastern hemisphere may be possible. (Bill, at firstname.lastname@example.org)