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We are all aware of a sense of hurry in our culture. In the last church I pastured, congregants identified busyness as their key spiritual challenge and asked church elders for help. The elders agreed that this was a significant concern but then took two years to get around to addressing the issue…because they had so much to do! Some argue that we North Americans now in fact work longer hours and more days than we did a few decades ago. All of us agree that life feels increasingly full, hectic, and busy.
Plenty of evidence demonstrates the paradoxical reality that affluence leaves many unsettled and deeply dissatisfied. As William Greider suggests, "good times" do not automatically equal the "good life." Gregg Easterbrook convincingly shows that "society is undergoing a fundamental shift from 'material want' to 'meaning want,' with ever larger numbers of people reasonably secure in terms of living standards, but feeling they lack significance in their lives." As Bill McKibben observes: "Meaning has been in decline for a very long time."
Surely it is no coincidence that as we become increasingly overwhelmed by demands and circumstances, our culture evinces deepening interest in spirituality. The evidence is all around. When I attended seminary in the early 1980s, I wrote a thesis about "prayer and peacemaking," but only two courses on prayer were offered. A couple decades later I taught at that school, and once could get a degree in spirituality. I now teach at another seminary, and it too offers degrees in spiritual formation. These schools reflect wider cultural trends. Consider the shelves and shelves of spiritual materials found in even the most secular bookstores now. Or films and television shows that deal with heaven, hell, angels, demons, healing, and God.
I am increasingly convinced that distracted busyness and exhausting lifestyles drive interest in spirituality today. The sense that there must be "something more" propels quests to find better ways. Folks motivated to live spiritually rich lives do not necessarily go to church, because not many Christians have offered the kind of help they need. Christian lives are just as fragmented and frantic. But seekers are looking nonetheless.
From LIVING INTO FOCUS by Arthur Boers. Baker Publishing Group. Copyright © 2012 by Arthur Boers. Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group. http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
In Living Into Focus, with a Foreword by Eugene Peterson, pastor Arthur Boers examines the effects of modern life that have eroded the activities that people used to do together.
In today’s high-speed world, most of us can relate to the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time for the people and things we value most. The author suggests ways to make our lives healthier and more rewarding by presenting individual and communal shared practices to help us focus on what really matters. These practices—such as shared meals, gardening, prayer and reading aloud—bring our lives into focus and build community.
With Living Into Focus, you’ll soon be paying attention to what really matters. Includes questions for discussion.
Hardcover Book : 256 pages
Publisher: Baker Books - Subrights Mgr ( January 01, 2012 )
Item #: 13-507415
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.625inches
Product Weight: 11.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)