Let me quote it, and then we can start the conversation (either here, or on his blog--giving his great blog some PR).
I will tell you a story after Steve's post. I'll address my comments to Steve, but they are for all of you.
"The poor man," we say. "He's so devoted to his flock: the work is endless, and he sacrifices himself so unstintingly." But the Word busy is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection. The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront." pg 17
"I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and heavy demands on my time are proof to myself-and to all who will notice- that I am important." pg 18
"I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself. I let people who do not understand the work of the pastor write the agenda for my day's work because I am too slipshod to write it myself. The pastor is a shadow figure in these people's minds, a marginal person vaguely connected with matters of God and good will. Anything remotely religious of somehow well-intentioned can be properly assigned to the pastor." pg 18
|Yes, this is real shower curtain for sale, See the rest here.|
When I was in seminary, some friends of mine designed a new t-shirt. They took the surfing phrase, “surf naked,” and changed it just a little. The new seminary t-shirt had the seminary logo, looking very stately and conservative, and then there under it in small, neat letters, it said very simply, “Pray naked.”The t-shirt did its job of getting everyone’s attention, but it also conveyed a deeper reminder: that it is when we are naked, when we are vulnerable, when we are powerless, when we are out of strength and out of options and out of ideas--- that’s when God has room to work. That’s when God moves in and takes over and shakes things up. That’s when God comes closest. That’s when God can begin to shape us, to lead us, and to make us into miracles. link
"Blessed is he who has formed man in wisdom in wisdom and created in him many orifices and cavities. It is fully known before the Throne of Thy glory that if one of them should be improperly opened or one of them closed it would be impossible for a man to stand before Thee." -link
Some areas of the world have particular things that define them, and although a good idea they are only found in one continent or region and nowhere else. This even applies to electrical appliances and for Central and South America one of the defining bathroom fixtures is the Suicide Shower. I was first told about them by some American friends in London who told me to watch out for a contraption that fits over the shower head and is plugged into the electric mains. Pretty scary until you get used to them, I was told.
The idea behind suicide showers is to provide hot water where the plumbing system does not run to a hot water boiler, which is the norm in most of tropical America. The water is heated inside the shower head and usually provides a constant and dependable stream of hot water. Getting the stream of water right is something of an art that comes with practice, if the water flow is low it will come out boiling hot, too high and it’s only lukewarm. Controlling the flow to the optimum level can take some time and in some hotels there are detailed instructions on the back of the bathroom door.
Of course the really scary thing about suicide showers is that they combine that lethal combination of water and electricity. They need a lot of power in order to work and so are wired straight into the mains; you know they are working because when you turn on the water all the lights go dim. Being South America you can buy one of these things in any hardware store and simply wire it up yourself using a few bits of insulation tape. Some of the bodge jobs I’ve seen have been truly terrifying, like you really feel you are taking your life in your hands. Do I really want to be clean that much? Sometimes when you turn the water up too quickly, an electric blue flash comes out of the side of the shower head and you really feel - this is it. One of the guide books says that they are perfectly safe as long as you don’t fiddle with them and I have only ever experienced a mild shock off one, so this does seem to be true. -Wil
The second time I showered outside, I asked again, “Are you sure no one is in the house across the street?” “Yes, we’re sure,” came the reply; “no one is at home now. And yes, the street is a cul-de-sac.” I thought of a long-ago camping trip, when I’d chanced to change into my bathing suit on a grassy hillock, with only a meadow for walls and the sky for a roof. I felt free, the warm sunshine reflecting off my pale skin, bathing me in warmth. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Nature” came to mind: “Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”
Unlike that moment in the grass, I was not standing on bare ground, but on a wet tile floor. Maybe it was that solid floor that got in the way, but I didn’t feel any particles of God while standing in that shower with a looming house across the street. I just felt spooked, and it wasn’t the spooky feeling of holy dread or wonder, either. If’ I’d wanted a religious experience, this was not the right place to find one.
The third time I showered, I still didn’t feel like a transparent eyeball. I did try to relax. It helped to keep my back turned to the house; that way I could pretend no one might be behind me — certainly no not-so-transparent eyeballs that might chance to be in the vicinity. It helped to look very carefully just at the beautiful tropical plants surrounding two-thirds of the shower. Sunlight poured over them. Insects buzzed in their branches, and the tanagers still perched there too, their beady eyes still regarding me curiously. But when I turned further around, which I had to do to get the conditioner out of my hair, I saw the house and the street again. I knew full well that if there’d been the smallest hint of a particle of God nearby (or even just a neighbor, masquerading as the presence of the divine), I’d grab the nearest towel and, with the water still on, throw it over myself with all the convenience of a fig leaf.
After that final shower, as I retreated inside once again, it occurred to me that religious experiences might be best left for more fully-dressed occasions.-Showering in Eden by Emily R Mace