Friday, April 10, 2015

The Exhaustive Circularity of Christian Busyness

Stone-skipping on Lake Michigan
Ruth Haley Barton cites a survey of twenty thousand Christians around the world indicating that many say busyness and constant overload are major distractions from God. The survey, administrated by Charleston University School of Business, describes "a vicious cycle prompted by cultural conformity." 

It may be the case that:

  1. Christians are assimilating a culture of busyness, hurry, and overload, which leads to...
  2. God becoming more marginalized in Christians' lives, which leads to...
  3. A deteriorating relationship with God, which leads to...
  4. Christians becoming even more vulnerable to adopting secular assumptions about how to live, which leads to...
  5. More conformity to a culture of busyness, hurry and overload.
And then the cycle begins again. (In Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, p. 118)

Pastors and Christian leaders are as caught up in this as anyone else. Barton writes:

"A full 65 percent of pastors (right up there with lawyers, managers and nurses) are among the most likely to rush from task to task in a way that interferes with their relationship with God. “It’s tragic. It’s ironic,” notes Zigarelli, “that the very people who could best help us escape the bondage of busyness are themselves in chains.”" (Ib., 118-119)

See Barton's book in its entirety for a way out of this exhaustive circularity.