Tag Archive: instant gratification

on the way to the CCDA conference in Minneapolis that a bunch of us from the Simple Way are currently attending, three of us stopped over at a Nurturing Communities event hosted by David Janzen who has just released a book on community and met up with a bunch of people from different intentional communities all over the country and spent a really great day connecting and dialoging and having an opportunity to connect with some of the monks at this incredible place called St John’s Abbey.

the one idea that came out of a few people [and especially from the monks from this 1500 year or more old order] was a concept that i have semi visited sporadically over the last few years in terms of thinking about it but never really written anything on it and that is the idea of STABILITY.

the world as most of us know it is not currently well aligned for the concept – we have become a people of instant gratification whether it be microwaved meals or instant messaging or 2 year stints at a job before changing company or sometimes even vocation and so the idea of sticking with something for a long time does not come as naturally as it once did.

but there is something valuable in STABILITY, well a lot of things, but possibly the most powerful is RELATIONSHIPS.

try as we might by poking and retweeting and being skype-able we have just not been able to come up with instant relationships… well not often, and certainly not effectively. i mean we have definitely given a shot and as witnessed perhaps by a rising divorce or single parent rate the concept of disposability is also something we’ve quickly embraced as opposed to perseverance, hard work and commitment. if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it as Beyonce so famously sang, followed quickly by if you stop liking it then remove the ring and if possible put it on the next person or thing that you like… walk away, don’t look back [remember Lot’s wife] just turn away and keep walking, and then rush to the next thing…

the monk’s take a vow of stability and it was interesting to hear that these Benedicting monks take a vow to the specific monastery as opposed to the denomination or Benedictine group as a whole… so there is commitment to the movement but the specific commitment in the form of a vow is aimed at the specific location [and it is not set in absolute stone and so there are ways to move to another monastery but it is quite a big deal – for the most part it means a commitment for life or a significant portion thereof]

when i think of intentional community and being part of neighborhood change then the idea of STABILITY resonates strongly with me – especially in a neighborhood as transient as ours where many people might be there for six months or less at times – there needs to be some form of stability somewhere to strengthen, encourage and build into those people who do stay longer and might decide [or have it decided for them] to make this place their home.

we look back at something that happened last year and try to speak of the change we see in our community whereas these monks refer to incidents that happened 50 or 100 years ago that helped shape their common life… it is a completely different mindset and one that bears much thought and consideration…

what if more people put down their roots and committed to a specific place and a specific people… or group of people… for ten years or even twenty… what kind of long-term change might be possible then? how much would our focus on the long-term nature of our community and the bigger questions of justice weigh on us?

definitely think this is a topic that demands a lot more thought and conversation…

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.’ [vs.1]

If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and change your…


i won’t lie, i used to sing “face” as the last word of that popular Michael Jackson song, and i still do from time to time… but wot a great way to start a psalm and a day or week or year… echoing the ‘be still and know that I am God’ of psalm 46.10 which is coming up soon.

patience is a gift of the Spirit [galatians 5.22] and it is evidence of the God-Love mentioned in the well-known 1 corinthians 13 passage and in fact heads up the list… and in fact what i just noticed is that in both of those lists it comes just before ‘kindness’ – maybe it is suggesting you have to be patient before you can be kind [or maybe it’s just coincidence, but i guess in being patient i can demonstrate kindness so maybe there is a link]

but in the world of instant gratification – of microwaved meals and streaming videos, status updates and retweets, maybe patience has become a bit of a secret fruit or gift – a ‘the road less travelled’ aspect of God’s character…

because surely God has demonstrated His patience for me on many, many occasions for much length of time [and with it held loosely on to the Love, grace and forgiveness He freely offers me repeatedly] and so it would only seem fitting that i should return the favour…

altho even in waiting patiently for the Lord, He is still the one acting, or reacting and turning to me…

‘He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.’ [vs.2-3]

i have heard there are two rules to life:

[1] there is only one God
[2] it is not me

we get that right, and the whole world will be turned on its head…

as my friend Mugabe [no relation] Ratshikuni used to say, ‘If God is on the throne of your life, then you must be on the cross [luke 9.23] but if you are on the throne of your life [or anyone or anything else – money, time, possessions, music, sport, your special person, peoples’ opinion of you] then you have put Jesus back on the cross.’

i know we’ve barely touched the psalm, but i think that’s a good meditation for today. feel free to add your thoughts and musings…

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

%d bloggers like this: