It was Charles Kuralt who said,
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.”
I think the same apply how we live the christian life and for that matter life in general. Speed and our modern way of living is killing our ability to look and see the stuff and people around us. When I drive to work, I look at other cars, pedestrians(notice, they are not people anymore), road signs and other possible dangers. When I walk to work, I can look around and think around a lot more. In short, I can take a lot more in. Time it seems, is a funny thing, the faster we go, the less of it we have. When I go to a fancy restaurant, I am willing to wait 30 minutes for my food. Go to MacDonald’s or any fast food outlet and see what happens when you have to wait for 30 minutes 🙂
Some people believe the church will be more effective when it is streamlined like a highway. We try to get people from one place to another as quickly as possible. Discipleship is now a three week course. Something you do in a weekend seminar. By doing that, we encourage our fellow travelers to miss out on their journey. Not only that, by trying to streamline people’s journey, we also miss out on the journey of the people around us. There is no time to connect. No time to share. No time to experience. Church then, becomes an artificial place full of well meaning people with no substance behind our actions. We become people of the quick fix. People of THE FORMULA. Our help begins to look like this…“What’s wrong with you? Oh? Here is the verse that will cure you. Are you feeling better already?” or “Do things this(God’s) way and you will have no problems whatsoever. Are you feeling better already?” The church, it seems, excel in “being afraid to live”.
Problem is of course; life is meant to be lived. Going for the shortcuts doesn’t work. Trying to make the journey faster with formulas and unfilled words only helps to create unoccupied experiences. Jesus was real and He took His time. He did not miss the cross because He was in a hurry. On His journey people could talk to Him, touch Him, cry with Him and laugh with Him. We are so afraid of an unhurried life. It will mean we have to slow down and actually look people in the eyes. Make contact. Experience each other’s pain, problems and laughter. Be a shoulder to rest upon. It takes time to develop authentic friendships. (It took Jesus +/-3 years.)
I don’t think church is meant for the highway. Perhaps it is time to get off and learn how to live the slow.