The philosopher Dallas Willard once called hurry the great enemy of spiritual life in our day, and he said, quote, "You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." He said that a number of years ago to a mentee of his by the name of John Ortberg. If you're not familiar with John's work, you're welcome. John is a pastor and writer who is based out of the Bay Area and was a mentee of Willard's for over 20 years. And he's not my mentor. He is officially out of my league. We have lunch two or three times a year and I have a secret, evil, genius, manipulative plan to turn him into my mentor or against his will. But he doesn't know that. So please don't podcast this anywhere. But we get together on a regular basis. And when John first told me that line, that Willard's thesis, that hurry is actually the great threat to spirituality and the way of Jesus in our day and era. I kind of had to have equal and opposite directions. My mind, at kind of like a critical thinking level, in all honesty, thought, hurry, that's ridiculous. Here is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. I mean, similar to you. I live in Portland. We were just voted...I don't think you get voted, but a survey just found that we were the least religious city in all of North America and similar to you, very secular, very post Christian at times hostile to the way of Jesus. And if you were to ask me prior to hearing Willard's thesis, what's the greatest challenge that you face as a follower of Jesus in a city like Portland and a year like now, 2020? I have no idea what I would have said. The election of Donald Trump, for those of us down south, or partisan politics, or progressive theology or socioeconomic inequality or systemic injustice, I have no idea what I would have said. But definitely hurry would not have even made the list. But the longer I sit with it, the more I think it's true. At the same time, I had this kind of gut reaction, the best analogy I can think of as a tuning fork. If you're a musician, you know, that is where you kind of tap this little tuning fork and you feel (if you're close enough to it), you feel your bones tremor as they come into contact with middle C or whatever the tuning fork is for. And if you know anything about music theory, you know, middle C was not created by Bach. It was created by God. Right? It's literally woven into the fabric of the universe. And something happens to your body where you start to tremor as you come into contact with middle C or whatever with reality. And it had that kind of an effect. The first time I came into that language it had that similar effect on me. There's something here that is real and that is true. And the longer I have sat with Willard's thesis, the more I have come to agree that hurry is really the issue underneath so many of the other issues of our day and age, from outraged culture to these kind of anxiety epidemics across our generation, to digital distraction, to the breakdown of family, to chronic loneliness and the suicide rate and its explosion, to exhaustion and burnout and so on and so forth. Even Carl Jung, the psychologist who coined the phrase of the paradigm of introvert and extrovert, and his work was the basis for the Myers Briggs theory of personality, once had this great line. And he said on a regular basis: "hurry isn't of the devil, it is the devil." I don't know about you, but when I hear the word the devil, I don't know what you think of. I think of Will Ferrell on SNL from back in the day or a little cartoon, you know, on a demon, on a pit with a pitchfork on your shoulder kind of thing. I doubt that most of us hear the moniker of the devil and think of another alert on our phone. Or Instagram or another hour at the office or another late night email flurry or another activity at church or just a life of speed. Corrie ten Boom, the dutch woman who saved so many Jews from the Nazi Holocaust, once said, "If the devil can't make you sin, he'll make you busy." That's a fascinating thesis. But if you think about it, busyness or digital distraction or overload and exhaustion, hurry, whatever you want to call it, has a very similar effect on your soul, as does sin itself. I've been reading a lot and thinking a lot about the Eastern Orthodox tradition and its view of atonement, its view of the spiritual journey as one of the soul's healing as it makes its journey back into union with God. There's definitely something there that we've lost sight of in the Western Church, this idea of healing and union with God. And that really is the heart of the spiritual journey. We hear a lot that sin is missing the mark. But what is the mark? What if the mark is union with God? Well, if you think about it that way, then Sin and your phone have a very similar effect. One might be moral, the other might be a little bit more amoral. But they have a very similar effect in that they cut off your mind, which is at a functional level, kind of the portal to your soul, to your whole person, that integrating center of your being. They cut you off from awareness of and connection to the spirit of God, who is not only all around you, but who is in you. And we end up in this kind of if not theological, then at least a functional kind of atheism rather than a life of what Jesus called abiding. A number of years ago, before we embarked on kind of a restructure of our church around spiritual formation and practice and community. It's a very long story. But a number of years before we kind of embarked on all this [it] was a major shift for our church. And I knew I would get a lot of flack for it. And so a lot of time and effort and prayer and thought and reading went into it and research. Before we embarked, I sat down with an older, wiser, 70-something PhD clinical psychologist that I know, who's very well respected. And I just ran the idea by him. I ran what we call our working theory of change by him. This is how we think people grow and mature to become more like Jesus over a lifetime. And he sat and he was quiet most of the time and he would add a thing here once in a while. "Here's what Jung had to say about that. Here's something you're missing." But at the end, he basically had very little to say. He said, "Yeah, that's great, that's fantastic. Mostly what you think is right." And then he just said one thing that I have never, ever forgotten. He said, "the number one problem you will face is time." Most people are just too busy to live emotionally healthy and spiritually vibrant lives after 40 years of experience as a psychologist and a follower of Jesus, that was his thing, he said. The main problem for most people, the main reason most people don't grow, don't mature, marriages, families don't thrive. The main reason people don't recover from trauma. The main reason in his mind was busyness. People just don't have the time.


Psychologists now diagnose people with hurry sickness, which people think I'm joking when I talk about that. It's actually a thing, like Google that in DSM or whatever, which Psychology Today defines as, quote, "a malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, anybody, and so tends to perform every task faster and to get flustered when encountering any kind of delay." Rosemary Sword, who is a time perspective therapist, truth. Sorry, that's a thing. I want that job. Let me give you my time perspective for you and bill you for your time. But her, along with psychologist Philip Zimbardo of Stanford and their book on this subject, offer three symptoms to self diagnose her sickness. Ready for this, whether or not you have it. One, you move from one checkout line to another because it's shorter. Yeah. You know who you are because it's all of you when you come to a stoplight, you count the cars ahead of you and change lanes. And if you live downtown, it doesn't count. You're like, I don't drive or whatever you do once in a while and you do it when you do that, you know, at three, you multitask to the point that you forget one of the tasks. Now, not to play armchair psychologist, but I'm pretty sure that all of us have hurry sickness and the ongoing effect of hurry or busyness or distraction or whatever you want to call it on our soul and our society is really starting to take its toll. Just think about it. What do most people say when you ask the customary, you know, hey, how's it going or how are you or what's going on? And most people say something to the effect of, oh, I'm good. Just busy. Pay attention and you will hear this across all the lines that we hear so much about in the news, across gender, across class, across ethnicity, across the urban suburban divide. Everybody is busy. Everybody I talk to. College kids are busy, young parents are busy, single professionals are busy, working class people are busy. Empty nesters in the peninsula are busy, and retirees down in Mexico for winter are busy, too. Everybody I talk to is, well, everybody in the West, all my African immigrant friends are like "you Americans. What is wrong with you? "You're all so busy," they say that to me. "You're all so busy." Now we need to clarify that there are different types of busyness and it's not all bad. There's a type of busyness that just means you have a lot to do. You're not wasting your life on, you know, Call of Duty or whatever and, you know, trivial things. But you're giving your life away at some level. You're generative. You're about something more than hedonism or even work. And by that definition, Jesus himself was busy. You could argue that he was very busy. But there's another type of busyness that's far more common and far more dangerous. Ronald Rolheiser, who is one of my favorite writers, calls it pathological busyness, as in a pathogen on the loose in our soul, in our society. And this is when you have not a lot to do, but you have too much to do. It was the second kind of busyness that Bill Gates was referring to when he recently said busy is the new stupid, which is pretty fantastic. The essence of pathological busyness or if you prefer the moniker of hurry is we have too much to do. That's that's that's the short of it. We just have too much to do and not enough time. And so the only way to cram it all in is to speed up our mind and our body and our relationships and our interactions with other people to this frenetic pace that I would argue is incompatible with life in the kingdom of God. I would argue you can't live in the kingdom of God at that pace of life, nor were you designed to. And this has all sorts of implications, both for our emotional health and for our spiritual life at an emotional and a spiritual level. The professor Michael Cicarelli conducted a survey of 20,000 Christians, and this was in the U.S. Forgive me, but I assume it would be similar stats to Canada's. And he identified busyness as the major block in most people's relationship to God. Listen to his summary of this 20,000 person survey: "It may be the case that, one, Christians are assimilating a culture of busyness, hurry and overload, which leads to, two, God becoming more marginalized and Christians' lives, which leads to, three, deteriorating relationship with God, which leads to, four, Christians becoming even more vulnerable to adopting secular assumptions about how to live is a major problem, which leads to five more conformity to a culture of busyness. Hurry and overload." And then the cycle begins again. Pastors, by the way, are the worst high rated, Pastors right up there with doctors and lawyers are being caught up in dizziness, not me, but Matt really has an issue with this. It's by the way, don't ever write a book on hurry, because hurry is like---there's no--I don't have some silver bullet for you. Like, follow my three-step formula and you will never, ever be in a hurry ever again. I don't have that like I have it like everybody else. And then every time I'm in a hurry now I literally think to myself, "you literally wrote the book on Hurry. What is wrong with you?" My goodness.


But it's true. I was cut to the heart the first time I came across Ruth Haley Barton. If you don't know her work, she's phenomenal. But her 10 signs that you're moving too fast through life:
  1. Irritability: like you're just quick to jump at people. You're kind of on edge and you take offense at an easy level. And by the way, don't judge like a stranger or a person at church. Think about somebody that you're actually close and all of your trust structures are in guard with -- so a roommate or a brother or a sister or a spouse or a best friend, somebody that where you're actually yourself around them.
  2. Hypersensitivity: [It] takes very little just to hurt your feelings or set you off or make you mad or put you in a little bit of a funk.
  3. Restlessness: When you finally do carve out time to take a Sabbath or a night off or just rest on vacation or whatever, you can't actually relax. You have to reach for your phone. You have to have TV on or music on, our podcast on, or you have to do some work. You have to check into your email. You have to check your instant messages or whatever. You can't actually sleep. You can't actually calm and slow and breathe and rest.
  4. Compulsive overworking: You just have to get in another e-mail, another hour at the office or another hour of study or whatever it is for you.
  5. Emotional numbness: You begin to lose your capacity to feel and you're left with the narrowest bandwidth of emotions, which for most people is anger and anxiety. You lose your capacity for emotions like wonder or gratitude, empathy, compassion.
  6. Escapist behaviors: You just start escaping into Netflix or Disney Plus, or alcohol, or work or church, or Peloton, or hiking or whatever your escapist behavior.
 Some of those are better. We'll take hiking, take that off the list. It's good. But whatever your escape, whatever your cultural narcotic of choice is, you just it's an attempt to distract yourself from the pain of your reality because you're actually too tired to do. This is a weird catch-22. It takes a little bit of emotional energy and discipline to do the things that are actually life-giving for your soul. So you end up just binge-watching The Messiah or whatever. And at the end of that, you don't. Well, it's about Jesus. Right, or something. I don't know. But binge watching The Crown or whatever, I do know all about that one. Whatever it is for you. And you get done, you know, eight hours later at 2:00 in the morning and you're not like, I feel so close to God right now and just full of energy and ready to, like, do my calling in life. No, you just feel like late for work, you know. Seven - disconnected from our identity and calling. We lose track and lose sight of who we are and who are not and what we're called to do and what we're not called to do. And we get sucked into the tyranny of the urgent in our life and our leadership become far more reactive than proactive, not able to attend to human needs, basic things like sleeping eight hours a night. You know, fun fact. I did all this research for the book prior to the light bulb, the average Americans slept eleven hours a night. North American, sorry. Eleven hours a night. Now we're down to seven. So that made me feel so much better because I read biographies of great men and women of history and they got up at like 4:00 in the morning to pray. And I used to think, that's incredible. And I'm like, you went to bed at five thirty. I don't, you know, oh, of course you got up to pray. What else was there to do? You know, goodness gracious. But, you know, sleep, and exercise, and water, and home cooked food, and friendships, and margin, and time to get your to do list on just basic human healthy stuff, hoarding energy. Do you ever find yourself or you kind of like you feel like you hold back your energy you like can't give it to like drama person that you're in into it small group because you have a meeting in the morning and like you just don't you don't have it for and every, drama [person]. Every small group has one and some of you are like, no they don't because you're the person. Oh so sorry. That's so mean. That's why it's from notes, back to notes, back to notes. Number slippage in our spiritual practices, slippage in our spiritual practices, the very things, the spiritual disciplines or practices that actually create space for us to let God love us into people of love are the first things often to go rather than the first things that we go to. Now, are we having fun yet? By the way. The first time I read this list, I was like seven for ten or I thought I was. And my lovely wife, you know, is very kind, said, no, honey, you're ten for ten, 100 percent. The point here is that there is more at stake. That's what I want you to hear. There is more at stake than our emotional health. As if that's not enough, this isn't just about feeling good or feeling less stressed out, our spiritual life itself hangs in the balance. I love this again from Ronald Rolheiser: "Today, a number of historical circumstances are blindly flowing together and accidentally conspiring to produce a climate within which it is difficult not just to think about God or to pray, but simply to have any interior depth whatsoever. We are distracting ourselves into spiritual oblivion. It is not that we have anything against God, depth and spirit. We would like these. It's just that we are habitually too preoccupied to have any of these show up on our radar screens. We are more busy than bad, more distracted than non-spiritual, and more interested in the movie theater of the sports stadium in the shopping mall --" For us, you know, Amazon and Instagram and whatever. "And the fantasy lives..." And that's what it is. It's not real. -- Pathological busyness, distraction and restlessness are major blocks today within our spiritual lives." Now, to clarify what we mean by our spiritual lives, because that language is cliche and it's really easy to sentimentalize how I would define that. Not that it's the definition, but here's how I define spiritual life or spirituality in the Christian tradition: Our capacity to receive and give love in relationship to God and to others. To receive love, to enlarge our soul or let it be enlarged by God enough to receive love from the Trinitarian community of love that we call God and from the community to our right and to our left, and then to turn around and give that love to friends and family. And eventually, as we grow and mature in Christ's likeness, even to our enemy. After all, for Jesus, the telos of the spiritual journey itself, or put another way, the meaning and purpose of life is to become a person who is pervaded by love. As best I can tell when asked what's the greatest commandment, by all of the Bible scholars of his day, he said, Well, love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That's from Deuteronomy. But then it was interesting. He was asked, what's the greatest commandment? And his answer was, here are the greatest commandments. He said the second is very similar. Love your neighbor as yourself. I quote from Leviticus 19. Jesus refused to separate out the love relationship between God and love, relationship between one and one another at a theological level. And that modern science is now we're learning all sorts of things about attachment theory at a neurobiological level. You cannot separate those two things.


In The Sermon on the Mount Jesus made -- if I'm reading the flow of that sermon, right -- the apex of Christian spirituality, the kind of highest echelon of maturity in the way of Jesus, the capacity to love not just your neighbor, but even your enemy. For Jesus, the whole spiritual journey is about becoming the kind of person who is pervaded by love. Now, here's what this matters. Hurry, I would argue, is incompatible with love. The late Japanese theologian Kyosuke Koyama has this beautiful little book, it's a collection of essays called Three Mile an Hour God and the title essay that Three Mile an Hour God is this beautiful little meditation on how God is slow three miles per hour. I had to Google it, but apparently that's the speed of walking. Unless you're from New York, then it's 25 miles per hour. But, you know, if you're from the West Coast, three mile per hour and he writes this: "God walks slowly because he is love. If he is not love, he would not. He would have gone much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is slow, yet it is Lord over all other speed. Since it is the speed of love. We see this the speed of love on display in Jesus of Nazareth." One of the first things that you notice when you pick up and read the Gospels is that Jesus was rarely, if ever, in a hurry. His life was full. But there's all sorts of stories where he's just sleeping in. You know, that's not to make him sound lethargic, but where he's there and he's present to the moment and he's so in tune with what's going on in that moment, the soul in front of him, his own soul, God, the Father, as if God is as close as the air around him. Willard was once asked if you could describe Jesus in one word, what would it be? He thought about it for a moment. And he said, relaxed. That's so great. Like, is that the one word you would pick for Jesus? Relaxed. Like, is that how you think of Jesus of Nazareth -- as relaxed? But just think about how many of the stories -- in fact have this as a rubric as you read the Bible in your morning reading. Just think about this in the back of your mind, how many not only of the stories about Jesus, but the teachings of Jesus himself were actually in response to an interruption? And in every single interruption, Jesus is just never in a hurry. He's there to offer wisdom. Here's a parable, a healing, a prophetic word, a rebuke, whatever the moment calls for. C.S. Lewis once said something to the effect that how you respond to an interruption is who you really are, which is horrible as a parent. I hate that because 98 percent of parenting is interrupting and then repenting. Right. So most of you parents aren't in the room yet because you're playing in the snow right now. But, man, I don't know about you how you on a regular basis respond to an interruption. I often respond with anxiety at best or anger at worse than Jesus was often the opposite: compassion, wisdom, a prophetic word, clarity like right there, present to the moment. The hard truth. We just want to wiggle our way out of and say, well, that's not a personality or I have more capacity. Well, there's truth and all of that, but [it is that] that hurry sabotages our capacity both to receive and to give love to receive love. I mean, my working theory of how we become more loving, if you were to really simplify it down to a line or two, is at its most basic. We become more loving when we let God love us at a theological level. History says the same thing. Neurobiology says the same thing. We become more loving and through the experience of love, not just through reading about love or hearing a sermon about love. Both of those are powerful as a beginning point. But you have to experience from the spirit and from the community of Jesus to actually have it, whether it's your parents or your family or your friends or your church or ideally all of it, in order to form you and heal your soul and let you and I grow into people who in all of our imperfection, have become people who are pervaded by love. But this takes an onerous amount of time to let God love us and the people of love.


For all of the talk about a personal relationship with Jesus in America or North America, or at least in our parents' generation, it's easy to forget that relationships take time. There's this great saying back in the 90s, love is spelled T-I-M-E. Such a 90s phrase. It's fantastic. It's a lot of that in the 90s, but there's truth in that. You know anybody in a long term close friendship or a marriage or a leadership team, you know that you don't get depth of intimacy without long hours together to be in an intimate, loving relationship, sexual or platonic, you have to dedicate a lot of time to each other. Relationships are not quick or efficient, and I don't think our relationship with God is any different. I don't think it's quick and I don't think it's efficient. One of the first things you learn when you begin to really take prayer seriously, spiritual formation seriously, the life of Jesus seriously, is that you are not in charge of your spiritual formation. You're not in charge of your life. You're not in control of your life, not to anywhere near the degree that we want to believe we are an attempt to manipulate people and events into we're not in control. And one of the first things you realize is that you begin to just give your time and your attention far more than your money. That's beautiful and important. But the main resource that most of us have to give is our time and our attention. After all, economists call the current moment the attention economy. Multi-billion dollar companies are doing everything they can to steal your attention and make money off of it and manipulate you through it. The best gift we can give to Jesus in this day and age as our time and our attention. But when we give him that, whether it's through morning prayer or reading of the scripture, church or life in community or the Lord's Supper, whatever it is, or reading a book or coming to a night like tonight or singing whatever it is, when we give him our time and our attention, he does with it what he wants or what he does not want. We're not in charge. We're not in control. That's the beauty of it. And that's the challenge of it. And so we just give God our time and we say, OK, God, I pray this moment, this hour, this twenty minutes as a means of grace that you transform me into a person of love and joy and peace as you are in the Trinitarian community. But God, this is yours to do what you want to do or not want to do. I give it to you. And this takes time, unhurried time. Most of the reason I think that most people don't like reading the Bible anymore is because they hurry through it. They don't take the time. You don't read like an ancient library of poetry written in another language and ancient Mesopotamia and be like, cool, got it. Great. Have a good day. You know, and that's not even the point. Is the point just to understand ancient Hebrew? Or like win at sword drill. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Am I the only homeschooler in the room, you know? AWANIS? Was that a thing in Canada? Yeah. I'll have you know, I won the entire Bay Area Sparkie championship. I have a plaque somewhere in my parents, attic that's like John Mark Comer, Sparkie winner. As we digress, notes. Back to notes. The Anglican priest, W.F. Adams, who was C.S. Lewis spiritual director for many years, once called Hurry the Death of Prayer. He said, quote, "To walk with Jesus is to walk at a slow, unhurried pace." He said that in the 1940s, writing about the threat of hurry on the modern soul. Comes as no surprise that a recent New York Times article called Atheism "The Religion of the Busy." And Andrew Sullivan, if you follow his work, recently said that the great threat to the church in the West isn't hedonism, but distraction. Hurry sabotages our capacity to receive love from God, and prayer, and time in the Scripture, and let God love us and the people of love who have been at some level through the experience of healing and wholeness in Christ. But just as importantly, hurry also sabotages our capacity to give love. I don't know about you, but pretty much all of my worst moments as a husband or a father or a pastor or a friend are when I'm in a hurry. When I'm trying to get my beautiful three kids out of the house anywhere remotely on time at all or even close. Or when I run into somebody on the side of the road and I don't have time to talk because I'm late for the next thing. And what comes out of me is not compassion and wisdom and prophetic love and attention, but comes out of me is distraction, inattention, attention or anger or "get in the car right now or you're always late or those are the wrong shoes -- they don't even match." And it's like you have no idea of parenting. I'm telling you, it's only for people who want to mature or be horrible. That's my summary right there of my experience. But it comes-- Is it any surprise, by the way? I love my children. That sounded really cynical. I have a fantastic, very healthy family. But it comes as no surprise that Paul's in Paul's definition of love to the Corinthians. ,the first descriptor on his list is "love is patient." Another way to translate that is love is unhurried. And unhurry, it just oxidizes our capacity for love and with it our capacity for compassion. Compassion is a feeling word to have compassion. It demands that we slow down long enough to feel what another person is feeling and the kind of solidarity to see the world from their perspective, even if we disagree to sit with them in that place. All sorts of studies have shown that neurologically being listened to is almost indistinguishable from being loved. You can try this out even as an experiment, not in a manipulative way, but just go into a hard conversation where, you know, you're 90 percent sure that you're going to walk away disagreeing with somebody about something and just really focus, make it an intention of your heart to listen better than ever and just listen. And not just listen, like don't talk, but like give people your eye your attention and a compassionate heart. Repeat back to them. "What I'm hearing you say is..." And even if at the end of the day you disagree with 98 percent of what they just said and you say as much, the odds are the acrimony will go way down and people walk away feeling loved by you. There's something that psychologists call it feeling felt when we feel felt by another person. It isn't being listened to is an experience of being loved. But again, hurry just doesn't have time to listen and feel your pain and love you and see life from your perspective and empathize with you. It's late for the next thing. Thomas Merton, who I don't quote a lot, called hurry a pervasive form of contemporary violence. I think violence is an appropriate word because it kills compassion. It kills relationships, it kills community, it kills churches. It kills reputations through gossip. It kills understanding of complex issues in our society. It kills trust, it kills intimacy, and it kills love. So what to do? Well, the short answer is buy my book for $19.99. It's out in the back. No, I'm kidding. But the case that I make in the book is that Harry is the problem. But the solution is not more time. On a regular basis talking about you. But I catch myself saying something like, oh, I just wish there were five more hours in the day or three more days in the week or whatever, but that is the stupidest thing to say. If you just follow that logic through. Let's say, you know, God were to restructure the nature of the universe and make our day, you know, thirty hours long or a scientist were to come up with a pill. Now we only need to sleep three hours a night or whatever. I don't know what you would do, but I know exactly what I would do. I would fill up those extra few hours with even more things. I would write more books and start a side business, and I would join Crossfit finally. And I would do this and I would volunteer at my kids school and I would write poetry and I would actually meet with that person. I would do all of these things and then I would end up even more exhausted and burned out than I am now. So the solution is not more time.


I would argue it is to slow down and to simplify our life around becoming people of love. And this cuts right to the core of the human condition. One of the ways of reading Genesis Chapter three and the temptation is just a temptation to transgress our human limitations. You shall be like gods. This garden is not enough for you. There's more. You will always feel that inner voice, that serpent like temptation to transgress your limitations, to step outside of the limitations of your time schedule, your emotional capacity, your relational maturity, God's calling on your life, whatever it is. You see this all across our culture. You see it in the right, you see it in the left. We could just trace this idea through so many different sub threads of our social polarization that at the root are really an inability to accept our limitations as so much talk in our culture about reaching your full potential. I 110 percent agree with it, especially for people that don't come from a middle class background of privilege. Beautiful. The problem is that's one side of a two sided story. The other side of that is accepting your limitations. And pretty much nothing is said about that. You don't sell books with that one. Like here's to accepting your cosmic limitations, you know? But there's a freedom and a peace and a joy, a presence and a love that comes from accepting your limitations and a simplification of your life around what really matters in the way of Jesus. The way you do this, at least what church history would say to you and I in our modern era is through what the ancients called a rule of life. That's ancient language, not modern. So it sounds a bit strange to our ears, not rules for life. Don't think fellow Canadian Jordan Peterson, but a rule (singular) for life. It was the words similar to our ruler. "Regula" was the Latin word. And many linguists argue that it was the word for a trellis that was underneath the vineyard. So if you can imagine a vineyard in your mind's eye and your parents and all the rich friends out for a day or whatever it is -- that's okay, I love vineyards. It just makes me feel better about my own hypocrisy. But if you can imagine a trellis underneath a vine, a vine needs some kind of a trellis, some kind of a support structure to get it up off the ground in order to create space for it. To bear the maximum number of fruit, to grow in the right direction and to keep it impervious to disease and wild animals. Otherwise, it's vulnerable to all of the above and it will bear a fraction of the fruit that it's capable of. And the ancients said in the same way, if Jesus said abide in the vine and you will bear much fruit. If His metaphor was that of a vineyard, and of a vine, and of a great vine, then we need some kind of a trellis. We need some kind of a structure to undergird our life of prayer so that we grow and mature and we bear the fruit of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and all the rest. I would just define a rule of life as a schedule and a set of practices and relational rhythms that create space to slow down and to receive and give love as you live in alignment with your deepest desires. If you want, you can go to This is just a little site that myself and our team down in Portland put together with a bunch of teachings and practices for spiritual formation. There's a workbook there actually where you can just kind of start at the beginning. I have no idea what this even is. And get all the history on it and some practicum and tutorial and work through it and make up a rule of life that you make on your own based on your personality and stage of life and your sense of God's calling your life. All of that's there for you. But you can literally start this what Pete Scazzero calls a slow down spirituality right here and right now tonight. But it will be a radical step. I love Willard's line. The ruthless elimination of hurry. You have to be a little bit ruthless. In the day and age of the smartphone and Wi-Fi and attention economy and the city and noise and transience and busyness and all of the things. This won't just happen to you. Ortberg was kind enough to write the foreword for my book, and he had this great line and my favorite line actually in the whole book because he wrote it. And he said. "To choose to live in unhurried life in our day is somewhat like taking a vow of poverty in earlier centuries. It's scary and it's an act of faith. But there are deeper riches on the other side." And I'm not here to say I have it all down and follow me around and I'm never in a hurry and I just walk and Jesus zen love all of the time. That's not true. But I am here to say I've made some major sacrifices in my life. They felt like it at the time and everyone was worth it. Times 10. There are deeper riches on the other side. I want that for me. I want that for my family, for the people that I do life with. And I want it for you up here in your beautiful city.


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