Post Author: Rev. Corein Brown
Sunday, September 29th To Do:
- Hit snooze button.
- Shower, make coffee, struggle with zipper on clergy dress.
- Confront sea of baked goods for annual appreciation breakfast at church.
- Slice and display said sea of baked goods while lamenting gluten intolerance and pondering how much of pastoral leadership is actually event planning.
- Appreciation breakfast.
- Wardrobe change and 30 minute commute to 2nd job.
- Work with volunteers to create activity for youth experiencing homelessness.
- Peel stickers and glitter glue from hands and ponder how much working in community outreach is a lot like event planning.
- Grocery shop.
- Cook dinner.
- Finish reading Who’s Got Time? Spirituality for a Busy Generation.
- Write this book review.
- Prepare for week.
While the details of my to-do list may be unique to me and my work they are not unique to our generation. Our to-do lists from our multiple jobs, family roles, volunteer responsibilities, and other commitments are endless. I would love prayer to play a more central part in my life and as a pastor I know it should. I often wonder what my ministry would look like if prayer could find a place of priority on my to-do list. But at the end of the day, I don’t want prayer to be another item on my list, I want something more – something that refreshes and relieves me, something that give me peace, and strength to live out my to-do list in love.
As I drive home at the “end” of my day on Sunday, I run through all the frustrating moments – an annoying conversation I felt ill-equipped to deal with at church, a frightening fight on the street that stopped traffic during my commute to work, failing to be as attentive as I’d like to the volunteers I coordinate…the list goes on. My mind drifts to Amy Fetterman and Teri Peterson’s new book, Who’s Got Time? Spirituality for a Busy Generation, they encourage me to pay attention to those frustrating moments and look for the movement of the Spirit. My breathing slows, the setting of the sun on the autumn evening strikes me, and I feel Her movement blanketing my overwhelming life and the car where so much of my life is played out.
In their book, Fetterman and Peterson set out to address the ravenous spiritual hunger of today’s generation, the particular challenges we face (including never-ending to-do lists and unheard of economic instability), and while doing so, offer creative, life-giving spiritual practices to experiment with and adapt for our own unique spiritual hunger and challenges in life.
Each chapter of their book can stand alone or be read as a whole. As I ate up their book I excitedly planned how I will take it to both my congregation and friends. I am astounded by the breadth of ideas Fetterman and Peterson offer in a way that is engaging, hilarious, and rooted in current research, contemporary culture, and ancient spiritual traditions. I don’t believe there is another book out their that draws on the hokey pokey, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “Samuel ‘mother-bleeping’ L. Jackson,” Mumford & Sons, midrash, lectio divina, more than one Buffy the Vampire Slayer quote, and John Wesley that leaves you both laughing out loud and silently pondering God’s loving presence.
From creative engagements of Scripture to outlining ancient spiritual practices like prayer beads and the examen, to yoga and boxing, to chanting the psalms and defending the shower as “one of the most holy, creative spaces left in our wired world,” Fetterman and Peterson bring the Spirit into our to-do lists, our loves, and our frustrations and ask us to creatively and unabashedly experiment with how we might engage Her there.
At the real end of my Sunday, I stood at the threshold of my bedroom door in darkened silence. I asked God to be with me as I crossed that threshold, I asked that I might find the peace, relaxation, and the deep breath necessary to face the following day. I asked that I might let go of my to-do list and find some holy rest. But before my foot could cross the threshold my mind darted, “Where did I put my car keys!?” Suddenly my mind raced back to the day, creating new lists while playing out old and anticipated conversations. I turned the lights back on, walked to where I knew my keys would be and placed my hand on them, I prayed that I might let my worries sit on the kitchen table with my keys for the night, knowing full well they’d be there for me in the morning. I turned the lights off again, stood at my bedroom door, breathed, “Peace,” crossed the threshold and slept more soundly than I have in weeks.
Perhaps what’s best about Who’s Got Time? is that it is not a how-to book. Fetterman and Peterson state, “We’re not here to tell you what to do, we’re here to spark conversation and ideas in your own community.” Praying at the threshold of my bedroom door or resting my hand on my car keys are not ideas from their book. Instead, Fetterman and Peterson’s creativity, joy, and awareness of the deep spiritual hunger within us all challenged me to listen to my own hunger and create prayer that relieved, centered, and attuned me to the God dwelling in my to-do list, my anxiety, and my tired, bare feet crossing the bedroom threshold.
Whether you work with Gen X or Gen Y (or whatever we are currently being labeled), are one of us, or are of any age hungering and seeking the Spirit in your daily life I’d encourage you to visit http://www.chalicepress.com/Whos-Got-Time-P1280.aspx to purchase the book. There will also soon be a website to accompany the book at spiritualityforbusypeople.com.