This is the first in a three-part series on “The the Speed of Life”
I don’t do anything slowly, except running. I’m a slow runner. Everything else I do quite quickly with little attention to detail. (These qualities make life quite, er, exciting! when you’re married to an engineer-minded perfectionist). I even do my p90x yoga on double speed. While listening to NPR on my ipod (don’t hate me because I like NPR, please).
So when this whole season of Advent comes along I get a bit tripped up. Slow? Quiet? Contemplative? Candles?
Background: I was raised in an evangelical Protestant home, attending a non-denominational Christian church. In college I was exposed to and appreciated a more charismatic expression of the Christian faith. El Guapo and I have chosen for our family to worship at churches that express God’s truth and love in a fairly balanced setting (well, balanced for us anyways). Love Jesus, Love others. Repeat.
This works well for us. We are comfortable with it. Then…friends around me start saying words like “Church Holy Year”, “St. Nicholas Day”, “Feast Days”. They light candles and are still (as in quiet and thoughtful) through seasons of “Advent”. They fast from things during “Lent”.
I’m sorry, what? I mean, I get that there are certain times of the year that we, as Christians, take the time to more intentionally recognize and honor Jesus’ birth and resurrection. I feel the cultural battle for my children’s attention and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. But what are these things my friends speak of?
Previous Preconceptions (is that redundant?): People who recite liturgy and “do things” because that’s “how they’ve always done it” don’t have real faith. They are caught up in traditions of men (I often quoted Matthew 15:1-9 as proof that traditions of men get in the way of God’s true heart for us). I grouped these people (most commonly found in denominational churches as well as Catholic ones) together. Real faith was found in those churches that have stripped themselves of traditions (and most often candles, robes and quiet moments). I’m being real here. I can’t say I speak for all evangelical Christians. Just for myself. This is what I thought for a long time. (Please notice that I am using past tense here, thank you : )
Then I met Gina. And Annie. And Mattie. And The Campbells….
I have a lot to say on this-so I will continue this conversation in two more parts. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Peace to you as we travel on this journey of life together,