Holiday lesson: being busy and the other

This is what I learned on my holiday: When I am extremely busy and have lots of items on my agenda, I am less able to be present to the other. I become self absorbed and utterly blind to the inner life of the other. Whenever I have a huge to do list, I may be tempted to think I’m productive, but actually the result is that the other becomes an impediment, a nuisance, one more item on my list, an extra burden I will have to deal with. Thus when I am very busy, I tend to focus more on goals and getting things done rather than think about how the other feels, thinks and lives. I am much less able to be affirming and encouraging (unless that’s on my agenda), thus less able to be fully present with the other. Perhaps I need to get back to reading Eugene Peterson’s “Contemplative Pastor”, especially the “Unbusy Pastor” section…

Room for ambiguity

I love this little clip with Eugene Peterson, the translator of The Message, where he makes the case for leaving space for a response in preaching, and also leaving space for ambiguity. If you want to communicate precise things, you need mathematics, he says. What an excellent point that is! I can really connect to everything he says about the use and nature of language. See what you make of this: