A couple weeks ago my bishop told me to make sure my spiritual disciplines were truly helping me connect with God and find spiritual rejuvenation. “We’re only in the first quarter of the game,” he said, “and we need to last the whole game, all four quarters.”
That was really helpful for me, and I think that’s vital advice for leaders right now. As we talk with leaders right now, we are hearing unprecedented levels of exhaustion. Especially with kids starting school now (often online), we need to make adjustments to our lives (and our expectations for ourselves and others) if we’re going to stay in this for the long haul.
Here are a few of the practices that are keeping me sane and (relatively) healthy right now: morning and evening prayer, taking my dog for regular walks, gardening, cooking for my family, connecting often with loved ones for conversation, and reading fiction I enjoy. I’m also thinking about starting to see a therapist or spiritual director again. What’s helping you stay connected and sane right now?
The curated links for the week are below. I pray they equip you to engage culture today in the love of God in Christ.
- Because of the pandemic, we’ve all been dealing with more digital technology than before in an effort to stay connected to each other. But we’re also discovering that digital technology only goes so far. We talked with pastor and author Jay Kim about how digital technology is (de)forming us and why we need the “analog” world.
- In case you missed the announcement this week, Gino Curcuruto is joining the Gravity team as our Community Liaison! Watch this 4-minute video introduction to get to know him a bit (and fill out the survey for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!).
- James K.A. Smith with a pretty good analysis on what white Christians can’t see when they see racism.
- Speaking of racism (and this gets into the philosophy weeds a bit), Tim Keller recently analyzed a few different secular theories of justice (including critical race theory) alongside “biblical justice”. I think his analysis was lacking and problematic on a number of levels, and this post from our friend Grant Eckhart helpfully exposes some of the issues. Also, check out this (long) statement from Be The Bridge on Critical Race Theory. This is important stuff for Christian leaders to engage with today, but it will take a lot of dialogue, because there are a lot of false assumptions to unwind! Maybe we can host a Learning Lab on it at some point.
- Remember the Giving Tree? The book is beloved by many, but problematic in its perspective on what love is. “the tree who set healthy boundaries” is a funny alternative ending to The Giving Tree, and reminded us of an episode of our podcast where we deconstructed the so-called “love” of the Giving Tree.
- Scot McKnight on what to do if you think your pastor might be a narcissist. (Pastors, also please read this to find out if you might be a narcissist!)
That’s all for this week! I will leave you with a beautiful prayer by Edward Pusey (one of the leading figures of the Oxford Movement in the 19th century) that I’ve been using as a “gateway” into contemplation lately. I pray it helps you stay healthy, sane, and connected… in it for the long haul:
Let me not seek out of Thee what I can only find in Thee; peace and rest and joy and bliss, which abide only in Thy abiding joy. Lift up my soul above the weary round of harassing thoughts to Thy Eternal Presence. Lift up my soul to the pure, bright, clear, serene, radiant atmosphere of Thy Presence, that there I may breathe freely, there repose in Thy love, there be at rest from myself and from all things that weary me; and thence return, arrayed in Thy peace, to do and bear what shall please Thee.
Grace and peace,
Ben Sternke (for Gravity Leadership)
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