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Knowledge & News
Thought provoking topics and series, necessary news and information.
This week we'll explore sloth on the continuum of work and rest, both of which can be overdone and underdone; both of which, when engaged in healthy rhythms, can be virtuous; and both of which, when taken to extremes, can be vices. At some point saying "Just work harder", fails to address the desires and hangups that lie behind our expressions of sloth. It's whats going on behind it that we're interested in.
Two people may even be doing the same thing. While one is satisfied, one may not be.The most significant things in life such as one’s personal satisfaction are beyond measure. Perhaps sloth is to ignore the priceless gift of life. Resting and self-care are not. There is not a binary relationship between working and laziness. “The putting back to sleep of our vital powers” rather than contributing to the world in a fulfilling way is slothful, but this is also subjective. It is never just believing in the right things.
To live fully and “unfurl one’s energies,” one cannot be above wisdom of others. The ego tends to discard everything that is beneath oneself. In a way, love your job even if you hate your job in that moment. Being able to commit an identical energy in any circumstance, without ego will allow for freedom and fulfillment. The poet Rilke says: just to be here is glorious.
There is also the paradox of performing busy work to avoid the necessary work. This stems from the avoidance of failure and self-discovery. The busy work serves to insulate us from what we really should be doing. Meanwhile, those that are the closest to us may have intuition to how we appear objectively versus how we appear to ourselves. Often, they can perceive more clearly that we are distracting ourselves out of a fear of failure. We worry that something will go wrong needlessly, since we can rest assured that it will. Our choice then, is to continue mindlessly into our lives or accept challenges that arise, to live more fully.
In our culture we inherit the “bootstrap ethic” in which only constant work is validated and necessary rest and self - care are neglected and even frowned upon, in which we are only motivated by guilt and run ourselves ragged to prove our own productivity. This is dangerous as psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety may be wrongly perceived as laziness. This is work that we must do on ourselves, and not a scale by which to judge our neighbors.
When we pray for God to return our lives to a happy productive state, but refuse to do any work for ourselves we cannot expect religion to act as a crutch instead. For fulfillment to be worthwhile it is going to cost.To deny the love in the gift of life is sloth and love is the life worth giving our power to.
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We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.
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