There aren’t enough hours in the day! Who hasn’t expressed these exasperated words? We feel shackled to the taskmaster of time with continual demands from every direction.There’s got to be another way of living! We know the time-management programs, no matter how well intentioned, don’t get at the underlying problems. On Thursday, June 7th join a conversation offering a perspective on living into a different sense of God among us in the local – webinar.
St. Augustine said that God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are always too full to receive them. Rather than trying to guilt us out, he’s inviting us to see another way. The challenge isn’t to find a new time management app but learning to empty our hands a little to receive what God wants to give us. It’s a journey that starts with small steps. As I wrote in my recent book Practices for the Refounding of God’s People, the crisis confronting Christian life is not a lack of methods and programs for change or innovation but a loss of capacity to discern and trust God’s agency in our lives. Modernity’s wager (life can be lived well without God) leaves us driven by the demands of a globalized capitalism and institutions that are far away from our everyday lives. These systems speed everything up while undermining the ordinary and everyday. In this nexus, God has been turned into a useful resource for making our out of control lives work, a place-holder for us to find some ‘mindfulness’ or quiet time. Hence, our hands always stay too full to receive what God wants to give us.
Our lives seem to be continually accelerating. We look for explanations in the pervasiveness of a technology that demands 24/7 attention to work, news cycles, tweets, emails or… But these are not the real causes. This sense of there not being enough hours in our day comes from a disconnect, a dyschronicity, at the heart of modernity’s wager. If synchronicity is confidence that the events in our lives are woven into some deeper connections, into a larger story in which we live, then dyschronicity suggests that for most of us the events, moments, schedules and demands in our lives have been absented of any such overarching story beyond the belief that we make up our own lives as we go. The cultural theorist, Byung-Chul Han, in The Scent of Time proposes that our lives have ceased to be embedded in any ordering structures or coordinates that could provide direction and duration, we have become radically transient and atomized so that an absolute value is placed upon the imperative of work and action. This imagination is now so embedded in the modern world that we no longer see it, assuming it to be the norm and, hence, “there aren’t enough hours in the day”. Programs of time management wont get at this reality because they fail to comprehend the underlying malaise. As God’s people, our lives need to be be immersed in the rhythms of the local and everyday, in practices of everyday life that give us the capacity to see our captivity and resist. Join the conversation.