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The Mad Hatter's Tea Party ~ Steven Mead

Friday, April 01, 2016

Here's a question that often comes up for me: How do we help our congregants make time in their busy lives for sacred purpose? I wish I had the answer to this question. How is it that we overload, overschedule, and overclock our lives? Why is it that we often feel we are always running late? And when we try and settle into our work-life or our home-life or our church-life that somehow we ended up in the Mad Hatter's Tea Party by mistake?

As my wife, Kathleen, paraphrases Brené Brown, “Exhaustion is not a worthwhile status symbol, nor is busy-ness.” How do we make time in our busy lives for what is important? What is important? What do you make time for? Our culture encroaches more and more on "our" time. There used to be "Blue Laws" that banned most commerce on Sundays. Those laws have disappeared, replaced by an unwritten and less potent convention that protected Sunday mornings, reserving them for church-going. And that convention is rapidly eroding too. Your Sunday morning church experience is now competing with shopping, brunch, school events, and sports. Twenty years ago, "average” RE attendance was 3-4 times per month. Today it's twice a month. Church statistics suggest that in our newest family cohort—the Millennials—attending church once a month is becoming the new normal. How will our church adapt to this unfolding dynamic?

What do you prioritize in your life? Let me tell you about our First Unitarian youth. They are busy by anyone's measure. If you are a boomer generation product like me, don't try to compare their lot with yours when you were that age—their lives bear only a small resemblance to the life you led at that age. They almost didn't produce a Youth Service this year—their lives are that full. But they did. They pushed through. They made time for you. They said that you were that important. I hope you were there for them as they were for you.

“If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”

~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Leave space for Sacred Purpose in your life. See you in church.

Steven Mead

Interim Director of Ministries with Children and Youth


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