Tony is a writer, teacher, speaker and ordained minister (United Church of Christ). He served as Senior Minister of Seattle’s Plymouth Congregational Church for fourteen years. His newest book is Useful Wisdom: Letters to Young (and not so young) Ministers. He divides his time between Seattle and a cabin in Wallowa County of northeastern Oregon. If you’d like to know more or receive his regular blogs in your email, go to his site listed above to sign-up.
Post-pandemic shut-downs, many employers are having a hard time filling positions, even with several increases in pay. “The pandemic,” said one employee, “accelerated or accentuated all the feelings I’d had about work/life balance.”
When we lack a story or theological world-view that allows us to see ourselves, and our forebears, more clearly and honestly, we tend to fall back on self-justification, pointing to our record of achievement and service.
Like so many things, it strikes me that modern brain science is confirming what traditional and spiritual wisdom have long taught: moderation is wise. Fasting is a necessary complement to feasting. But we’re up against a culture and economy that tell us to indulge, to enjoy, and to feast all the time as we try to fill some deeper emptiness.
The twenty years of the war in Afghanistan were “America’s longest war.” Donald Trump labeled it “the forever war.” It was long and costly. But I suspect the Taliban saw it differently. Those twenty years weren’t, for them, long.
Rendering yourself more efficient — either by implementing various productivity techniques or by driving yourself harder — won’t generally result in the feeling of having ‘enough time,’ because all else being equal, the demands will increase to offset the benefits.
There are lessons here for Seattle and Seattle politics. While some of the loudest may be calling for “defunding the police” and bringing Amazon to heel, my hunch is that most Seattle voters would just like to see a city that takes care of business and gets some things actually done, like making progress on homelessness and encampments, and fixing the streets and bridges.