An author and Clergyman from the Diocese of Durham has issued a challenge for Lent aimed at getting people to give up being busy - if only for half an hour per day to prove to themselves that their lives are not out of control and to discover some of the simple joy of living without doing.
The Revd Canon Dr Stephen Cherry, author of the recently published book subtitled ‘Time Wisdom For Ministry’ aimed at taking clergy beyond busyness, gives time management tips for vicars and curates; has now issued an important challenge for Lent using ideas distilled from the book.
With the season of Lent starting on Ash Wednesday (February 13th) people are deciding what they might ‘give up’. In a break from the traditional ideas like chocolate, or wine or some other tasty treat, Canon Stephen Cherry of Durham Cathedral is suggesting that people give up busyness, in doing so breaking the cycle of relentless activity and rush for just a few minutes each day. He believes that this will give people a chance to review their priorities and adopt a kinder and sustainable way of living that will lead to people being both more spiritually alert and more generous and patient with others.
Canon Cherry, who helps clergy with time management issues and wrote the book to help them develop time wisdom and get through the day without becoming a victim to the busyness syndrome, said : “‘The idea of actively trying to give up busyness in Lent struck me as a really good one. Time is so much more important than chocolate! Many people today talk of experiencing ‘time poverty’ when the reality is that there is plenty of time, we have just not learnt how to live will with its limits.”
To support the challenge, a special website has been set up to help people take part in the ‘I’M NOT BUSY’ campaign http://www.notbusy.co.uk/ Wristbands are available to remind people that they have made a positive decision to slow down a bit. Canon Cherry is also publishing a very short ebook, Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour so that even the busiest people have help at hand. It comes out on Tuesday (February 12), just in time for Lent.
Canon Cherry is adamant that giving up busyness is going to be a real challenge for some people, but that it is primarily a spiritual one. “This is a way of taking Jesus message that ‘time is made for people not people for time’, right out into the marketplace, the workplace, the home and the shopping centre. In all these places people have allowed themselves to get caught in a process of seemingly endless acceleration. People feel stressed and out of control. They find that the faster they run the faster life seems to pass them by.
“Lent is an excellent time to do this. The season of forty days and forty nights reminds Christian people of the time Jesus went into the wilderness. This was after his baptism but before the energetic time of his ministry of teaching and healing. But even at his busiest Jesus punctuated his time of activity and service with regular time to withdraw and recuperate.”
Canon Cherry is insistent that the ‘NOT BUSY’ campaign has a serious spiritual message also. “Many people today who find it impossible to connect with organised religion are finding that spirituality is attractive, helpful and transformative. By giving up busyness, people are taking a step from the observance of religious ritual or duty – giving up chocolate or whatever - and going for a real spiritual challenge.”