Sunday, September 16, 2007

A time for everything?

Reverendmother has already written eloquently on the concept of time scarcity. After much thinking, I am ready to sign on. I've been thinking a lot about time management and all the things that are expected of us, and how difficult it is to get volunteers and to get youth involved in church things and all kinds of other stuff.

You see, we started this new Wednesday Evening program, which is awesome and so far has been a wonderful success (in its two weeks!). But I'm having trouble getting volunteers to help out with things like children's storytime, helping coordinate food/catering, and cleanup. If we continue like this, the program will last maybe another month before I die. That sounds melodramatic, but I mean it. There's just not enough time for me to do all of the things involved in WEAVE and also the youth and also supervising sunday school and also teaching confirmation and also leading worship and also and also and see what I mean.

Now, I know that people are busy. I understand that none of us have the amount of time we want to do the things we want/need to do. The question is: how do we still get things done? I don't know the answer to that yet. I want to be like Jesus: just stop in the middle of the work and take a rest. but I haven't done it yet--it's been three weeks since I had a whole day off. Or even a half a day REALLY off.

On to the real point of this post. Given the fact that no one has the amount of time they would like to have, why is it that we feel the need to be busier than other people, or to suggest that our time is more valuable than others' time, or to prove that our things or our busyness is more important than others? Can we not just say "we're all busy, how can we spread the work-love?" instead of "don't tell me how busy you are...I'm even more busy!" or "it's just a small inconvenience for you to do that." Both of those are unhelpful and condescending things to say, and they only make us defensive. Or at least, they make me defensive. I recognize that's not a helpful response, but it's my response nonetheless. And the follow up response is to prove my busyness by being more busy, which is, frankly, stupid.

So, how can I stop being stupid?

It's clear that I need to change this pattern ASAP because the fall will kill me, either physically or spiritually. My brain is full, things fall through the cracks (like my hardboiled eggs, the most benign of the examples from last week), and that makes people anxious. but part of my job is to not be the one producing anxiety. you know?

I think that's all I have to think about for today. I'm sure there will be more as I continue to think about this. For now, I'm going to eat dinner, listen to Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me by podcast, and figure out the children's time for tomorrow. yippee!


  1. So here's my take on being busy. We here in America wear it like a badge of honor. The more busy we are, the more productive (we think) we're being. If I'm busy, I must be important. It's a status symbol to be over-busy. It's a totally American psychosis and we've pretty much all bought into it. In a country that values being productive above all else, it's really no wonder we have this complex.
    I'll have to think on this more, after I've finished my coffee.

  2. I think that's true...I guess my question is why, within the church, do I constantly have this feeling like we are trying out-busy one another? We should know better.

  3. So, is this a usual pattern at your church? Expecting the pastor/program person to pick up the pieces? If so - time to challenge that expectation - perhaps simply announce that the program will discontinue/reduce in frequency if the bases are covered. I KNOW it's not that simple but it's coming up on the end of your first full year there, and your ordination anniversary is coming up. Conversation with senior pastor and session in order perhaps, or at least committee folks who should be shouldering this burden?? Priesthood of ALL belivers....not just some who are busier/less busy than others.....

    You can say no - read BBT's latest column in Christian Century for encouragement...

    Thinking of you, Teri -

  4. the main problem here is that we do not currently have a functional committee structure. We are just about to constitute committees at tonight's session meeting. And when we think about a program like WEAVE, which includes both fellowship and education components, who is responsible for the program?

    Nothing is ever simple, is it?

    We'll see what happens. I am still trying to recruit people to do the helping/organizing of this.

    RE is the expectation that the pastor will pick up the pieces...umm, sometimes. I'm actually running into a weird woman-pastor thing here, I think actually. People do things if SP asks, but if I ask they often say no and then assume it will still get done. Funny thing about that is that I may actually have responsibility for more "things"--cuz I'm sort of the "program" pastor. SP does many things, but in terms of responsibility for a whole program or ministry, that's all me, what with all the education/youth/adult ed, deacons, fellowship, etc. Anyway, working on it!