According to Kirk Byron Jones, who teaches social ethics and pastoral ministry at Andover Newton Theological Seminary, speed is not only accepted in American culture, it is saluted as the regulating ideal of life. More and more people seem to have less and less time for relationships and community. This is reason for concern, says the author: “When hurry becomes a chronic condition, when we run even when there is no reason to, when we rush while performing even the most mundane tasks, it may be said that we have become addicted to hurry. Thousands of us are addicted to hurry whether we admit it or not.”
Jones is convinced that this need for speed can diminish the quality of our lives and put a desultory spin on patience, judgment, depth, joy, dialogue, personhood, and spirituality. What lies behind this idolatry of acceleration? Jones suggests we are running away from aches and fears, from ourselves, and from God. He then presents some spiritual strategies for slowing down.
At the heart of this anti-rushing alternative is the practice of savoring our experiences. This means slowing down so we have time to smell the roses. Jones spells out what this can mean in chapters on seeing more clearly, listening more carefully, and thinking more deeply. We especially liked the following prayer by theologian Howard Thurman: “Keep alive in me the forward look, the high hope. The onward surge. Let me not be frozen either by the past or the present. Grant me, O patient Father, Thy sense of the future without which all life would sicken and die.” Quality of life and commitment are only possible when we live fully in the present moment.
Jones adds exercises and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, making this book a fine resource for small groups or journalers. His other publications, the book Rest in the Storm: Self-Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers and the 50-card pack Savoring Pace Life Lines, provide additional ways to help you change your pace of living. Finally, Jones offers a weekly reflection and a "pace practice suggestion" at his website: www.savoringpace.com.