Yesterday I finished a book by a modern pastor/speaker (he resigned from his hip, cool church in 2012) about success. It was an attempt to write a cool, hip, pithy book of common sense ways to keep motivated to succeed:
*Don’t let criticism and negativity defeat you
*Take the first step, then the next, don’t worry about the rest
*Fight to do the work even if you’re not feeling it
*Do lots of things and at least a few will succeed
None of it was bad (except some of his scripture applications), most of it was stuff I’ve heard hundreds of times before. Most of it was a way for the author to brag about how much he does and how important he feels for having done it.
He included bits about being busy and only reading email at certain times and taking one day off a week to not have a phone.
The summary of his book goes like this: do all kinds of stuff at all times to be amazingly productive, which will then ruin your life, so don’t look at your cell phone for one day a week.
After reading this book, I began reading a book about the Amish. The Amish are religious descendants of the Anabaptists, but Jacob Amman thought many of the Anabaptists were too wimpy in their applications.
Amman emphasized separation from the world and shunning, which put him at odds with many Anabaptists, to the point that Amman began a new group, eventually called, The Amish.
The Amish have made a point of separating themselves from modernity. They don’t think cars and technology are evil, they think getting cars and other technology leads to the isolated, lonely, non-community, hectic, me-first, rush-rush, ignore old people and the weak, modern lifestyle.
The summation of Amish belief is like this: avoid modern technologies so you can lead a slower, more reflective lifestyle that will lead to healthy and productive lives.
If I had to choose between the two lifestyles, I would go Amish in a second. I do think their take on modern life is much more biblical than the hyper-active pastor book. No, I don’t agree with all Amish doctrine (although much of it is quite good, based on the best Reformer, Menno Simons), but I do think they are on to something.
Our culture leads to inner rottenness. It saddens me to see pastors tell their people God wants you to be busy-busy, going after all the world’s stuff. I think the Amish go overboard in their efforts to tell others what separation means (as I think it means something different for each of us), but I do think the church should increasingly encourage their people to separate from the world as God leads.
those who deal with the world [be] as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
I imagine this means something, and I imagine what it means will strike our flesh as being very uncomfortable and inconvenient.
I have to go on eBay to bid on a buggy now.