Thursday, September 07, 2006

Slow Down the Words

I’ll never forget learning my multiplication tables in 3rd or 4th grade and being able to rattle them off faster than anyone in class. Apparently I thought there was some value in being able to say them quickly.

I was a fast test-taker also. I was always the first one done on quiz day. I remember in college thinking…”I may not have all the answers but at least I’ll be the first one to lunch.” (By the way I’m pursuing a master’s degree now and I’ve noticed that I’m still often the first one done with the test.)

And then there’s reading. I have always been a fast reader partly because I enjoy reading. (My father obviously recognized this in me. He started feeding me C.S. Lewis stuff at a pretty early age. I remember reading “Screwtape Letters” at around the age of 11 or 12. See why I have issues? I’m not even out of grade school yet and I’m reading “Screwtape Letters”.) But truthfully another reason why I’m a fast reader is because I too often read to conquer… or read like I’m running a race. I read as though when I get to the end I will win! I forget that sometimes along the way things make more sense than they do at the end. In other words… (Cue up the Cliché of the week music)… it’s the journey not the destination.

By the way, have you ever tried reading the Bible like it was a race? I’ve missed a lot of ‘stuff’ over the years because I simply go too fast. The Bible should not be read like a ‘how to’ manual. It shouldn’t be read like you read the newspaper. It shouldn’t be read to conquer something. It really should be read like you read poetry. Have you tried reading poetry lately? Some people don’t like poetry. My guess is partly because they have the same problem I do… they just read to get to the end and they don’t really enjoy the journey. You can’t read poetry that way. It really won’t make sense. The only way it has a chance of working is if you can slow down and digest each word and each line seeing how it all fits together. I came across this poem a while back. I don’t know who Hester H Cholmondelay is but this is good.

Still as of old
Men by themselves are priced –
For thirty pieces Judas sold
Himself, not Christ
Hester H Cholmondelay

One my favorite poets is William Blake, a believer from England in the 1800’s. (by the way the 1800’s seemed to have a lot of creative people… Van Gogh, Monet, Brahms, Joseph Haydn. C.S. Lewis, Picasso and J.R.R. Tolkien were all born in the 1800’s as well although they didn’t make an impact until the 1900’s, of course.)

The hand of vengeance found the bed
To which the purple tyrant fled
The hand of stone crushed the head
And became a tyrant in his stead
William Blake

Bottom line. Slow down. Chew on the scriptures. Absorb life. There’s really little value in being able to run through it quickly.



jtc said...

I think for me it all comes down to patience. I need to remind myself all the time to slow things down…knowing that there is more to loose than gain in my constant attempt to rush through things. The difficulty for me is finding balance between being driven and at the same time being patient… but I have heard it said that Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience

Hey while I’m at it can I send a shout out to God thanking him for his unwavering patience with me!

jonathan foster said...

that's good. that's why no one has accused me of being a genius!

oh yeah, His love is unfailing and His faithfulness lasts for generation to generation.