Slowing Down & Intentionality

August 1, 2019
  • Rev. Katie Romano Griffin

In the Pagan Wheel of the year, August 1st represents the first harvest. It is a time to begin to reap the benefits of the labors of summer. Some apple varieties are ripe for picking, it’s time to enjoy fresh blueberries is certain climates, which means my Aunt Martha is going to make Blueberry Buckle pie. So good. It also means that animals will be blessed in thanks for the work they have done, while also preparing them to survive cold winters ahead. Food will be canned and jarred, herbal teas for health and wellness will be made. This turning of the wheel is a time to reflect on what we have learned from summer and what we must plan for as we look forward into the year. Moving from summer activities to preparation for this coming church year, I find myself in perfect rhythm with the wheel’s turning.

This summer I was blessed to have some time for vacation as well as study leave and reflection. While I have done some writing work and had the pleasure of reading some incredible works of UU and non-UU theologians and historians, what I treasured most about this summer was that it was a time to reconnect with where I come from, my amazing family, who I am, my call, my ministry, and what it means to do ministry in these anxious times we find ourselves living through. As I nurture the fruits of this first harvest and plan for what is coming this year, I can’t help but feel excited and hopeful, while also a sense of trepidation as I consider the difficult waters we will be navigating.

This summer angry and racist tweets flooded our feeds and record high temperatures served as a sweltering reminder that we have just under two decades to save the planet. I wondered, as I witnessed more and more shouting and polarization how we, as a global community, might begin to stop shouting at each other long enough to make life-saving choices. The times are demanding we move faster, but I wonder if faster is really working.

Years ago David Essel published a book with Random House called Slow Down: The Fastest Way to Get What You Want. The premise of his work was that in this face-paced world, moving faster is not the answer. Instead, by slowing down and moving through life with both attention and intention, we are better poised to make long lasting change. I have observed our US culture moving faster and faster toward destruction rather than construction over the last decade and wonder if there are some clues in Essel’s work about changing this trend and how our theologically liberal faith can be life saving if we just make time to really lean into our faith in these trying times.

What if we moved more intentionally with our faith in our homes, within our church building and outside its walls? What if we all agreed to focus on slowing down in our lives to live sustainably in all areas, including work, family and volunteerism? What might it mean for us to have more meals together and strengthen our relationships as a community? What if we had deeper more meaningful conversations at our wonderful new and returning Adult and Child Religious Education programs, spiritual programming and social activities? What might that look and feel like for us all and how could it be a part of shifting the world?

As we move together through this turning, what will create life for you, for our community and the world? I would love to hear your thoughts and hope that we can connect on some innovative ways of moving through this next year and beyond.

Believing in you,

Rev. Katie