Recently, I was interviewed by The High Calling on the topic of Advent. Well, strictly speaking, I was interviewed by Marcus Goodyear, the Senior Editor of The High Calling and one of my colleagues at Foundations for Laity Renewal. Marcus does a fine interview, which means, from my point of view, that his questions were relevant to the topic at hand and slightly unexpected. In other words, he made me think. No well-worn soundbites for me!
Advent is about waiting, and our culture is not good at waiting. Why do you think our culture is so impatient?
Now that is a challenging question, don’t you think? The easy question would have been: Is our culture good at waiting? (Of course not.) Can you give some examples of how our culture is not good at waiting? (Yes, easily.) But why is this so? What makes us have such a hard time with waiting? Now this is something worth thinking about.
In case you’re interested, here’s the answer I gave to Marcus:
You know, American culture is about productivity and effectiveness and efficiency, getting more with less effort. I think some of the things that have made our lives better and quicker, like washing machines, also contribute a sense that we need to hurry along. So much in life is oriented that way. I don’t know that we’re unique in the world, but I think we’re certainly one of the fastest cultures there is. Most of us are raised in this kind of culture. It’s more acute in urban areas, and that increasingly is everywhere. I think it’s been sped along, if you will, by the Internet and the ability to get things instantly, like an eBook. You don’t have to go anywhere. With about three clicks of a button, you not only purchase the book, but in just a few seconds, you can literally have it and read it. Now, that’s not waiting.
Okay, so that was a rather rambling answer. The ironic part came when I mentioned an e-book. The occasion for my interview with The High Calling was the publishing of my e-book, Discovering Advent: How to Discover the Power of Waiting on God at Christmastime. It had not occurred to me until my interview that I had published a book on waiting through a technology that allows us to avoid waiting almost completely. If you want to purchase Discovering Advent, you don’t have to wait until you can visit a bookstore. You don’t have to wait for it to be shipped in the mail. Rather, if you own a Kindle or Nook, you can be reading the book in just about a minute. Sometimes life is strange.
If you’d like to read the rest of my interview with The High Calling, you can find it here. Thanks, Marcus, for helping me to think some new thoughts about Advent.