01 January 2014

I Know Nothing...

On the First Day of the Year (as we record them) I encountered this column from the "Huffpost" by Ben Michaelis, Ph. D. author and clinical psychologist.  He is listing the "Nine Best Books for Meaningful Change." I haven't read a single one.  And do note, these are not the Nine Best Books of 2013," but the "Nine Best Books" period. 

Great way to start the year, feeling Nine kinds of ignorant. 

Yes, I knew about some of them, and sometimes I knew the author's names if not the title.  All of them are hypercompetent folk compared to me, as they have written books and gotten them published.  I, on the other hand, find it tough to get the weekly sermon thing done.  My tweets are less than one a day.  This blog has languished. 

Great way to start the year, feeling Nine kinds of incompetent. 

In fact it has been a pretty lame year when it comes to reading as well as writing.  Not many books digested overall. Maybe six in all of 2013.  My stack of unread NYTimes magazines and Journals of Religion and Smithsonians and National Geographics keeps growing.  Not that I am not reading, but serious stuff seems always to be what I start at 9 pm and then my eyelids droop. 

Great way to start the year, feeling Nine kinds of lazy.

Maybe being older is involved.   I am on the verge of 61.  Nothing on my mind has not been said already by people I have known or read before, and people way smarter and more eloquent than me. That's not ignorance, that's being sensible.

I see older friends writing books between sermons, but before wishing for their work ethic let me consider what I would have to give up in trade?  Perhaps I am not incompetent so much as wise.

And while I do think I spend too much time doing unproductive things, this past month reminded me that clergy cannot fill every hour because sometimes your people will need you right then and not when you can schedule them.  My Facebook friends know on December 21 I created one funeral, on December 22 preached at two Sunday services, on December 23 led another funeral, on December 24 was part of two Christmas Eve services, on December 27 led yet a third funeral, and on December 29 was leading worship again.  That's nobody's idea of lazy, even my own. 

So I am going to let myself off the hook for at least today - Watch the Rose Bow, "Go Green," do some ironing, and maybe finish last Sunday's New York Times.