Facing the Tyranny of Time on the Spiritual Life

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 I can’t seem to get by without it and yet, I really don’t want to have to face it. Over and over again, it comes up as something of great importance even for things, I feel at times, are very unimportant. We can’t ever get it back but we human beings sure can “waste” it.

Time, in my opinion, has become a tyrant. And those who have control of other people’s time, have found it a willing tool to manipulate others' emotions, behaviors, and even their souls.

Author, Joe Zadeha observed back in 2021, “During an era in which social constructs like race, gender and sexuality are being challenged and dismantled, the true nature of clock time has somehow escaped the attention of wider society. Much like has happened with money, the clock has come to be seen as the thing it was only supposed to represent: The clock has become time itself.” (The Tyranny of Time, https://www.noemamag.com/the-tyranny-of-time/ June 3. 2021)

The old saying goes that “time marches on.” Days come to pass and then years and before we know it, we look back on our lives and feel the weight of how we have spent our time. Of course, no one looks back on their deathbed and says, “I wish I spent more time at the office,” and yet, we are prone to do just that or we find we have wasted it on fleeting things that leave us wondering what happened to our time?

I don’t apologize for using my Franklin Planner to schedule my day, or allowing Google Calendar to remind me of things coming up in my schedule…but how did we get to a point that we have made, allowed this thing called time to be a thing of shame? Why do people who have personal assistants and virtual assistants get to tell everyone else how to live? That is “rich” indeed! I can’t tell you how many courses I have been through that have told me how often I should post on my blog and how often I need to produce YouTube videos to be “effective” and grow my audience in this virtual world.

During the pandemic, there have been voices trying to get our attention - to use these days to reset how we approach life - to rethink. But many more voices have been speaking even louder, demanding we get our world “back to normal” or “back on track.”

But was any of what we were doing normal? Was our world ever on track? Back on track has us on the brink of war in Europe and in Asia. Back on track has created even greater polarization within our society and back on track and back to normal has us right back into comparing the haves and have-nots and the powerful grabbing even more power and free nations giving rise to new tyrannies.

Into all of this, we adopted a new kitten. Luna has no interest or cares for time other than the time spent playing with strings and with her big sister cat, Zoe.  She is fascinated by our bird and loves her big brother, our great Pyrenees, Dibs. She doesn’t have any thought of being afraid. She is learning to live life to fullness.  Time? Pffffftt! 

And she is reminding me that our souls do not operate on a clock and returning to normal or getting on track - is NOT the goal of the spiritual life and journey. I hear the voices calling for “deconstruction” of religions and especially, Christianity. This is wagging the dog though.  We were hearing a call before Covid to deconstruct “Christendom” - this “Christianity” has been at play since Constantine decriminalized Christianity in 313 CE with the Edict of Milan.  This isn’t the faith at all but an imitation, a “copycat” that is a poor representation IF it can even be called a representation of the Christian faith.

Love - Joy - Peace - Patience - Goodness - Kindness - Gentleness - Self-control

There is no law written that out laws these character traits wrote Paul to the Galatian church, and to us today. It matters not who sits on thrones of power and who claims influence online or in society.  

In “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers,” there is a story of Abba Anthony, living, likely in the deserts of Egypt in north Africa, who was praying in his cell when he heard a voice which said to him, ‘Anthony, you have not yet arrived as the state of excellence of a certain man who is a tailor and who dwells in Alexandria.’Then Anthony rose up in the morning, and took a palm stick and departed to him, and when the man saw him, he was disturbed; and Anthony said to him, ‘Tell me what you do, and how you live,’ and the tailor said to him, ‘I do not know that I do any good. I know only that when I rise up in the morning, before I sit down to the work of my hands, I give thanks to God and praise God, and that I set my evil deeds before my eyes saying, “AH the people who are in this city will go into the kingdom of God, because of their financial giving and good deeds, except myself, and I will inherit punishment for my sin’’ and again in the evening, before I sleep, I do the same things.’ Now when Abba Anthony heard these things, he said, ‘Verily, as the man who works in gold, and who does beautiful work, cleanly, and in peace, even so are you; through your beautiful thoughts you will inherit the kingdom of God, while I, who have passed the whole of my life in the desert, separated from people, have never overtaken you.’ (Kindle. Location 2570 of 5823).

Take what you will from the story, but do not miss there is no tyranny of time dictating the tailor's spiritual worth. His heart and his heart's work is only to be humble in heart and mind that his life might be pleasing to God.

When we miss this, we miss it all. Stop looking at the clock or listening to others who miss seeing the way for being in such a hurry.

Love - Joy - Peace - Patience - Goodness - Kindness - Gentleness - Self-control

Do no harm, do good, stay in love with God. This is The Way.
Jedi Pastor Ken

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