The words from the title to this essay come from the hymn “Immortal, Invisible.” They are the writer’s attempts to describe two contrapuntal characteristics of God: God is always working, and God is never in a hurry.
It is a lesson that my wife Varita and I have been reflecting on and trying to live into for quite some time. How do we be active without being hurried or harried?
I actually enjoy being in a hurry. I enjoy the adrenalin rush of going from one thing to another to another. Going from one meeting to another to another is not a burdensome thing. I enjoy being “in the know.” I read the news on my phone from several news sources. I am a news and political and ecclesiastical junkie.
Life has a way of catching up with us. It does that through the death of a family member or friend, through a troubled relationship, maybe through becoming an “empty nester” for the first time, being unmarried and wishing it were not so, or through a change in a job or retirement.
God wants to use these significant events in our lives—if we let him—to catch our attention, to help us to look up, to look at eternity rather than to distract ourselves from looking at those events—so that we might more fully enter into those events and be more fully alive than ever before. Jesus said he came that we might “have life and more abundantly.”
“Unresting, unhasting”—God is always at work in our life, yet we may not perceive it. Often he is at work in such subtle ways that in our busyness we fail to notice or hear. Not to worry; something else will happen in your life that will catch your attention that will give you the opportunity to be fully alive and not just busy.
God really does want to give you a fully rich and satisfying life. And he is “unresting” and “unhasting” in his attempts to help you discover it.
I think it is supposed to make the rest of us adults feel old, but I’m not buying it.
What am I talking about? The Mindset List.
The most recent Mindset List has been released by Beloit College. It is a summary of the events and experiences that have shaped the values of each year’s entering college Freshmen.
It’s published every year, and I suspect we’re all supposed to look at it and be amazed at what this year’s entering college freshman don’t know, and make us feel old in the process. I look for it to be released every year. It is fun to read.
Here are some of the items from this year’s list.
Since they have been on the planet:
- Google has always been there.
- They have never licked a postage stamp.
- They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.
- Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers don’t know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are planning a party.
- If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”
- They built their reading skills through all seven volumes of the Harry Potter books.
- The eyes of Texas have never looked upon The Houston Oilers.
- Teachers have always had to insist that term papers employ sources in addition to those found online.
- Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have always been members of NATO.
- TV has always been in high definition.
- Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.
- They watch television everywhere but on a television.
What does this gosh-they’re so young-they-don’t-know-what-we-know mean for us?
The authors, Ron Nief, Public Affairs Director Emeritus, and Tom McBride, Professor of English and Keefer Professor of Humanities, both at Beloit College, tell us that the purpose is to help adults start conversations with these high school graduates. That’s a pretty good start.
Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. So, this Mindset List also means that we all should extend grace to one another:
- Grace to the youngers whose life experience is not the same as the olders and will have to make their own mistakes just as the olders did.
- Grace to the olders who once thought they were as smart and “with it” as this younger generation is, and that the youngers will make their own mistakes as did the olders before them.
- Grace to all so that none of us fall into either a generational or historical arrogance. People of previous generations were just as smart as the current generations.
- Grace to ourselves, of whatever generation we are, that we not lose the sense of wonder and awe of both God’s creation as well as the wonder and awe of how God created us.
Did You Know . . .
As a student of history, one of the things that I find great pleasure in is in being the Dean of a historic church (by Dallas standards). St. Matthew’s Cathedral is rich in history. To kick off this blog in our new website, I thought I’d give you a bunch of facts from our history that I think might be of interest to people (or people who are church nerds like I am).
So, here we go. Did you know that . . .
• St. Matthew’s was the third church formed in Dallas and the first church to have a full-time resident pastor?
• The first Cathedral was built with funds collected by a group of gamblers collected because the then Rector (and later Dean) Silas Davenport had been so kind to them?
• Bishop Garrett’s son, Henry “Dad” Garrett invented the traffic light, the two-way police radio, and started WRR?
• Bishop Garrett once served as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church?
• When Bishop Garrett died, the mayor of Dallas called for a moment of silence throughout the city of Dallas?
• The Cathedral once owned two copies of a large gilt-edged 1892 Book of Common Prayer published by J.P. Morgan? There were only one hundred copies of this book printed.
• Lady Bird Taylor Johnson was a student at St. Mary’s College?
• A former Dean, Hudson Stuck, helped bring college football to Dallas, over the protestations of the Methodists and Baptists?
• This same Hudson Stuck left Dallas to become Archdeacon of the Yukon in Alaska and was the first white man to scale Mt. McKinley (Mt. Denali)? (When his group arrived, Dean Stuck urged the native guide to reach the top first. Dean Stuck then joined him.)
• The first air conditioning system in the Cathedral came from the 1936 Texas Centennial? Half of the system went to the Neiman-Marcus store downtown and half to St. Matthew’s Cathedral.
• In 1948 and ’49 KRLD hosted a weekly radio program featuring a group of teenagers “The Gremlins Club” who read scripts taken from their meetings? This club was made up of gang members who were brought to faith through the ministry of a Curate at St. Matthew’s. (Listen to the sermon telling this story here.)
• In 1963, St. Matthew’s Cathedral hosted the Protestant memorial service in Dallas for the slain President John F. Kennedy? (The Cathedral was full to overflowing that day.)
• Tim Mack, our Chancellor, served as an acolyte for that service?
• In 1997, St. Matthew’s Cathedral held the Memorial Service for Princess Diana?
• St. Matthew’s Cathedral has hosted two Archbishops of Canterbury?
What will be the hallmarks of our generation, do you think?