April 11, 2015 / 2013 / May / Amy Richter: Seeking Balance in a Franti...

Amy Richter: Seeking Balance in a Frantic World - A Christian Approach

submitted May 28, 2013 by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1>Amy Richter: Seeking Balance in a Frantic World - A Christian Approach</h1>

We were thrilled to have the Rev. Dr. Amy Richter as our keynote speaker at this year's NEHM conference. Amy's message was an important one for us, and I know it resonated for many throughout the weekend. Amy has graciously offered to allow us to share her remarks with the larger public. Many thanks to Amy for a tremendous contribution to our gathering!
-Matthew Ellis, NEHM

"Seeking Balance in a Frantic World: A Christian Approach"

[T]he lens through which I want to approach this topic is looking at Jesus. But I need to start by saying something out loud that we all to some extent already know: that in many of the ways that we think of balance, Jesus is a terrible role model. If balance, as commonly conceived, is about moderation--the right amount of being and doing, of giving and receiving, of busyness and rest, of time together and time apart--for sustainability and self-preservation, then Jesus is a really bad example.

I mean no disrespect, and I really don't mean to be flippant. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, our lifelong pattern, as the Christmas hymn “Once in Royal David City” says. But in so many ways, his life shows extreme, not balance. And I think it's important to say this, because there are some important ways where Jesus is an example, needs to be an example, for us who are trying to follow him, to be his hands and heart in the world as St. Teresa says, but also some ways in which, if we tried to follow Jesus in pursuit of balance we will fail, and possibly miss our calling, to be the people God intends us each to be. We all know or can think of experiences in our lives in which answering the question What Would Jesus Do, does not necessarily lead to a fruitful answer if our concern is balance, thought of as moderation for sustainability.

For one thing, what the Gospels record as Jesus’ active ministry lasted at most, if we take the gospel of John for our guide, three years. Jesus was not worried about a pension program that requires 30 years of active as the Christmas hymn “Once in Royal David City” says. But in so many ways, his life shows extreme, not balance. And I think it's important to say this, because there are some important ways where Jesus is an example, needs to be an example, for us who are trying to follow him, to be his hands and heart in the world as St. Teresa says, but also some ways in which, if we tried to follow Jesus in pursuit of balance we will fail, and possibly miss our calling, to be the people God intends us each to be. We all know or can think of experiences in our lives in which answering the question What Would Jesus Do, does not necessarily lead to a fruitful answer if our concern is balance, thought of as moderation for sustainability.

Read the whole presentation here.