Have you noticed that when people greet each other saying ‘How are you?’ a frequent response is ‘I’m busy!’ In this book Tim Chester addresses the busyness that afflicts 21st century Christians, particularly those who live in the post industrialised world. In the opening chapter he identifies the symptoms of the disease, demonstrating with alarming accuracy the many attitudes and behaviours that are associated with being over-busy. I was particularly challenged by the thought that intentional or not stating ‘I am busy’ pushes people away, the decoded message being that ‘I am too important to spend time with you’. Ouch!
He goes on to show how the disease of busyness its roots in the systemic changes in the patterns of work and rest that have evolved from the pre industrial era, through the industrial age into the present post-industrialised world that exists in countries like the UK.
No book on busyness would quite be complete without some practical hints on time management, and this is no exception. Indeed many readers will recognise the tips given from other specialist guides on the subject. Where Tim Chester’s book differs, and in my view wins, is that he regards these tools as addressing the symptoms rather than treating the disease.
The second half of the book comprises 6 chapters, each addressing the attitudes of our hearts that incline us to embrace the tyranny of busyness. The crux of the argument is that busyness is not something imposed upon us by forces outside our control. Rather we are driven by desires within our own spirit that we subconsciously believe are satisfied by busyness. As a result we have a love hate relationship with being busy. We loath the stress and burn out that it causes yet crave the significance that it seductively seems to offer. The solution is to accept the rest that Jesus offers those who are weary and burdened. To allow him to satisfy those desires and cravings in our hearts in a way that busyness never will. The antidote to busyness is not doing less, or being more efficient, it is to place our trust completely in Christ.
This is one of those books that the people who most need to read it will claim that they can’t afford the time!
Buy The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness from Amazon UK
Buy The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness from Amazon US
Many of us now inhabit two worlds: the online world which exists through a whole variety of social network media such as Facebook, and the physical offline world. Even those people who never use a computer will have an online existence as a result of the legitimate actions of others. Many are concerned about the impact that online relationships are having on offline relationships. For example more than a third of UK divorce filings in 2011 contained the word ‘Facebook’! How do we respond to this as followers of Jesus? Is social networking an intrinsic evil we should avoid or can it be a useful tool for the gospel?
This helpful little booklet explores some of the underlying issues behind social media: image, identity, idolatry and self-promotion to mention a few. Dr Tim Chester addresses these in a clear and concise manner, drawing upon pastoral and biblical wisdom. He asks questions to help us evaluate the impact of Facebook on our lives and concludes the book with 12 guidelines that he recommends to keep it in an appropriate place in our lives.
- Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say were the people concerned in the room.
- Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t share publicly with your Christian community.
- Ensure your online world is visible to your offline Christian community.
- Challenge one another if you think someone’s online self reflects a self-created identity rather than identity in Christ.
- Challenge one another if you think someone’s online self doesn’t match their offline self.
- Use social networking to enhance real-world relationships, not to replace them.
- Don’t let children have unsupervised Internet access or accept as online friends people you don’t know offline.
- Set limits to the time you spend online and ask someone to hold you accountable to these.
- Set aside a day a week as a technology ‘Sabbath’ or ‘fast’.
- Avoid alerts (emails, tweets, texts and so on) that interrupt other activities, especially reading, praying, worshipping and relating.
- Ban mobiles from the meal table and the bedroom.
- Look for opportunities to replace disembodied (online or phone) communication with embodied (face-to-face) communication.
Buy Will you be my Facebook Friend? from Amazon UK
Buy Will you be my Facebook Friend? from Amazon US