Pastor Matt Recommends “The Wisdom of Stability”

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

I stumbled across Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s “The Wisdom of Stability” and I’m not really sure why I purchased it.  The first time I flipped through it, I thought, “Great! Another ‘too cool for school emergent urban monastic’ who think the desert fathers and Thomas Merton rather than the Bible will change your life!”  But I whittled down my “to read” pile to it, threw it in my carry-on and…well…it was a long flight to Phoenix this morning.

I polished off a book on systems theory and a history of American literature (I’m a rockin’ fun party kind of guy!) and then cracked open the work by Wilson-Hartgrove’s (please tell me he didn’t add his wife’s last name to his with a hyphen!) and was pleasantly surprised.

Wilson-Hartgrove admonishes followers of Christ to “cultivate stability” by intentionally rooting ourselves in the place where we live rather than fall prey to the culture’s dictate to constantly seek to climb the ladder of success that often leads us to move several times in our life and never really establish a home.  Wilson-Hartgrove (that’s becoming annoying to write over and over again) doesn’t deny that Jesus often sends us out or that true stability is always found in the faithfulness of God but he believes that the denizens of modern culture suffer spiritually from our hypermobility.  The author (I’m not writing that last name again) doesn’t preach that stability is THE answer but believes that a committment to stability of place will add depth to our lives and to our churches. 

The Wisdom of Stability boasts a brilliant forward by Kathleen Norris, whose Acedia and Me also brilliantly dealt with the problem of rootlessness breeding shallow restlessness.  Norris writes with a bit of snarkiness, “How dreary to consider that God has given us this family, this spouse, these colleagues on the job, this church congregation.  Surely we are meant for important things, and our talents will be appreciated by a more sophisticated crowd.”  Hopefully many ministers will read these words as directed to them as well as the professionals they often hypocritically label as shallow for I know too many pastors who believe the answer to their unhappiness lie in another city with a large and/or more sophisticated church.  It certainly hit me.

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