Last summer I was sitting in the plastic Adirondack chair in my front yard in the evening. My neighbor from down the street, John, came by and commented that I was practicing the lost art of “porch sitting”.
Porch sitting, as John explained, means resting while watching the world go by and actively choosing to opt out.
I like opting out, especially if there is a cold adult beverage involved.
Fast forward a year. I was reading a chapter in Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline, which is a book more or less about lost spiritual arts. After finishing the chapter my mind ran nostalgic, thinking about all of the things we don’t do anymore. We don’t spend hours porch sitting. We don’t talk over fences. We don’t “stop by” for coffee. We don’t “raise barns”. We don’t spin yarns. We don’t skip rocks. We don’t turn wrenches.
I remember “putting up” fruits and vegetables being an all weekend affair that required two aunts and a small family reunion.
Foster says that busy-ness isn’t of the devil, it is the devil. Technology is supposed to simplify and streamline our lives, freeing up our time to enjoy life. Still, we spend hours pouring over e-mail and web page after web page of news and information. There’s no time left for porch sitting. In my Aunt Marian’s home, they all used to sit around while the potatoes finished boiling and pass around sections of the newspaper. Mail was an adventure, especially when the letter had your name on it.
It would seem the phenomenal development of technology has done more to devour our time and isolate us from family than fulfill its promise of saving it.
So, if we really take stock in we have and all we do – if we honestly examine what has become important to us – are we better for our priorities in the 21st Century than we were in the 19th? Grab a lawn chair and sit in your front lawn while you contemplate the answer to that question. We will wait for you right here!
Bert DeVries founded 4BetterOr4Worse Ministry in 2009 to help every man be “crazy in love” with his wife (and vice versa). This organization supports and encourages men to be the kind of husbands their wives will brag about. This call from God has grown the ministry to influence the lives of many married and divorced men. Bert speaks at conferences and in churches about mentoring and building strong marriages. He authored the book “The Answer” – an inward look at the Jesus community’s relationship with the LGBT community.
Bert has been married to Jann DeVries for 23 years. They have a daughter, a son, and a dog. They live in Grand Rapids, MI and attend Grand Rapids International Fellowship church.
4BetterOr4Worse Ministry is a for profit organization. Mentors are trained and mentoring relationships are weekly for 12-18 months. The discipleship method encourages mentees to become mentors as they grow in the Spirit. For more information visitwww.4BetterOr4Worse.org