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Effectiveness at What Price?

Is an anxiety for results undermining discipleship?

In the book Compassion, Henri Nouwen and his co-authors make an interesting observation about our society's impatience. The authors allege that we live in a world structured around impatience; entire economies are built on that principle; the one-hour time slot has become a tyrant. Although I think that technology is the dominant image of this in our days, Nouwen and his colleagues - writing 25 years ago - saw travel as embodying this impatience:

The transportation business is, in fact, a commercialized impatience. Impatient people might be difficult at times, but too much patience would mean the bankruptcy of many companies. (Compassion, p. 90)

Nouwen and his co-authors aren't only implicating our culture and economy for feeding the idol of impatience. They are warning the church about the threat that impatience poses to discipleship.

Surely there are valuable aspects of the many industries that play to our impatience. Travel is one; but the list of services that are both convenient and ...

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