Don’t be hasty

January 31, 2012

If you’re familiar with J R R Tolkien’s book The Lord of the Rings, you probably have recall the Ents. A race of Middle Earth charged with shepherding the trees, Ents have a long memory in a way deeply rooted in place and tradition.

One of the characteristics they despise the most is the “hastiness” of other folk. In their councils, called Entmoots, the Ents deliberate upon a course of action through long conversation in their language which itself is anything but hasty–it takes a long time to say something that could be communicated relatively concisely in English in a few words.

In some ways the Ents stand as a sort of critique on those of us living in the internet age who often allow the speed of our communication and information transfer to force us into hasty, knee-jerk reactions. In today’s world, a presbytery votes and we know certainly within the same day and sometimes almost at the instant in which the act occurs (via social media).

This sort of immediacy can be helpful, especially in a case of emergency. However, I wonder whether the speeding up of communication correlates to an increased sense of urgency in decision-making as well as an increased need to react, respond, or comment.

Important decisions, the sort of decisions that require 2 parts wisdom to one part information, require time. They also require communal deliberation as well as waiting before God–no agenda other than seeking guidance.

My advice to myself in these days of fast change has been to slow down, reach out, and take the time to reflect and deliberate in a way that is more Ent than orc.