There is a PDF version of this Discussion Guide here.
Part 1, Chapter 2: a brief history of speed; and Chapter 3: something is deeply wrong.
Review, Reflect and Discuss
Feel free to comment and raise any questions that occur to you as you read. Don’t be limited to the questions listed after each summary, but they might help to prime your thinking.
Chapter 2 – JMC gives a quick (ironic!) overview of how the pace of life has ‘sped up’, and touches briefly on some of the innovational culprits of this acceleration: the sun-dial, the clock tower, the light bulb, labour-saving devices, the internet and the iPhone. He points out we get less sleep and less of what we thought we’d have more of – leisure! There has been the loss of Sabbath and the internet and Netflix eat away at our time and our attention span; apparently, we have less of an attention span than goldfish! He argues that ‘everything is being intentionally designed for distraction and addiction.’ He quotes from people who have been in this industry, from Silicon Valley, and who are now ‘conscientious objectors’ to it. He asks the question: what is this pace of life, and the distraction and addiction, doing to our souls?
- Are you convinced by the author’s analysis of how the pace of life has increased and that there is an industry that is intentionally seeking to distract us and get us addicted? Is this true or a conspiracy theory? Can you see how it might have drawn you in?
- If it is true, what might it be doing to our souls?
Chapter 3 –. Psychologists talk about ‘hurry sickness’. It is ‘a form of violence on the soul.’ JMC lists 10 symptoms of hurry sickness (I suggest you review them). The answer is not guilt and shame, but we do need to take the problem seriously and recognise that hurry sickness is toxic, a threat to our emotional and spiritual health. It eats away at our ‘attention’ – our ability to attend to the moment. Attention leads to awareness, especially our awareness of God. And what we give our attention to determines the person we become. Apprentices of Jesus are called to give their attention to him. This is the secret to living life well.
- How did you do with that list of the symptoms of hurry sickness? Any you relate to?
- In what way is hurry sickness toxic? How does it damage our emotional and spiritual health?
- Why do you think that the ability to ‘pay attention’ is key to following Jesus and living a good life?
We get to Part 2: The Solution, thankfully! Read Chapter 3: Hint, the solution isn’t more time; and Chapter 4: The secret of the easy yoke.
I realise people will be reading this book at different paces, and we don’t want anyone to hurry! Please let me know in a comment below whether you’d like me to have the next discussion guide ready by midweek (Wednesday) or by next weekend?