Attentive Patience

Only through patience with ourselves and one another can we can grow in other virtues. In this issue our contributors explore the distinctive features of attentive patience, its central role in our discipleship, and why its practice is so difficult for us today.

Kelly Johnson diagnoses our busy scurrying as "anxiety about time." But time is "not a scarce resource slipping away," she counsels; it "is God’s terrible, mysterious patience, in which we meet what is beyond us and come to know ourselves as beloved creatures." Charles Pinches explains how patience protects us against the sorrow that can overwhelm us when we face brokenness in ourselves and the world. Its distinguishing mark, writes Heather Hughes, is not teeth-gritting endurance, but "the hope of Christ who was crucified and is now risen from the dead."

How can we cultivate hope-filled patience? For clues, Melinda Creech examines the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Brad Hadaway reviews the counsel of Simone Weil. Carolyn Blevins recalls how she learned patience through grave personal suffering. Taylor Sandlin suggests our preparation to face such suffering occurs through small acts of patience in worship, oft-repeated, like waiting upon one another at the Lord’s Table. To such exemplars and personal narratives, Heidi Hornik adds the depiction of biblical stories about Jesus and Job in art.

The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore the role of patience in our discipleship. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.

Download the entire Attentive Patience issue and the set of five Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.



Hymns and Worship Service

Inspirational Pieces

Book Reviews

  • "Where Does the Time God?" by L. Roger Owens
    • Mark C. Taylor, Speed Limits: Where Time Went and Why We Have So Little Left
    • Judy Wajcman, Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism
    • Paul Roberts, The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification
  • "Toward a Slow-Enough Church," by Sarah Klaassen
    • Philip D. Kenneson, Practicing Ecclesial Patience: Patient Practice Makes Perfect
    • Jeffrey L. Bullock, Practicing Christian Patience: Encouraging Community, Establishing Peace
    • C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of five Study Guides)