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Efficiency Thinking


Just a few years ago, my sister and I decided to unhook our dishwasher. It was a kind of quiet protest.

We’d noticed that tools of convenience actually tend to make life less convenient. For instance, modern appliances save time. But the saved time comes with a need for more space (to house the appliances) and a larger income (to pay for them and the energy they use). Besides that, I tend to take advantage of the time-savings by adding more stuff to my schedule. I decided that living efficiently would no longer be my standard of success.

But it wasn’t until after we’d made this decision that I started to notice how efficiency thinking had invaded not just our homes but also our businesses and social institutions. Take church, for instance, which has become — in so many cases — a kind of one-stop spiritual shop. Every human need has a program (with more being created all the time). We’re becoming busier and busier, struggling to keep up with committee meetings, service projects, Sunday school commitments, home Bible studies, potlucks, small groups.

People need relationship. We’ve made them pay for it with time and responsibility. And now they don’t have time for what they need, for what’s important. No wonder, then, that so many of my friends are disconnected from church. It’s become so efficient that it no longer functions.

It’s become so efficient that it no longer functions.

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