The Myth of Urgency

Kulturgeschichte / Religionsgeschichte / Juden / 19. Jh.Urgency seems to be the the tool of choice these days. If only I had a dollar for every time I heard something akin to, "This is the critical moment." If I'm going to make up a number, I'd say 85% of urgent situations are a marketing tool. Manipulation. Whether it's about making money or hustling an idea.

It's not that there aren't actually urgent needs, but we've blurred the line between crisis and simply less than ideal. Never mind that how I try to sell an idea today dilutes the notion of urgency for a later and more important cause; I want results. Over and over again, the ends justify the means.

It isn't that urgency is necessarily peddled with malicious or greedy motives, though I am skeptical of anyone under a $60 million contract regularly and vehemently telling wolf stories. Most people simply care, and relative to the carefree life they've experienced, everything appears as crisis.

I used to help at a soup kitchen in Columbus, Ohio called Manna Cafe. The woman who ran the place, lets call her Fran (I don't remember what her name was) was lively to say the least, "Praise the Lord and pass the Mennonites" she would exclaim whenever we rolled in with our 15 passenger Ford. A group would pile out, quickly dissipating into pecking order based on how often they had visited. Newbies hung back, held tight to their wallets, practically covering ears with their shoulders. Those who had already been there a few times headed straight for the entrance, offering a "hi" or two to whoever was slouched against the stone wall in the alley. The church was after all in a 'rough' section of the city, especially from the perspective of mainly rural dwellers. It took some getting used to.

The thing that struck me about Fran, was that no matter what was happening, she never seemed too worried about it. Even when fights broke out, she stepped in, asked someone to leave, then called the police if needed. For all her refusal to panic (at least the times I was present) she had the respect and attention of the community. Her years helping people  on the streets had left her resilient and difficult to suprise

And there are others like Fran, people like pastor Gary, who continue to explore, learn, then thoughtfully express what they've found, convincing me with their wisdom rather than their sense of panic. Their composure didn't communicate apathy, and it certainly didn't keep them from acting in moments of actual crisis. Rather, it showed that they understood something deeper about the way things work.

It was as though they understood that somehow and eventually, things would end up as they should be.