I'll always advocate for knowing one's God-given limits, learning to say no, honoring the needs of body & spirit, but I'm increasingly convinced that self-care is a frame of radical individualism & can never replace community's responsibility to care for each member.
In this sense, self-care is a coping mechanism that happens when communities collapse. It's a necessary, but poor, substitute for the care we should receive from others.
ISTM that "self-care" can't be understood apart from larger social ethic of bootstrapping--you must care for yourself b/c you can't count on anyone else to care for you. It parallels loss of embodied communities of support: healthy family, broader kinship network, churches, etc.
Yesterday, someone from our new church community dropped off food after they'd heard of my aunt's passing. My daughter asked why they did this.
There's a lot embedded in her question that I can't fully go into (including growing up in pastor's family that was more often a source of care than object, but...) ANYWAY, I told her that this was what functioning, healthy communities did for its hurting members.
Please hear what I'm saying & what I'm not. Of course, we are called to steward our emotional, physical, & spiritual resources. We are limited creatures who must rest & honor the boundaries God has placed on us. We must live humbly & receive help.
But I think this is something slightly different from caring & nurturing. Care & nuture is what we extend & owe each other. In healthy community, someone else is looking out for us just as we are looking out for them.
And part of what healthy community will do is support you as you honor your limits. They will encourage you to rest, support that rest, equip & supply you w/ what you need to rest, etc. You will not be left alone in the work of caring.
But the frame is slightly different. Everyone is called to the work of caring, not just the hurting member. This frame also allows the hurting member freedom to serve other hurting members because the weight of caring for themselves is lifted.
It's really beautiful & ingenious. When it works, of course. There are many ways it can break down & we're left isolated again. But in the best case scenario, none of us would be asked or expected to care for ourselves.
(Going to stretch just a bit & say that the rise in identity politics is really a search for a community that cares. It is a symptom of deeper isolation & a individualistic culture that places weight of survival & flourishing on the individual.
And insofar as a particular aspect of identity has been source of rejection by community--insofar as one had been ostracized & abused rather than cared for--the only alternative is to seek out those who do understand & will care for you. Even if only on basis of shared pain.
But this, again, is a coping mechanism & only works until it doesn't. Better for all, that communities do the hard work of seeing & supporting hurting members. Of bearing each other's burdens & letting the struggles of one affect the whole.
Better that we witness to the gospel by becoming communities of care & support in a world that demands bootstrapping & radical individualism. Better that we become communities that say, "You are not alone. We will walk this road with you.")
Notice the language of "self-care" used as shorthand for getting basic rest & honoring human limits. When societies lose a sense of sabbath, they also lose mechanism & standard for caring for each other. Individuals have no choice but to advocate & look out for themselves.

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More from @sometimesalight

4 Mar
Rt. 40 runs thru my home county in PA & is called the National Road b/c by some definitions, it's the oldest highway in the US, built to facilitate trade & travel w/ the frontier. About 30 minutes from my parents' home, it runs thru a small mountain community called Farmington.
Today, on one side of Rt. 40, you will find New Meadow Run, a community of the Bruderhof, an intentional Christian community of shared work, fellowship, life, & faith. Image
Opposite New Meadow Run, immediately on the other side of the road, you will find Nemicolan Woodlands, an uber-lux "playground" of the rich that includes hotels, a spa, casino, golf course, & polo fields. Image
Read 5 tweets
23 Feb
Reading this from @jdgreear while watching others fully commit to the posture he's calling out, I had a thought:

IME the folks spending the least amount of time preaching the gospel are those spending their time policing whether others "just preach the gospel."
The irony of the "just preach the gospel" stance is how very much time they spend talking about everything else.
Read 9 tweets
13 Feb
There is a direct line btwn how a man treats the women around him and how he treats the Church.
A lot of folks are struggling to make sense of leaders who use their positions of authority to abuse women. They can't figure out how a person could be committed to ministry & do such things.

Let me suggest that such a person was never committed to Christ's Bride.
More likely, such a man was using the Church the exact same way they were using the women they abused.
Read 8 tweets
12 Feb
As another scandal comes to light, we need to remember that the problem isn't simply that *women* aren't on boards or in places to offer accountability. It's that men & women who lack virtue are sitting in seats where good men & women should be.
Healthy communities require at least 2 things: interdepence & virtue.

1) Yes, both men & women are necessary. Our corresponding gifts & life experiences are designed to work together b/c even at our best, we're limited & need each other.
2) But both men & women must be virtuous. I've lived long enough to know that both men & women will happily cover up & minimize scandal for their own ends. They'll do it in different ways, but they'll both do it.
Read 7 tweets
29 Jan
If I could write a series of books like All Creatures, I'd never write again. This would be my deal with the devil.
It's the perfect combination of deep affection for a place, love of people & all their foibles, & respect for the natural world.
I know other folks might have higher ambitions, but I don't need to write the next great novel. I'd just want to write stories that honor place & people as much as All Creatures honors Yorkshire.
Read 4 tweets
29 Jan
I am so enjoying watching folks fall in love w/ the new #AllCreatures. I grew up watching the original w/ my dad & I have to say, my understanding of manhood was pretty much formed by how a man relates to the natural world around him. No offense guys.
Another neat thing watching the show this time around is already knowing the stories & having previous scenes in my head. New series diverges from both book & previous series in some ways but also stays pretty close in core characterization.
You can practically see Samuel West channeling Robert Hardy's Siegfried Farnon in certain stances & phrases. And it's wonderful. West definitely owns the role but also honors previous embodiment.
Read 4 tweets

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