A Normal Time Burden

It’s now June, and that means that we’ve entered the season of Pentecost, or as they used to call it, Normal Time. It’s a season of the church year that comes about when people have run off to their cabins and other vacations, and so Normal Time gets little press and even less love. So I’ve dreamed up an idea to spice the season up.

I call my idea a “Normal Time Burden.” Think Lenten discipline, but instead of giving something up, take on the burden of reading a book. And not just any book. Read a boring book.

Read a book, not to be entertained, but to learn. Read a book full of obtuse terminology and words that you have to look up. Instead of a free flow of words, slog your way into a strange discipline. Struggle. Slow down. Find a monograph on the classification of mayflies. Read John McPhee’s colossal work of popular geology, Annals of  a Former World.

But why? Why read geology or mayfly taxonomy? How will this improve your standing with God? It won’t. Aside from the fact that reading about mayflies will present you from committing any heinous crimes for a short amount of time, there’s nothing holy about it. And that’s the point.

The idea behind the “Normal Time Burden” is to stop for one moment and not try to “do the right thing” or “be a good person.” That’s it. Just stop and be boring, like a blog post without a picture. It’s Normal Time. Be normal.


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