Announcing my book: Time and Despondency!
Guess what? I’m writing a book!
It’s about despondency, a sickness of the mind and the soul that ancient theologians termed akedia (acedia), which literally means “carelessness.” In despondency, our souls grow slack and we lose the ability to care and put a meaningful effort forth, particularly in the spiritual life.
Although much has been written about this affliction through the ages, I take a new approach and view it as a byproduct of our broken relationship to time as human beings. In our devolution into carelessness, we escape from the present moment to the past (via regret or a sense of failure) or to the future (via anxieties, fears, or incessant desires and expectations). Beginning to heal from despondency, as I see it, is a process that rests on returning to the present moment.
In doing the research for this book, I’ve become convinced that despondency is not just an affliction of monastics–as a number of early theologians thought–but a sickness of our times. I see it playing out constantly–in my life, in the lives of my loved ones, and in society at large. We live in a culture of escapism–now more than ever, given the tense political environment. I started working on this project before the 2016 election started being in the news, and it’s been interesting to watch things unfold through the lens of my interest in despondency. Things have gotten so fragmented and contentious. In the face of complex, troubling, and seemingly insurmountable brokenness, our first instinct as humans is to throw up our hands, trudge dejectedly out of the ring, and binge watch Netflix. The more we follow that pattern, the more despondency tightens its grip on our heart, and the more we become locked into a pattern of thought and action that turns from God, reality, and our fellow man, and towards the insularity of our empty selves.
Time and Despondency will be published by Ancient Faith Publishers sometime around January 2018. You can read more about it here.