In praise of imbalance: The holy rhythms of life

Everyone is talking about balance. It's like the Holy Grail. We all want to know where to find it. We want a balanced checkbook, a balanced diet and a balanced portfolio. Most of all, we are striving for the right balance between our work lives and the rest of our lives.

In the 1970s we began calling this the work-life balance. Pastoral ministry is perceived as particularly threatening to the proper work-life balance. We grill candidates for ordination about their plans for keeping balance in their lives with a vigor that was once reserved for rooting out heresies.

I recently came across a website that promises to help. It features a work-life balance calculator. On the screen you estimate the amount of time each week you spend in six activities: work, sleep, meals, commute, leisure, chores. As you do that, a pie chart shows you how you have divided your time and how much time you have remaining to allocate among those six activities.