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7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I (In-person only)

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7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist (In-person only) in Chapel

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11:30 a.m. - Contemplative Prayer Group in Library

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12:05 p.m. – Healing Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only) in Chapel

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A Message from Duncan- January 25, 2023

A Message from Duncan- January 25, 2023

Life in the Slow Lane

 As every parent, law enforcement officer, and township employee knows, there are two ways to make people clean up after themselves.  You can be the bad cop.  You can nag, organize a guilt trip, make blood curdling threats of fines, time-outs, or even jail.  Or you can be the good cop and encourage responsible behavior by positive reinforcement.  

Well, a few years ago a city in the Netherlands went ‘full good cop’ in an effort to tackle their litter problem. Down came the threatening signs warning of fines for litter louts, and in came new bins.  Bins with a difference.  These bins would make it worthwhile to drop your candy wrappers into them.  The bins did not give out money, if that is what you’re thinking.  No, these bins were programed to tell jokes.  Inside each trash can was a little device that would play pre-recorded gags every time a piece of garbage was deposited.  And it worked.  The litter problem was solved overnight.  I think this could work in the US.

But the inventive Dutch are on a roll.  Not satisfied with comedy garbage bins, those creative Netherlanders have now invented the Kletskassa, or “chat checkout” in English.  Jumbo, a supermarket chain with over 700 stores, introduced the “chat checkout” in 2019 as part of a national initiative called One Against Loneliness.  The chat checkout is exactly what it says it is – a special lane for customers who are not in a rush and would benefit from whiling away a few minutes nattering with the cashier.

“Many people, the elderly in particular, can feel lonely.  As a family business and supermarket chain we have a central role in society.  Our shops are a meeting place and that means we can do something to combat loneliness.  The Kletskassa is just one of the things we can do,” said Jumbo CCO Colette Cloosterman-Van Eerd. “We are proud our staff want to work the chat checkout. They really want to help people and make contact with them. It’s a small gesture but it’s a valuable one, particularly in a world that is becoming more digital and faster.”

I wonder if this would catch on in the US.  Hmm.  I’m not sure.  If Publix introduced a slow lane, I’d definitely avoid it, as I think most people would.  Life is too short for chatting to people.  There are things to be done, stuff to consume, money to make.  We can’t stand around talking to a checkout operator about the song of the birds or the beauty of the tulips.

Two philosophies on life.  I know which sounds more appealing.  It is also the one that is harder to embrace.  It’s pity.  Study after study has shown that the two things the chat checkout provides – human connection and a quiet pace of life – are critical to a society’s all-round well-being.  For example, life expectancy in the US is 77 but in Holland it is 81 (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.LE00.IN?locations=NL).  The Dutch claim to be the 5th happiest people in the world, but Americans only 19th (https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/happiest-countries-in-the-world).  And the Dutch live far healthier lives than Americans (https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/quality-u-s-healthcare-system-compare-countries/).

Of course, there is a lot more to these statistics than just human connection and pace of life.  But, I reckon they must be in the mix somewhere.  Sure, the Netherlands is not as wealthy as the US in terms of GDP per capita – not by a long way.  But what use is more money if you’re sadder, less healthy, and die younger?

Maybe Jesus was onto something when he instructed his followers to ‘consider the birds of the  air and the lilies of the field.’ (Matthew 6:26-34).  Maybe if he’d been walking our supermarkets  today, he’d have stood happily and patiently in the chat lane, waiting for his opportunity to talk to the cashier.  And if he would, then he’d surely have advised us, for our own good, to do the same.

Duncan