Keeping Busy to Avoid Burnout

I recently learned of the existence, in a local seminary, of a network of “Peer Wellness Groups.” Led by students, the groups foster yoga, peace work, and fitness.

There is anything wrong with such activities in themselves, of course. But I am a bit troubled by the idea that students need to organize themselves into groups to do these things–on top of classes, chapel services, special interest organizations based on sexuality and race, counseling and advising groups, administrative committees, and field work activities. Would a seminarian be better off going for a walk by herself or meditating on her own?

By far the greatest source of trouble for clergy at all stages of their careers is burnout. And burnout is very often caused by the felt need to go from one activity to another–especially from one meeting to another. More to the point theologically, we are justified by faith, not by groups. By the same token, spiritual wellness ultimately comes not through a busy schedule, but through grace. —J. Douglas Ousley

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