Going Low-Tech

It’s official: after 10 years of using an electronic calendar – usually through Outlook on my laptop, synced on my phone, and occasionally printed out – I am switching back to a paper calendar/planner for this coming year.  I love working electronically: writing sermons, letters, curriculum plans, email, social media, etc.  And, we have a Google calendar for our congregational events, which we need to keep updated.  But I was growing increasingly frustrated accessing my calendar, tasks, daily and weekly plans via phone or laptop – they don’t always sync properly, leading me to double book or even miss meetings on a couple occasions.  And, I do not want a tablet, which some people use effectively for their calendar/planner.  I don’t need more hardware to lug around, power on, fiddle with, and sync.  So, instead, I am going back to the old fashioned paper and pen for yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily planning, tasks, and notes, using a Franklin-Covey planner ( plus my own adaptations.

I am already seeing benefits from the change: it is so easy to flip from month to month.  Taking notes or even basic to do lists for a given day or week are a snap, and if I am checking email and entering events or tasks into my calendar, there is no flipping back and forth between apps or even tabs; the planner lies open right next to the computer.  If I am talking to someone and trying to set a meeting time, it’s easier to just open my planner and check the calendar, no start-up time required, no scrolling through my calendar on my phone.  If I am talking with someone on my cell phone, I can check the calendar while we are speaking.  Also, I find that one of the so-called benefits of an electronic calendar, the ability to add recurring events, was filling up my calendar with too much information.  I mean, I am a pastor; do I really need to have Sunday worship on my calendar each week?  Weekly recurring events such as text studies and my children’s after school activities, it seems to me, are best put on a single sheet of paper in my planner rather than needing to be filled in every week on the calendar.  I can put them into the daily schedule as I plan the week ahead.  I also find that task lists or to do lists are easier to keep track of in my planner, rather than in an app.  It’s too easy to just not open that app or that tab, and forget a simple task.

So this is my experiment: returning to a paper and pen model of planning, or really a hybrid model, since, of course, I still use the computer for writing documents, schedules, curricula, etc.  And, I’ll probably electronically scan the monthly calendars from time to time for backup.  How do you calendarize and plan?



I love this statement of faith, or creed, from our Presbyterian brothers and sisters.  We are using it in worship at Good Shepherd, divided into four parts.



In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. Amen.


We trust in Jesus Christ, fully human, fully God.  Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.

Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition, Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world.  God raised this Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal.


We trust in God, whom Jesus called Abba, Father.  In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image, male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community.  But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator.  Ignoring God’s commandments, we violate the image of God in others and ourselves, accept lies as truth, exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care.  We deserve God’s condemnation.  Yet God acts with justice and mercy to redeem creation.

In everlasting love, the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people to bless all families of the earth.  Hearing their cry, God delivered the children of Israel from the house of bondage.  Loving us still, God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant.  Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still.


We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life.  The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church.

The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the Church.

In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.  In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.*



*Instead of saying this line, congregations may wish to sing a version of the Gloria.

The Book of Confessions, pages 267-8.