Action Zones 

Has your faith ceased to be a habit? 

FAITH - HABIT pixabay

Robert Ashton has been adapting to new routines during the pandemic crisis, but reminds us that we will need to return to the habit of worshipping together

In 1960, American plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz, pictured right, wrote a book titled Psycho-Cybernetics. You may wonder what this has to do with Christian faith, but please bear with me. Maltz noticed that it took his patients 21 or more days to become used to their new appearance - for example to stop feeling for an amputated limb
MAXWELL MALTZ wikipaedia commoLater, self-help writers turned this discovery into something more positive. Successful people, they observed, were those who had developed good habits such as punctuality, taking exercise, and positive thinking. For the first month or two, conscious effort is needed to make time for these new things, but then they became habits; part of the daily routine
Going to church or, in my case, the Quaker Meeting House, is a habit many of us took for granted until the pandemic struck. It was a good six months before public worship became possible again. Even now, the hassle of booking in, not shaking hands, not chatting over an after-service coffee makes attending feel very much like a chore
In my own case, I sometimes attend an online Meeting for Worship, but this feels so different to sitting together in the same room. It’s too easy to get distracted and I’ve developed new habits and new Sunday morning routines, such as cutting firewood, riding my bike, or visiting the gym. Physical exercise, I have found, takes me away from everyday thoughts and creates space for meditative thought
As Maltz observed 60 years ago, enduring imposed change creates new habits. 2020 has seen what for many, were the habits of a lifetime changed. We must not assume that congregations will return without encouragement or incentive. Some may try hard to guess what will bring people back; the wisest will involve, and listen to, the people themselves

the worship image, top, is from

the image of Maxwell Maltz is from Wikipedia Commons, and is in the public domain

this article first appeared on Network Norfolk



Robert Ashton is an author, publisher, social entrepreneur, and Quaker. He has recently published a book exploring the subject of homelessness, called Any Spare Change?: one man's quest to understand rough sleeping


The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Yarmouth, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users

These views are personal ones and are intended to stimulate constructive debate amongst website users. We welcome your thoughts and comments, posted at the bottom of the relevant article. We would ask you to abide by our forum rules and may delete any comments which do not


We welcome your thoughts and comments, posted below, upon the ideas expressed here


Click here to read our forum and comment posting guidelines