Goblin mode

illustration of sleepy, bored looking girl

Image by Piyapong Saydaung from Pixabay

I hadn’t come across the term ‘goblin mode’ until it was announced as the Oxford dictionary word of the year for 2022 but I’m relieved to encounter it.

‘Goblin mode’ describes the being-in-your-pyjamas-all-day-the-house-is-a-tip-I-can’t-be-bothered-to-do-anything habit that the lockdowns have formed in us.

On social media, there’s an element to ‘goblin mode’ that’s about rejecting the carefully managed ‘living my best life’ promoted image and owning the ‘just about surviving’ reality of where many of us find ourselves.

I’m reassured at this acknowledgement that a lack of motivation is widespread. Lockdown gave us permission to let go of evening meetings and in-person attendance that was, in some ways, liberating. And now it’s really hard to leave the cocoon of the sofa or the bed, put on actual clothes and abandon TV content in favour of human interaction. Everyday living comes with a level of anxiety and just a lot of effort. This isn’t about Long COVID – as in the ongoing physiological effect of the disease – it’s about Long Lockdown, as in the psychological shift that has come from a prolonged, repeated way of living.

When so much of our mission activity relies on volunteers – those who put themselves out and find that extra energy and commitment – what does this mean for our initiatives and enterprises?

In pioneer training, we’re working hard to recruit people to CMS programmes and it’s challenging. I’m pondering what God requires of us as a response to this prevalent mood. Do we need to issue a clarion call, rousing people from their slumbers, pressing on and re-forming habits that get us up and out? Or do we need to pull on a onesie, hunker down and embrace the giving-up? (Is this rewilding? The ‘ruthless elimination of hurry’ enacted?)

I’m interested to have this conversation and find out what others are discerning as God’s stream in this particular goblin-populated desert.

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ANVIL journal of theology and mission

Volume 38 issue 2 is out now, focused on sustainability in mission. With articles on African eco-theology, community organising and apophatic spirituality.

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