A Culture of Caretaking.

I had the privilege of going to a talk today that noted Indiana author and conservationist Scott Russell Sanders gave here in Indy.  At the heart of the talk was the comparison between a culture of consumption and a culture of caretaking.  Here’s a picture I took of the key slide summarizing this comparison:



I share this slide here because I think he so brilliantly distills both the critique and the hope that John and I are calling Slow Church — the critique of the ways consumption shapes the culture of our churches and the hope that churches can lead the way in guiding the larger culture into a shift toward caretaking.

Theologically, I think our call as the people of God is to caretaking (and Sanders emphasized this point in his talk), but we have become all too domesticated by the consumption of the broader Western culture.

What do you think? Can churches become communities where the lost arts of caretaking are beginning to be recovered?  What are some of the theological and practical shifts we will need to make as churches in order to reorient the culture of life together in local churches away from consumption and toward caretaking?

  • KJ

    Interesting conversation at our Maundy Thursday service which included foot washing. Very small turn out, maybe in part due to this. We talked about the vulnerability present in giving care and accepting care, accepting touch, which seem hard for individuals to do. Working in hospice, so often much of what we can offer are CNAs helping to make sure folks are clean and comfortable, really sacred work. The Sacred Art of Living Institute is trying to bring back the Celtic tradition of the Anamcara, or “soul friend” to journey with folks through difficult
    parts of life, including dying.

  • Steve

    In 2002 I stepped out of ‘ministry’ that involved thousands and thousands of miles of travel to care for my parents. We found a secluded run down house on a very rural 5 acres which we prepared and then brought them to. As I gave them both full-time hospice care I also began the process of transforming a neglected broken down piece of ground into a productive small farm/huge garden. On their passing I left to take a position in homeless shelter.

    I read about our need to care for the earth, our communities and our church by slowing down and taking time and I wonder how we can ever do this when we haven’t even learned to let go of all that presses into our lives that causes us to run so fast in order to care for our families.

    I know caretaking is a hard task to shoulder but the blessings bestowed as other things fall away as we truly take care are more than worth it.

    • ellie1


  • ellie1

    interesting to think about.