“Islands of Patience in a World of Speed” [Ekklesia Project Recordings]

This is the first in a series of reflections on the talks on Slow Church given at the Ekklesia Project Gathering at DePaul University last month.  I am listening to them and taking notes in preparation for an article on Slow Church that I’m writing for Sojourners.  I invite you to listen along with me… (FYI: I’m not listening to the talks in the order they were given…)

A Conversation Between Kyle Childress and Stanley Hauerwas

[ Click Here to Listen ]

A good chunk of this conversation focused on the role of the pastor in a church, which wasn’t terribly interesting to me.

Stanley says that he learned patience from John Howard Yoder.

“Writing takes extraordinary patience, as does reading.” – Hauerwas.

Kyle and Stanley talk about the importance of reading to connecting us with “friends we didn’t know that we had,” and as one way (esp. for pastors) to combat loneliness.  I appreciate these thoughts, but it seems to me that reading can only combat loneliness if it leads us into conversations with the author and with those around us.  Reading in isolation can feed loneliness as much as combat it, I believe.

*** Key idea from Chuck Campbell: “One of the ways the powers domesticate us is by keeping us busy.” (!!!)
This idea seems to emphasize our identity as the Sabbath people of God.

The bast part of this conversation was the discussion of the relation between speed and violence (which starts at 50:45).

Stanley highlights the work of French philosopher Paul Virilio, who explored the connections between speed and violence in modern culture. I was not familiar with Virilio’s work and will want to dig deeper after hearing Stanley’s overview!  We are addicted to change as a culture.

Nonviolence is a way to resist the speed of the culture: “taking our time in a world of speed”

*** “Genuine politics in which people have to learn to listen to one another is an extraordinarily frustrating and timeful thing.” – Hauerwas
This has definitely been shown to be true in our experience with conversation here at Englewood Christian Church.

The main part of the conversation concludes with Stanley describing local congregations as “islands of patience in a world of speed” and how our learning to be patient people together would be a beautiful gift for our neighbors.  This thought (and particularly its location in the local congregation) gets right to the heart of what slow church is about, little embodiments of Christ’s patience in our own particular places.  This imagery may merit some more reflection at some point…

NEXT TIME: The audience interaction with Kyle and Stanley…

  • Stephen Milliken

    “If we want to be
    disciples of Jesus, we have to live a disciplined life.

    By discipline, I do
    not mean control. If I know the discipline of psychology or of economics, I
    have a certain control over a body of knowledge. If I discipline my children, I
    want to have a little control over them.

    But in the spiritual
    life, the word discipline means “the effort to create some space in which
    God can act.” Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from
    being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and
    certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create
    that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on.” – Henri Nouwen from Moving from Solitude to Community to Ministry

    I thought this was entirely relevant to the Chuck Campbell’s quote “One of the ways the powers domesticate us is by keeping us busy.”


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