Help The Englewood Neighborhood win $25,000 to finish our Outdoor Nature Playspace!

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Starting today, the Englewood Neighborhood on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis (where I live, work and worship), is in the running for a $25,000 grant Neighborhood Assist Grant from State Farm. If we would win, the money would be used to turn our community garden and the adjacent lot into a playspace and Nature education outdoor classroom We have worked with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to develop a plan for the space, which if you are interested, you can view here... The plans include lots of trees for climbing, fruit trees, a tree house, water play area, a picnic shelter and … [Read more...]

Life On the Threshold: Reading the father of the rural life movement in the heart of the modern city

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  I have been talking about the work of Liberty Hyde Bailey a lot recently....  (See this previous post for instance)  So, I decided to republish this short essay on Bailey here.  Of all the things I've written over the years, this is one of my favorite pieces. This essay originally appeared in Catapult Magazine, March 2009.  Life on the threshold Reading the father of the rural life movement in the heart of the modern city   About a year ago, my friend Ragan Sutterfield recommended that I read Liberty Hyde Bailey’s The Holy Earth.  At some earlier point in my … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Against Religion

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 The thing that I have been most struck by as I have read the Sermon on the Mount (SOTM) repeatedly over the last few weeks, is how ambivalent it is toward what we call religion (or even at times, the text seems specifically anti-religious).  I'm thinking here especially of Chapter 6 (v 1-18) and chapter 7 ( v. 15-29).One of the shortcuts that "Industrialized" Western Christian has taken over the last century or more is to make an increasingly big deal about the weekly (or bi-weekly, etc) worship service: about exactly the sorts of things that Jesus instructs against -- worship … [Read more...]

Belonging to our Places. Liberty Hyde Bailey and My Explorations in Urban Naturalism

Liberty_Hyde_Bailey_1858-1954

Today is the birthday of Liberty Hyde Bailey...Bailey was one of the preeminent American botanists and horticulturists in the early twentieth century.  He also was an agrarian writer who wrote quite a bit about nature -- nature poetry, nature education, conservation, etc. -- and his work was deeply influential on Wendell Berry, and other more recent agrarian writers.Berry pays tribute in his essay "A Practical Hamony," (LGT: the part of this essay on Bailey via Google Books)  Bailey's classic apologia for creation care, The Holy Earth, mentioned by Berry in the above essay is available … [Read more...]

Inhabit Conference – Earlybird registration ending soon…

Inhabit Conference

John and I are excited to be speaking as part of the Parish Collective's Inhabit Conference in Seattle next month. April 19-20John spoke about Slow Church there last year, and we both participated in the inaugural event in 2011...This year's theme is The Art of Parish Renewal: [ Conference Website ]Discover the imaginative, redemptive, and courageous practices that stir up God’s dream in particular places. God’s people are awakening to the possibility of being the church in everyday life. This is not a science; there is no singular technique or 7 Habits of Highly Effective Nei … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: A couple of thoughts on the Sermon on the Mount

A couple of thoughts have popped into my mind the last few days as I read and reflected on the SOTM...First, John's decision to give up his iPhone reminded me of a similar choice by my friend Ragan Sutterfield: In Praise of Single Function Devices Ragan writes here: I’ve been wearing a watch recently.  It’s nice—it tells me the time.  I’ve also been carrying a pocket calendar.  It has dates with space to put in appointments and a few blank pages for notes.  I also have a phone I’ve been using.  It has internet access if I absolutely need it, but a painful pared down version—it is not “sm … [Read more...]

The World is Not Ours to Save…Whew! [Patheos Book Club]

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I was asked to write a reflection on Tyler Wigg-Stevenson's new book The World is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good (IVP 2013) for the Patheos Book Club.  But for those who have been following the "Slow Church and the Urgency of Justice" Series, this post is also relevant to that conversation.I recently had the chance to interview Wigg-Stevenson for the current issue of The Englewood Review of Books, so I will borrow a couple of snippets from that interview as I reflect on the book.Cause fatigue is a significant problem among activists in the twenty-first century.   As an … [Read more...]


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