CCDA Recap. (Or, May our means fit our ends).

CCDA

I spent the bulk of last week at the Christian Community Development Association’s annual conference, which was held here in Indianapolis this year.  The CCDA conference is always a great opportunity to see old friends from around the country who are engaged in good, reconciling work in their places, and I was excited to be a part of the host team for this year’s gathering. For the vast majority of the week, I was hunkered down in the CCDA bookstore, which The Englewood Review of Books ran again this year, but thanks to my brothers and sisters of Englewood Christian Church who helped in runn … [Read more...]

Becoming Good Soil

Good Soil

For the last few weeks in our Sunday night conversation here at Englewood Christian Church, we have been exploring the imagery of sustainable agriculture to describe life together in the local church community.  This stream of our conversation began with the idea that churches work better as diverse poly-cultures (diverse types of people, doing diverse sorts of work), rather than mono-cultures (focusing on a narrow demographic of people –age-wise, ethnically or otherwise, or doing a single kind of work).  Last night’s conversation began with a familiar quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Toge … [Read more...]

Churches catalyzing local culture.

For several years now, I have been describing the work of local church communities in their particular places as catalyzing local culture.  However, I could only provide some barebones images and stories of what that might look like.This week, however, I discovered the new book Making Healthy Places from Island Press and edited by Andrew Danneberg, Howard Frumkin and Richard Jackson.  The authors whose work is offered in this volume call us to a vision of healthy community not unlike what the Old Testament prophets called shalom.  They likewise are deeply aware of the complexities -- le … [Read more...]

God’s Patience, The City and THE WIRE.

The Wire

In my initial post on this blog, I noted that our vision of Slow Church was rooted in the slowness of God's work in the world.  One facet of that slowness, as I described in that post is God's choice to redeem the world by gathering a people.  Another facet is God's patience with the depths and complexities of human rebellion.  From Cain's founding of the first city (Gen. 4: 9-17) onward, the city has been an image of brokenness, human rebellion against God.  Jacques Ellul, in The Meaning of the City (a superb work for beginning to reflect on urban theology), observes: [The builders of Babel] … [Read more...]

Mr. Rogers and the Formative Power of Dinner Table Conversation.

In one of his last books, Fred Rogers – a Presbyterian minister otherwise known as PBS’s Mr. Rogers – made the poignant observation that:“At the dinner table children learn the art of making conversation – how to take turns listening and talking and how to put their ideas into words.  Even their vocabulary increases as they learn new words and new ideas from others in the family.” [ Read this quote in its context on Google Books ][ from The Mr. Rogers Parenting Book, 19 ]As Mr. Rogers alludes here, dinner table conversation is a formative practice, … [Read more...]

A Prayer for Slow Churches from Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero

I was recently reminded of this prayer from Oscar Romero and thought that it was a lovely theological meditation on what it means to be a slow church. It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings … [Read more...]

The Slow Church Conversation.

“What is Slow Church?” This question is one that I’ve been getting quite a bit recently.  I’m always at a bit of a loss to answer, however, because so many things are swirling through my head.  Over the coming months, John Pattison and I will facilitate a conversation here that will explore what we mean by Slow Church, and what that might look like in a variety of different church contexts.  But a conversation has to begin somewhere, so let me set out a few thoughts to get us started. On the most basic level, Slow Church is a conversation between Christianity of the early twenty-first century … [Read more...]


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