Reconciled Diversity: Or, Why I Go to the Inhabit Conference

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[Update: Make sure to check out Coté Soerens's response to this post. She brings up some important points: "Yet, we are a long ways to go in the task of breaking long-held barriers to diversity and dialogue between communities in the US...The forces behind homogeneity in our church communities, such as discrimination, privilege, and inequality, demand holistic efforts based on tireless presence and practice." I'm happy Coté is one of the presenters at this year's conference.]One of the most distressing aspects of the Church Growth Movement is its reliance on homogeneity. Donald McGavran, th … [Read more...]

Shusaku Endo’s “Silence”

Japanese Martyrs

[Note: Today is the birthday of the great Japanese Catholic novelist Shusaku Endo. To mark the occasion, we're posting an essay John wrote for Besides the Bible: 100 Books that Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture (IVP, 2010) about Endo's powerful novel, Silence. The director Martin Scorsese has said he hopes to start production on a film adaptation of Silence in 2014.]Francis Xavier disembarked at the southernmost tip of Japan in August 1549, and for two years the trailblazing Jesuit missionary preached in the streets, debated Buddhist monks, and conversed with local warlords. Wh … [Read more...]

Presentation Script: Search for Meaning Book Festival

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Author's Note: I recently had the opportunity to speak at Seattle University's annual Search for Meaning Book Festival. The presentation, a general overview of Slow Church, went very well. A couple folks asked for copies of my presentation script. I only had one hard copy to give, which is one reason why I'm posting it here. It's significantly longer than our usual posts, so I've also created a downloadable PDF. If I did things correctly, you should also be download a PDF version here. SLOW CHURCH: BECAUSE YOU CAN'T FRANCHISE THE KINGDOM OF GOD Seattle University Search for Meaning Book … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #5

iPhones

The Sermon on the Mount hit home in a practical and difficult way for me today.I've been struck lately by how distracted I am by my iPhone. The iPhone is a fantastic invention, remarkable really, and a boon in the hands of some folks. But, for me, the iPhone plays right into my natural impatience (instant access to Google and email), my desire for distraction (Words with Friends), and the ever-present temptation to isolate myself from my community--including my friends and family. I've noticed that lately it has been getting harder for me to concentrate on my reading and writing. I even … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #4

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Reading the Sermon on the Mount has become a great way for my wife and I to spend some quiet time together in the morning before the day kicks into high gear. Today, she and I talked for a while about some patterns we saw in the "you have heard it said…but I tell you" passages in Matthew 5:21-48.We remembered that the familiar "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" (Matthew 5:38) refers back to commands in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. The laws of ancient Israel authorized retaliation for injustices, but they also restrained the scope of vengeance. Retaliation was reciprocal. If I knock … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #3

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A few of us are reading the Sermon on the Mount every day during Lent. (You're welcome to join us!) What stood out to me as I read this morning is the placement of that familiar command: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) It appears toward the end of a passage about not being anxious about the necessities of life.Perhaps because of some experiences my wife and I had recently related to family finances, what came to mind as I read that verse in Matthew 6 was a separate passage in the book of Mark. In Mark 10, … [Read more...]

Visionary Dreaming

Community is what doesn't happen when we're busy making bigger plans. That's what came to mind as I re-read this passage from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's classic Life Together: … [Read more...]


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