Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #2

This morning I read just past the end of the Sermon on the Mount, where it says that the crowds were amazed at Jesus's teaching because, unlike the scribes, Jesus taught as one who had authority. I almost took that as an invitation to go back and re-read the sermon...this time with feeling!One thing I struggle against is that the Sermon on the Mount is so familiar, and it's full of so many well-worn phrases -- light of the world, turn the other cheek, go the second mile, lilies and sparrows, pearls before swine, do unto others, the house built on the rock -- that they have become … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #1

As Chris mentioned in a post yesterday, a group of us are reading the Sermon on the Mount every day for Lent. (We set up a Facebook page, if you'd like to join the conversation.) Throughout the Lenten season, Chris and I will be posting occasional thoughts here about our experience with this extraordinary passage.My wife and I read Matthew 5-7 out loud to each other yesterday morning (Ash Wednesday), and I ended up thinking about it all day. In particular, I remembered some of my early experiences with the Sermon on the Mount. When I was a teenager, I was taught--for the life of me, I c … [Read more...]

Who Will You Grow Old With?

Panera-Bread

Editor's Note: The simplest questions are often the most profound. They are also the ones we often forget to ask. Those were just a couple of my thoughts after reading this excellent post from Scott Emery, who writes about creation, community, and commission from Phoenix, New York. This post originally appeared on Scott's blog. It seems like a great addition to the Slow Church conversation, and I'm grateful to Scott for letting us post it here. … [Read more...]

G.K. Chesterton on Santa Claus

Victorian Santa Claus

I love G.K. Chesterton's take on Santa Claus. I wrote this blog post a couple years ago about my daughter, fairy tales, and why I like Chesterton's perspective so much:Molly is three now, and her excitement over Christmas is infectious. She learned the Christmas story this year, mostly from her grandmother, who helped her make finger puppets of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, wise men, and the angel. A glittery horse and plastic monkey are the only animals in the manger. Molly is able to shoehorn Santa Claus into the incarnation somehow, but Kate and I don't go out of our way to … [Read more...]

How to Be a Poem

Today I was thinking about spiritual formation and what came to mind was a poem by Wendell Berry, the Kentucky writer, farmer, and activist. The poem is called "How To Be a Poet." But I think it could be re-titled "How To Be a Poem." Here's what I mean: the New Testament says we are "God's workmanship." The word used for "workmanship," poiema, is the same word from which we get our word "poem." Thus, it's not too much of a stretch to say that we are "God's poem." So much of what Berry describes here is good advice not just for the poet but for anyone who wants to put themselves in the loving h … [Read more...]

Boomers, Stickers, and the Lifecycle of a Community

Silverton Top Ten

A few days ago, I read an interesting article over at The Atlantic Cities called the "The Lifecycle of a 'Cool' Neighborhood." The sociologist and historian Richard Greenwald writes in the article that "Declaring the death of hip neighborhoods seems to be an endless right of passage in Gotham." It comes with the territory of knowing and labeling - articulating really - what matters in a rootless city. Neighborhoods come and go - and I mean that in the Brooksian Bo-Bo way.During the 20th century it was Greenwich Village, Harlem, SoHo, Tribeca, the Lower East Side, and then Brooklyn. At fi … [Read more...]

False Economies and False Gods

Bull

This morning I was re-reading my favorite Wendell Berry essay, "Discipline and Hope," which has become an essential text for me in trying to understand the meaning and implications of Slow Church. I was struck today by a short passage on the ways we have come to idolize the present economy. Berry writes:   "If the Golden Rule were generally observed among us, the economy would not last a week. We have made our false economy a false god, and it has made blasphemy of the truth. So I have met the economy in the road, and am expected to yield it right of way. But I will not get over. My reason is … [Read more...]


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