Jean Vanier: From Brokenness to Community

Jean-Vanier

Let me pick up on where Chris left off and post something here to mark the birthday of Jean Vanier. My first book was called Besides the Bible: 100 Books that Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture. The subtitle of Besides the Bible doesn't really reflect the goal of the book, which was simply to recommend 100 books my co-authors and I thought every Christian should read. One of the essays I wrote for Besides the Bible was about Vanier's masterpiece, From Brokenness to Community, a book that has profoundly influenced the way I think about community and communion. Here is what I … [Read more...]

Believing is Seeing

silverton-oregon

Several times over the last few days, sometimes in very different contexts, I found myself thinking about the relationship between seeing and believing. The default assumption for grown-ups is that “Seeing is believing.” This is a good approach to some problems: testing scientific hypotheses, for example, and evaluating the promises of politicians. But what if we rely too heavily on the primacy of proof? What if there is something essential – and therefore essentially missing – in the more childlike belief that “Believing is seeing”?I spent some time driving around Silverton, Mount Angel, a … [Read more...]

Mr. Rogers and the Garden of Your Mind

Longtime readers of this blog may recall the fondness and respect Chris and I have for Fred Rogers, the Presbyterian minister and educator from Pittsburgh who invited us all to be part of his TV neighborhood. In a recent Q essay on the "Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade," Andy Crouch listed Place at #2, writing, "This quest for local, embodied, physical presence may well be driven by the omnipresence of the virtual and a dawning awareness of the thinness of disembodied life." It is fun to speculate - and speculation is all it can ever be - that Mister Rogers' … [Read more...]

A Sabbath Calendar

I've been reading Dan Allender's book Sabbath (part of Thomas Nelson's Ancient Practices Series) for a chapter I'm writing on the subject. Allender says that once the Sabbath ends, the next three days can be for reflection, "a remembering of the day." The three days before Sabbath can be for anticipation and planning. I love this because it puts Sabbath at the center of our experience of time and of course our worship of God.I mentioned this to my wife, and she had an interesting idea. She suggested we come up with a calendar for our family that puts Sunday (our Sabbath day) in the middle … [Read more...]

The Official Sport of the Slow Church Movement

Dugout

I think baseball should be the official sport of the Slow Church movement.I love baseball. When I can, I listen to or watch games at home. I read books about baseball. (I'm currently reading Bruce Weber's magnificent As They See 'Em: Travels in the Land of Umpires.) I play catch or wiffle ball at home with my daughter. And I like to take in games at the high school, the local short-season single-A team, and even the very occasional big league game. The two things I have most on mind these days are Slow Church and baseball. Here is my first, albeit ham-fisted (and self-indulgent!), attempt t … [Read more...]

There Are No Unsacred Places

My pastor, Bob Henry, read this wonderful blog post this morning at Silverton Friends Church. The post is called "The Hill" and it was written by Mike Huber, pastor of West Hills Friends, a Quaker meeting in Portland. The blog post reminds me of something Wendell Berry wrote in a poem called "How To Be a Poet (to remind myself)":There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.The apostle Paul says followers of Jesus are ambassadors of reconciliation. That reconciliation work extends to - and is perhaps even rooted in - our particular places. Thus, … [Read more...]

The Taste of the Place

The Pines Vineyard

One of the keys to understanding Slow Church is captured in the seventeenth-century French phrase le goût de terroir, which can be translated “the taste of the place.”Carlo Petrini, co-founder of the Slow Food movement, writes often about terroir as “the combination of natural factors (soil, water, slope, height above sea level, vegetation, microclimate) and human ones (tradition and practice and cultivation) that gives a unique character to each small agricultural locality and the food grown, raised, made, and cooked there.” Thus, a Pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley takes on the t … [Read more...]


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