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...]

The Moral Importance of the iPhone

iPhone

In a 2007 interview with Arthur Boers, the philosopher Albert Borgmann makes the case that television is of moral importance. Borgmann says: "When I teach my ethics course I tell these relatively young people that the most important decision that they'll make about their household is first whether they're going to get a television and then second where they're going to put it."I think for my generation and for the generation coming after mine, the questions could probably be amended to (a) "Are you going to get a smartphone?" and (b) "If so, what limits are you going to place on its … [Read more...]

Brief Remarks at a Tree Dedication

Osakazuki

The arts and craft college where I work sits on an 11-acre wooded campus in Portland’s west hills. It’s a beautiful campus, built on the site of an old filbert orchard, and it bewitches almost everyone who visits.  A few years ago, the college put in two new beautiful, architecturally-significant buildings. Both buildings have been submitted for Silver LEED Certification. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of the old filbert orchard was destroyed during construction. (This was not part of the master plan.) Many faculty, staff, students, and alumni were understandably devastated at the loss … [Read more...]


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