Getting to the heart of Slow Church

Food and Faith - Norman Wirzba

If there is one short work that gets to the heart of what Slow Church is about, it is the chapter "Eucharistic Table Manners" from Norman Wirzba's new book Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating.It is from Wirzba, and from John Howard Yoder before him, that we borrow the central image of the Slow Church as that of a shared meal: The ritualized character of the Eucharist sometimes causes people to forget that the supper was a meal.  It was not a nibbling session, but the place where the disciples came together to obtain their inspiration, strength and sustenance.  The evidence of the early c … [Read more...]

Sunday Afternoon Book Review: SEEING TREES.

[There have been a multitude of books that have been helpful for John and I in fleshing out the concept of Slow Church.  We will regularly feature a review of one such book every Sunday afternoon. ]One discipline necessary for resisting the speed and inattentiveness of Western culture is seeing.  Although the following book takes trees as its object, it is really about recovering practices of seeing and attention. And given that trees of some sort are pretty much everywhere, Seeing Trees is a helpful guide for all of us in learning to slow down and pay attention to the good gifts of God t … [Read more...]

VIDEO: Stanley Hauerwas: The local church as alternative to a culture of violence

I recently finished reviewing Stanley Hauerwas's newest book War and the American Difference: Theological Reflections on Violence and National Identity for Sojourners magazine.  I won't rehash my whole review here, as it will be available in due time, but I will say that the most striking thing about the book was his turn toward the local church congregation in the third and final part, a direction in which his work has made gestures in the past, but has never gone as far as he does here.The finest essay in the collection, is entitled "A Particular Place," and while I was writing my review … [Read more...]

“God Does Not Hurry”

"All revolutionaries have one basic problem: they are all short of time" - Gerhard Lohfink, Does God Need the Church? One of the most basic theological convictions in our understanding of Slow Church is the slowness of God.  Kelly Johnson does a wonderful job of explaining this slowness in her essay "God Does Not Hurry" from the recent book God Does Not...: Entertain, Play "Matchmaker," Hurry, Demand Blood, Cure Every Illness (Baker Books, 2009, Brent Laytham, Editor).Read a good chunk of this essay, courtesy of Google Books: … [Read more...]

The Church and the Commons

Melbourne City Square

My pastor and friend, Bob Henry, posted a link on Facebook a few days ago to the text of a poster that was included in the October 2010 issue of YES! Magazine. (The poster is still available for purchase for three bucks through the magazine's website. You can also download it for free as a PDF.) October 2010 was the Resilient Communities issue, and the poster was called "51 Ways to Spark a Commons Revolution." … [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...]

Book Recommendation: The McDonaldization of the Church

mcdonaldization_of_the_church

Slow Church started as a hunch. It started, for me, when I was researching the Slow Food Movement for a book I was writing about gluttony. (Of the seven deadly sins, gluttony is the one most likely to actually kill me.) There was no flash of light, no catch of breath or buckled knees. It just simply occurred to me one afternoon that the values Slow Food brought to growing, harvesting, processing, and eating food – values like justice, diversity, seasonality, terroir (more about that in a future post), pleasure, good company, and the central place of the Table in community life – were many of th … [Read more...]


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