Eyes of the Heart: A Photographic Journey Toward Receptivity

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[ This post is part of the Patheos Book Club discussion of Christine Valters Paintner's book EYES OF THE HEART ] [ Buy the Book ... ] One of the key facets of what John and I are calling Slow Church is the idea that creation operates as a gift economy: i.e., that all life is created and sustained by God.  Our call as humans is to live gratefully within the broader economy of creation.  Part of a life of gratitude is the living of a receptive life, in which we are wondrously attentive to the abundant gifts of God that surround us at any given moment.The challenge to living such a life, h … [Read more...]

Animate.Faith: A New Kind of Christian Education

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[ This post is part of the Patheos Book Club discussion of animate.faith ]I recently had the opportunity to review the new animate.faith curriculum from Sparkhouse, which is a groundbreaking effort to create a new kind of Christian education resource for emerging/progressive church communities.  The curriculum consists of a DVD with seven segments by respected teachers (and bonus segments consisting of interviews with the seven speakers), a facilitator's guide and a participant's journal.  While the DVD and facilitator's guide are essential to the curriculum, I tend to agree with Adam W … [Read more...]

Chris Smith’s Summer Reading…

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Here is a snapshot of my to-read list... I don't have much time for reading now, as we are very close to getting the Slow Church book manuscript wrapped up... But once that's done, I look forward to diving into some of these books this summer! Currently reading: Gandhi's Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading by Isabel Hofmeyr Re-reading to prepare for an overdue review for Books and Culture.  Not only does this book provide a rich portrait of Gandhi's years in South Africa, but the story it tells also makes a powerful case that slow, intentional and attentive reading can be a … [Read more...]

Storytelling for the health of the church

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[Adapted from a script I wrote for a video that IVP made for the Inhabit conference.  My segment didn't get used in the IVP video, but these thoughts are worth sharing here on the blog] My friends at the Parish Collective often speak of the importance of parishes being rooted and linked. These two virtues show us two different ways that storytelling works in our local churches.Storytelling is absolutely essential to the health and flourishing of local parishes. As we seek to be rooted, stories serve to shape our identity—they remind us who we are and how God is at work tr … [Read more...]

Shusaku Endo’s “Silence”

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[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...]

The World is Not Ours to Save…Whew! [Patheos Book Club]

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I was asked to write a reflection on Tyler Wigg-Stevenson's new book The World is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good (IVP 2013) for the Patheos Book Club.  But for those who have been following the "Slow Church and the Urgency of Justice" Series, this post is also relevant to that conversation.I recently had the chance to interview Wigg-Stevenson for the current issue of The Englewood Review of Books, so I will borrow a couple of snippets from that interview as I reflect on the book.Cause fatigue is a significant problem among activists in the twenty-first century.   As an … [Read more...]

What is Missional Reading?

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I was sitting down this morning to write the next post in the "Slow Church and the Urgency of Justice" series, when I got distracted by an excellent post by Jon Boyd on the Intervarsity Press blog... [Question] Junot Díaz on Creating a Reading Public Boyd shares some excellent thoughts from novelist Junot Díaz, and then poses these questions: What are we doing these days, and what more could we be doing, to encourage readers in this day and age? Where have you seen bright spots, fertile nurseries of readers-in-the-making? What ideas do you have to multiply such incubators and make them e … [Read more...]


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