Slow Church and the Mainline Churches.

Mainline

Had a fabulous time over the last few days at the Academy of Parish Clergy annual gathering in Dayton, Ohio.  I found the diverse group of mostly mainline pastors to be extraordinarily hospitable, specifically in inviting me to represent The Englewood Review of Books there (Thanks, Bob Cornwall for the invitation!) and in allowing me to share bits of our story here at Englewood Christian Church (briefly recounted in my recent ebook, The Virtue of Dialogue).  Also, it was wonderful to meet Carol Howard Merritt, who was the main conference speaker, and chat with her about some of the challenges f … [Read more...]

Technology, Community and Discernment.

Wberry-2

John's post on Saturday on the Moral Importance of the iPhone reminded me of one of my favorite courses in college, an honors seminar on technology and community.  This class was my first deep immersion into the works of Wendell Berry, and it was also where I first encountered the work of the Amish writer David Kline. A major thrust of the course was reflecting on the ways in which our choices about technology impact the shape of our communities (as families, as churches and as neighborhoods.  One of the pieces we read for the class was Wendell Berry's little essay "Why I am NOT going to buy a … [Read more...]

We Have Nowhere Else to Go, and Nothing Else to Do.

miracle_worker_copy

Yesterday, we took our homeschool co-op to the Indiana Repertory Theatre to see William Gibson's The Miracle Worker, the renowned story of Helen Keller's childhood.  This field trip was a special event since Rachel, one of our homeschoolers, had a small role in the play. It was an amazing performance, and especially 12-year old Ciarra Krohne who played the role of Helen (pictured).But this is not a review of the play; there was one line that stuck in my head and that seemed particularly relevant to the recent posts here about the faithfulness of the local church in a peak oil world.  Early … [Read more...]

Slowly Seeking the Shalom of God.

PRGrocer

Yesterday, John raised the question: what are the standards by which we make decisions and judge the health of a church community in a peak oil world?This question has been a pressing one for us at Englewood Christian Church, one that has regularly been the focus of our Sunday night conversation (the story of which I told in the recent ebook The Virtue of Dialogue).  As I suggested in the comments to John's post, our experience has been that the standard should be the health and flourishing of our places, our church communities should bear witness to the neighbors in our particular place … [Read more...]

A Culture of Caretaking.

Scott Russell Sanders

I had the privilege of going to a talk today that noted Indiana author and conservationist Scott Russell Sanders gave here in Indy.  At the heart of the talk was the comparison between a culture of consumption and a culture of caretaking.  Here's a picture I took of the key slide summarizing this comparison:   … [Read more...]

Reading for Conversation.

Bibliothek_St._Florian

John and I agree that the practice of reading is essential to our understanding of Slow Church. Indeed, it was a mutual love of books that connected us in the first place.  In the age of talking heads, the soundbite and the two-minute YouTube video, reading is a practice that can be useful for slowing churches down and guiding us into meaningful conversations.  Here at Englewood Christian Church, we are blessed to have many people who are deeply committed to the practice of reading, which continually energizes our on-going Sunday night conversation (I have told the story of this a … [Read more...]

Shane Claiborne on Chris Smith’s THE VIRTUE OF DIALOGUE.

Shane Claiborne

Yesterday, my publisher received from Shane Claiborne an extraordinarily kind endorsement of my ebook The Virtue of Dialogue...If you have not gotten a copy of the ebook, it is available for Kindle and Nook.Also, you might be interested in the recent blog series that I ran here, Becoming Conversational, which builds on the ebook and gives practical ideas for how churches can create space for conversation in their life together. (CLICK HERE for the last post in the series, and there are links where you can read the series backwards from there.)Chris Smith is smart... and he's … [Read more...]


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