Belonging to our Places. Liberty Hyde Bailey and My Explorations in Urban Naturalism

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Today is the birthday of Liberty Hyde Bailey... Bailey was one of the preeminent American botanists and horticulturists in the early twentieth century.  He also was an agrarian writer who wrote quite a bit about nature -- nature poetry, nature education, conservation, etc. -- and his work was deeply influential on Wendell Berry, and other more recent agrarian writers. Berry pays tribute in his essay "A Practical Hamony," (LGT: the part of this essay on Bailey via Google Books)  Bailey's classic apologia for creation care, The Holy Earth, mentioned by Berry in the above essay is … [Read more...]

Slow Church and the Urgency of Justice

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Over the coming weeks, I'd like to wrestle here with a series of questions related to how the vision of Slow Church that John and I have been proposing here relates to justice.  The basic question is: What does Slow Church do with the (very real) pain of the oppressed? Which opens up a host of other questions, including: - Is Slow Church only for those privileged enough to live slowly? - Does the inherent slowness of Slow Church only prop up the dominant power structures of our age? - What is the role of a Slow Church in following Jesus in the Jubilee mission of liberation? - … [Read more...]

Favor: Growing Deeper in Our Church Communities

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My ebook Growing Deeper in Our Church Communities: 50 Ideas for Connection in a Disconnected Age is FREE for Kindle this weekend (through 11:59PM PT on Sunday). First of all, download a copy if you don't have one already:  http://amzn.to/GrowingDeeper Growing Deeper (written in early 2010), was one of my first attempts to explore the practices that contribute to a deeper and richer life together in our church communities, and in that way contains some of the seeds of Slow Church.  Until the Slow Church book is released later this year (Lord willing!), there are two little books that … [Read more...]

IHOP and the fueling of Anti-Gay Legislation in Uganda

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I was intrigued when I saw the announcement today that the documentary God Loves Uganda would be featured at the Sundance Film Festival.  I have been deeply saddened by the violence surrounding issued of sexuality in Uganda, and was startled to hear Roger Ross Williams, the director of this new documentary, reveal that his research into the forces energizing this violence can be tracked back to American evangelicals.  Watch this short clip of Williams introducing the film... Ever curious, I was eager to know who what part(s) of American evangelicalism were being identified as … [Read more...]

The Cross and the AK-47?

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Debates about gun control are raging in the wake of yet another mass shooting.  The issues surrounding these recent shootings are complex, mental illness, a culture shaped by recreational violence and yes, of  course, access to guns. I don't really want to debate gun control right now; in fact, I'm not opposed to all guns.  What I am opposed to, however, is the fear that drives people to own (and defend the ownership of) guns that are intended for nothing other than the taking of human life.  And this fear is a theological issue that must be addressed among Christians... I'm laying down a … [Read more...]

Agrarian News…

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It's no secret that agrarian thought has deeply shaped both John and I in our thoughts about Slow Church. Wendell Berry, the foremost agrarian of our times, is essential to this project, as is the work of Norman Wirzba, Ellen Davis, Wes Jackson and others... I wanted to share a number of new resources with you that will be helpful in understanding agrarianism and how it relates to Slow Church... At its heart, agrarianism is about reconciling with the land and with all creation (or to borrow the title of Norman Wirzba and Fred Bahnson's recent book, Making Peace with the Land.) If you … [Read more...]

What if Columbus and Cortez had their own Reality TV Show?

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We were staying with relatives this weekend and while flipping through the channels on Friday night, we stumbled upon the premier of the new Discovery Channel show, Jungle Gold. The premise of the show is that two Americans, who are in over their heads in debt (to the tune of over a half million dollars) after trying to get rich in Real Estate before the housing bubble burst, are headed to Ghana to make quick money mining gold.  A trailer for the show is available above. … [Read more...]