Work, Generosity and the Schooling of Desire

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Mike Bowling, pastor here at Englewood Christian Church, has been preaching through the 10 commandments this year, spending 3 weeks on each commandment, one looking at the Old Testament context, one looking at what Jesus said, and one looking at that commandment in the New Testament and beyond...This past Sunday was the third week of the series on "You shall not steal," and the text was Eph. 4:28: He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. There are a bunch of … [Read more...]

Uniting Ecology and Economy – A Response to Wendell Berry

In this month's issue of The Progressive magazine, there is a wonderful article by Wendell Berry, entitled "The Commerce of Violence" (which can be read online here...), which begins: On the day of the bombing in Boston, The New York Times printed an op-ed piece by a human being who has been imprisoned at Guantánamo for more than eleven years, uncharged and, of course, untried. The occurrence of these two events on the same day was a coincidence, but that does not mean that they are unrelated.What connects them is our devaluation, and when convenient our disvaluation, of human life as … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #4

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Reading the Sermon on the Mount has become a great way for my wife and I to spend some quiet time together in the morning before the day kicks into high gear. Today, she and I talked for a while about some patterns we saw in the "you have heard it said…but I tell you" passages in Matthew 5:21-48.We remembered that the familiar "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" (Matthew 5:38) refers back to commands in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. The laws of ancient Israel authorized retaliation for injustices, but they also restrained the scope of vengeance. Retaliation was reciprocal. If I knock … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #3

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A few of us are reading the Sermon on the Mount every day during Lent. (You're welcome to join us!) What stood out to me as I read this morning is the placement of that familiar command: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) It appears toward the end of a passage about not being anxious about the necessities of life.Perhaps because of some experiences my wife and I had recently related to family finances, what came to mind as I read that verse in Matthew 6 was a separate passage in the book of Mark. In Mark 10, … [Read more...]

Prayer and the Contingencies of Life.

This post is (sort of) a follow-up to my recent post Becoming the Exploited Ones?A life of ceaseless prayer is key to moving in the direction that I described in the post mentioned above...But what does it mean to pray without ceasing?I have long thought that the spirit of prayer is "not my will but thine be done," as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. But recently, I've been reflecting on what Jesus's prayer might mean.Life is full of contingencies, of things that could possibly go wrong.  The nature of modern Western cukture is to eliminate as many of the contingencies … [Read more...]

Becoming the Exploited Ones?

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I re-encountered these passages from Wendell Berry's book THE ART OF THE COMMONPLACE this weekend.(Caveat: Berry uses the terms "redskin" and the n-word, in ways that explore the demeaning tone that these words carried -- and still carry.  Berry's economic point is clear, but I am conflicted about his use of these loaded terms)Read from "But we know..." on page 36 to "the industrial systems of Europe" page 37:Start after the asterisks on page 42 through the end of the chapter: Berry's point is clear -- and one that John and I make in the SLOW CHURCH book -- modern W … [Read more...]

Rooted in God’s Abundant Provision [Gratitude Series - #1]

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This week I am going to be doing a daily series on gratitude, since this virtue plays a vital role in our understanding of Slow Church, and since of course, our readers in the U.S. will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday later this week...When reflecting on gratitude, it is helpful for us to begin by considering its roots in God's abundant provision for creation.All major economic systems -- and especially capitalism -- are built upon the assumption of scarcity of resources, an assumption that when scrutinized in the light of the scriptural narrative is simply false. Walter Brueggemann … [Read more...]


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