Life On the Threshold: Reading the father of the rural life movement in the heart of the modern city

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  I have been talking about the work of Liberty Hyde Bailey a lot recently....  (See this previous post for instance)  So, I decided to republish this short essay on Bailey here.  Of all the things I've written over the years, this is one of my favorite pieces. This essay originally appeared in Catapult Magazine, March 2009.  Life on the threshold Reading the father of the rural life movement in the heart of the modern city   About a year ago, my friend Ragan Sutterfield recommended that I read Liberty Hyde Bailey’s The Holy Earth.  At some earlier point in my … [Read more...]

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

Liberty_Hyde_Bailey_1858-1954

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 available … [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...]

Engaged with our Neighbors’ Struggles Against Injustice

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This is the fourth post in an ongoing series on “Slow Church and the Urgency of Justice“ (Link goes to the initial post in the series).In yesterday's post, I began an argument for beginning to seek justice by being committed to a local church community.  Today, I want to continue that argument by exploring the role of place as we seek justice.Our local church congregations are essential for us in seeking justice, because they are rooted in a particular place, although I must hasten to add that many churches have very shallow roots in the places where they exist.  For churches that do ha … [Read more...]

Believing is Seeing

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Several times over the last few days, sometimes in very different contexts, I found myself thinking about the relationship between seeing and believing. The default assumption for grown-ups is that “Seeing is believing.” This is a good approach to some problems: testing scientific hypotheses, for example, and evaluating the promises of politicians. But what if we rely too heavily on the primacy of proof? What if there is something essential – and therefore essentially missing – in the more childlike belief that “Believing is seeing”?I spent some time driving around Silverton, Mount Angel, a … [Read more...]

Alan Roxburgh – Call to the Parish [Video]

Here's a video clip of Alan Roxburgh talking about "The Call to the Parish" at The Inhabit Conference last month...John and I both have been challenged by Roxburgh's work, and especially his recent book, Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood (Baker, 2011 -- Read my review of this book on The Englewood Review of Books website). … [Read more...]

There Are No Unsacred Places

My pastor, Bob Henry, read this wonderful blog post this morning at Silverton Friends Church. The post is called "The Hill" and it was written by Mike Huber, pastor of West Hills Friends, a Quaker meeting in Portland. The blog post reminds me of something Wendell Berry wrote in a poem called "How To Be a Poet (to remind myself)":There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.The apostle Paul says followers of Jesus are ambassadors of reconciliation. That reconciliation work extends to - and is perhaps even rooted in - our particular places. Thus, … [Read more...]


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