Slow and Local are Where We Must Begin.

A Response to Jamie Smith...  I have a deep appreciation for Jamie Smith’s work.  His latest book, Imagining The Kingdom, will most likely be one of The Englewood Review of Books’ (of which I am the editor) best books of the year for 2013, and his Desiring the Kingdom was one named one of our best books of 2009.  And yet I can’t help feeling like the brilliant young philosophy professor has created a straw man in his latest blog post for Cardus: Knitting While Detroit Burns. This post is a response to Brandon Rhodes’s recent profile of Tacoma, WA’s Zoe Liveable Church on … [Read more...]

Cornel West on Obama and the Domestication of MLK’s legacy.

Please, PLEASE take five minutes on this Inauguration Day and watch the following video...Cornel West is spot on that Obama has done precious little to address the three main concerns that animated MLK: racism (in 2013, the "prison-industrial complex'), militarism and poverty.And while you're at it, think about the question of where the real power for transformation lies? I would suggest, as Cornel West does here that it is not in the Oval Office, or government in general, but in the people of God, and prophets like MLK, who can whet our appetite's for the coming Kingdom of God... … [Read more...]

A Hymn for Election Day.

 It's probably a sin of the deepest sacrilege to connect a song of this extraordinary beauty with Election Day...But I can't stop thinking about how relevant it is...Here's just a few snippets:"What a beautiful piece of heartache This has all turned out to be Lord knows we've learned the hard way All about healthy apathy" … [Read more...]

The Hope-full Politics of the Table

 The following is a reflection that I will share tomorrow night as part of the Election Day Communion service here at Englewood Christian Church.Why celebrate communion on election day?To do so is not merely a religious act, we have intentionally chosen to break bread together -- not to have a worship or prayer service (good as those things are).  Tonight on the eve of this election day, we are celebrating our unity in seeking the Kingdom of God together.  But for many people, I imagine, the Kingdom of God is an abstract and nebulous thing.  Perhaps we should think of the Ki … [Read more...]

“Islands of Patience in a World of Speed” [Ekklesia Project Recordings]

This is the first in a series of reflections on the talks on Slow Church given at the Ekklesia Project Gathering at DePaul University last month.  I am listening to them and taking notes in preparation for an article on Slow Church that I'm writing for Sojourners.  I invite you to listen along with me... (FYI: I'm not listening to the talks in the order they were given...) A Conversation Between Kyle Childress and Stanley Hauerwas [ Click Here to Listen ] A good chunk of this conversation focused on the role of the pastor in a church, which wasn't terribly interesting to me.Stanley says … [Read more...]

Recovering a Politics of Lament in Our Faith Communities

An article that I wrote for the Huffington Post went live today...This article is a followup to my blog series here last week on lamenting the Aurora shooting...Also, if these reflections on lament have resonated with you, you should check out my friend Tripp Hudgins' recent thoughts in the same direction...  Recovering a Politics of Lament in Our Faith Communities C. Christopher Smith, Senior Editor, The Englewood Review of Books One of the most disturbing things about the American public's reaction to the recent theater shooting in Aurora was the speed at which the … [Read more...]

Chick-fil-A: Are boycotts (and anti-boycott appreciations) faithful politics?

Facebook is abuzz today (as it has been for over a week) with people showing their support or their distaste for Chick-Fil-A and president Dan Cathy's recent statement of opposition to gay marriage.  I'm not going to take sides here, but I do want to challenge those who identify as Christians with the question of whether boycotts are ways of engaging those with whom we disagree that fit with our call to follow in the way of Jesus?A boycott is, in essence, returning evil for evil; you have said or done something that has hurt me, so I will retaliate at your economic existence by … [Read more...]