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...]

The Virtue of Dialogue – Workshop Slides

Today I led a workshop for The Center for Congregations on the practice of conversation, based on Englewood's experience with conversation, and my book The Virtue of Dialogue (Patheos Press 2012).  The slides from that presentation are included below....I did make a rough audio recording of the workshop, so if that turns out to be listenable, I might also share it here.I've given a similar presentation to a number of churches and groups of churches. Contact me if your church would be interested in hosting such a conversation...  Download the Slides Here … [Read more...]

Eyes of the Heart: A Photographic Journey Toward Receptivity

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[ This post is part of the Patheos Book Club discussion of Christine Valters Paintner's book EYES OF THE HEART ] [ Buy the Book ... ] One of the key facets of what John and I are calling Slow Church is the idea that creation operates as a gift economy: i.e., that all life is created and sustained by God.  Our call as humans is to live gratefully within the broader economy of creation.  Part of a life of gratitude is the living of a receptive life, in which we are wondrously attentive to the abundant gifts of God that surround us at any given moment.The challenge to living such a life, h … [Read more...]

Animate.Faith: A New Kind of Christian Education

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[ This post is part of the Patheos Book Club discussion of animate.faith ]I recently had the opportunity to review the new animate.faith curriculum from Sparkhouse, which is a groundbreaking effort to create a new kind of Christian education resource for emerging/progressive church communities.  The curriculum consists of a DVD with seven segments by respected teachers (and bonus segments consisting of interviews with the seven speakers), a facilitator's guide and a participant's journal.  While the DVD and facilitator's guide are essential to the curriculum, I tend to agree with Adam W … [Read more...]

Chris Smith’s Summer Reading…

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Here is a snapshot of my to-read list... I don't have much time for reading now, as we are very close to getting the Slow Church book manuscript wrapped up... But once that's done, I look forward to diving into some of these books this summer! Currently reading: Gandhi's Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading by Isabel Hofmeyr Re-reading to prepare for an overdue review for Books and Culture.  Not only does this book provide a rich portrait of Gandhi's years in South Africa, but the story it tells also makes a powerful case that slow, intentional and attentive reading can be a … [Read more...]

Bangladesh – Reviving the Call for Slow Fashion.

The recent fire in a Bangladeshi garment factory that claimed well over 1000 lives was a powerful reminder of how costly "cheap" fashion can be...Extensive coverage of the the fire and its aftermath from CNN.Last year, Amy Peterson reviewed Elizabeth Cline's book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion for The Englewood Review of Books.  As part of that review, she offered a wonderful list of suggestions for how churches could promote alternative ways of thinking about clothes, a slow fashion of sorts that is rooted in our faith communities.We are delighted … [Read more...]

Storytelling for the health of the church

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[Adapted from a script I wrote for a video that IVP made for the Inhabit conference.  My segment didn't get used in the IVP video, but these thoughts are worth sharing here on the blog] My friends at the Parish Collective often speak of the importance of parishes being rooted and linked. These two virtues show us two different ways that storytelling works in our local churches.Storytelling is absolutely essential to the health and flourishing of local parishes. As we seek to be rooted, stories serve to shape our identity—they remind us who we are and how God is at work tr … [Read more...]


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