Alexander Schmemann – Lent is a Time of Slowing Down

 This passage by the renowned Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann resonated with me when I read it recently, an appropriate reflection for Ash Wednesday... Lent is a Time of Slowing Down Alexander Schmemann ( Read this passage in its larger context at The Englewood Review of Books )HOW CAN WE KEEP GREAT LENT?  It is obviously impossible for us to go to Church every day. And since we cannot keep the Lent liturgically, the question arises: what is our participation in Lent, how can we spiritually profit by it? The Church calls us to deepen our religious conscience, … [Read more...]

Ken Wytsma – The Grand Paradox [Patheos Book Club]

[ This post is part of the Patheos Book Club discussion of THE GRAND PARADOX ]The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith Ken Wytsma Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2015.In my early years of college, I went through somewhat of a crisis of faith, questioning who God was and how God relates to humanity. It was a pretty bleak time, but eventually through long series of conversations with friends and through reading certain works of writers in the Christian tradition like C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and Frederick Buechner, I eventually grew into a … [Read more...]

An Interview with Tim Suttle

Tim Suttle's Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church-Growth Culture was one of our favorite books of 2014. In fact, Chris has said that Shrink is "one of the wisest and most significant evangelical books" that he's read in the last decade. I would agree with that. The book is deeply resonant with the themes of Slow Church.I had the opportunity to interview Tim for the most recent print edition of the Englewood Review of Books. I encourage you to check it out. Below you'll find an excerpt from the published interview and bonus material we couldn't bear to leave on the editing room floor. We th … [Read more...]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Slow Church…

Today is the birthday of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, born in Breslau, Prussia in 1906.   I recently discovered the following passage from Bonhoeffer, which gets to the heart of Slow Church. Incidentally, this passage can be found in the book Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons, which happens to be on sale right now for Kindle! ($3.79)  Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on … [Read more...]

Worst Christian Book Covers of 2014…

The Englewood Review of Books has just released its annual list of The Worst Christian Book Covers.   As usual the list has gotten mixed reviews: many folks in the publishing business get a good laugh and laud the list for calling out poor workmanship; others chide us for what they perceive as meanness and mockery (see the comments on the list for instance).  So, why do we do the list year after year?  My friend Karen Swallow Prior wrote a wonderful reflection on last year's list for Christianity Today, and in it she articulated well our intent:Bad Christian art that reflects a l … [Read more...]

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Three Ways We Can Foster Gratitude in Our Churches

Note: The last three days we've been focusing on gratitude as a communal discipline. On Thanksgiving Day, we examined our culture of dissatisfaction and the link between gratitude and justice, between ingratitude and injustice. Yesterday, we talked about how gratitude can open our eyes to the abundance all around us. Today, we conclude our series by describing three ways--three, out of many possibilities--that we can foster a gifts perspective in our churches. They are Asset Mapping, Appreciative Inquiry, and Asset-Based Community Development. Asset Mapping in CongregationsThe process o … [Read more...]

Cultivating Gratitude in Our Communities

Note: In Slow Church, Chris and I describe gratitude as the vital bridge that connects abundance and generosity. As a spiritual discipline--one that requires time and intentionality, both on our own and in community--gratitude is how we practice recognizing the abundant gifts God has given us. It's how we praise God for those gifts. And it is the energy that compels us to want to share those gifts. This is the second of a three-part series on how gratitude can transform our communities. (Here’s a link to yesterday’s post.) How do you practice gratitude at home, at church, and in your neighb … [Read more...]


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