Technology, Community and Discernment.

Wberry-2

John's post on Saturday on the Moral Importance of the iPhone reminded me of one of my favorite courses in college, an honors seminar on technology and community.  This class was my first deep immersion into the works of Wendell Berry, and it was also where I first encountered the work of the Amish writer David Kline. A major thrust of the course was reflecting on the ways in which our choices about technology impact the shape of our communities (as families, as churches and as neighborhoods.  One of the pieces we read for the class was Wendell Berry's little essay "Why I am NOT going to buy a … [Read more...]

The Taste of the Place

The Pines Vineyard

One of the keys to understanding Slow Church is captured in the seventeenth-century French phrase le goût de terroir, which can be translated “the taste of the place.”Carlo Petrini, co-founder of the Slow Food movement, writes often about terroir as “the combination of natural factors (soil, water, slope, height above sea level, vegetation, microclimate) and human ones (tradition and practice and cultivation) that gives a unique character to each small agricultural locality and the food grown, raised, made, and cooked there.” Thus, a Pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley takes on the t … [Read more...]

The Moral Importance of the iPhone

iPhone

In a 2007 interview with Arthur Boers, the philosopher Albert Borgmann makes the case that television is of moral importance. Borgmann says: "When I teach my ethics course I tell these relatively young people that the most important decision that they'll make about their household is first whether they're going to get a television and then second where they're going to put it."I think for my generation and for the generation coming after mine, the questions could probably be amended to (a) "Are you going to get a smartphone?" and (b) "If so, what limits are you going to place on its … [Read more...]

Brief Remarks at a Tree Dedication

Osakazuki

The arts and craft college where I work sits on an 11-acre wooded campus in Portland’s west hills. It’s a beautiful campus, built on the site of an old filbert orchard, and it bewitches almost everyone who visits.  A few years ago, the college put in two new beautiful, architecturally-significant buildings. Both buildings have been submitted for Silver LEED Certification. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of the old filbert orchard was destroyed during construction. (This was not part of the master plan.) Many faculty, staff, students, and alumni were understandably devastated at the loss … [Read more...]

We Have Nowhere Else to Go, and Nothing Else to Do.

miracle_worker_copy

Yesterday, we took our homeschool co-op to the Indiana Repertory Theatre to see William Gibson's The Miracle Worker, the renowned story of Helen Keller's childhood.  This field trip was a special event since Rachel, one of our homeschoolers, had a small role in the play. It was an amazing performance, and especially 12-year old Ciarra Krohne who played the role of Helen (pictured).But this is not a review of the play; there was one line that stuck in my head and that seemed particularly relevant to the recent posts here about the faithfulness of the local church in a peak oil world.  Early … [Read more...]

Slowly Seeking the Shalom of God.

PRGrocer

Yesterday, John raised the question: what are the standards by which we make decisions and judge the health of a church community in a peak oil world?This question has been a pressing one for us at Englewood Christian Church, one that has regularly been the focus of our Sunday night conversation (the story of which I told in the recent ebook The Virtue of Dialogue).  As I suggested in the comments to John's post, our experience has been that the standard should be the health and flourishing of our places, our church communities should bear witness to the neighbors in our particular place … [Read more...]

Peak Oil and the Local Church

gasprices

At last weekend's Inhabit Conference in Seattle, I had the opportunity to co-facilitate (with Brandon Rhodes) a conversation on "peak oil and place." It was a lively and fascinating discussion. Near the end I asked a question that I also want to pose here.Cheap fossil fuel energy has underwritten modernity and more than a century of America's rapid economic growth. But the world's oil resources are going into irreversible decline, and gas prices are through the roof. For this reason and others (climate change, high food prices, high debt levels), we seem to have reached "the end of … [Read more...]


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