Tina Fey… and Improv as a metaphor for the biblical drama.

I'm working today on revising the theological overview chapter for the Slow Church book. One of the key ideas that I borrow from pastor and theologian Sam Wells is that:“Improvisation in the theatre is a practice through which actors develop trust in themselves and one another in order that they may conduct unscripted dramas without fear.”I've been encouraged recently by some early readers of this chapter to make the improv metaphor robust...This morning as I was getting ready to work on this chapter, I stumbled upon a great blog post by my friend Jen Michel, in which she reflects o … [Read more...]

Believing is Seeing

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...]

Let’s Celebrate Interdependence Day!

A major facet of the Ecology section of our Slow Church book, is coming to the realization that creation is an inter-connected and interdependent whole. Several years ago, my friends Ragan Sutterfield, Brent Aldrich and I brainstormed a long list of ideas for celebrating July 4th as INTERdependence Day.  This list was eventually published on the Sojourners blog with an intro by Shane Claiborne.As we come again to the 4th of July, I think it would serve us well to take another look at this list. And to imagine what a slow church might look like that bore witness to the interdependence of … [Read more...]

Enter to win a copy of Reborn on the Fourth of July (Patheos Book Club)

Nationalistic faith is one of the "sins of abstraction" that we push back against in the in Slow Church book because in preferring one nation over others, it fails to consider the whole of God's work in reconciling all creation.Thus, I was delighted to see that the current Patheos book club title is Logan Mehl-Laituri's Reborn on the Fourth of July...For decades now, the United States has proudly claimed the mantle of "the world's only superpower" based on military might and the scope of military interventions throughout the world. As a result, whole generations are growing up with the … [Read more...]

Congregational Lectio Divina as a Slow Church practice.

At the Ekklesia Project gathering later this week, I will be leading lectio divina sessions on John 15:4-17.Doing lectio in a congregational (or small group) setting is a fruitful practice that will lead churches deeper into the life that John and I are calling Slow Church.Mark Lau Branson, who led the lectio divina sessions at last summer's EP Gathering, pointed us to the following thoughts on congregational lectio divina: Argentinean/Chicagoan Nancy Bedford, after expositing an ecclesial missiology grounded in the Trinity and the incarnation, focuses on discernment with attention to … [Read more...]

The Anguish of Imperfect Communion [An Ekklesia Project Guest Post by Juila Smucker]

[ NEXT WEEK, July 5-7, The Ekklesia Project will hold its annual gathering in Chicago, which will be on the theme of Slow Church.  Between now and July, we will be running a series of guest reflections here by folks connected with the E.P. We've asked guest posters to reflect on the meaning of Slow Church from their own local contexts. More info on the E.P. gathering.  ] Today’s reflection, the seventh in the series, is by Julia Smucker.Read the previous post in the series by John Jay Alvaro.For about the past five years, I have been a par … [Read more...]

Mr. Rogers and the Garden of Your Mind

Longtime readers of this blog may recall the fondness and respect Chris and I have for Fred Rogers, the Presbyterian minister and educator from Pittsburgh who invited us all to be part of his TV neighborhood. In a recent Q essay on the "Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade," Andy Crouch listed Place at #2, writing, "This quest for local, embodied, physical presence may well be driven by the omnipresence of the virtual and a dawning awareness of the thinness of disembodied life." It is fun to speculate - and speculation is all it can ever be - that Mister Rogers' … [Read more...]