Robert Putnam – “Spend More Time Arranging the Church Suppers”

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Thanks to my friend Kevin Rains for calling this article to my attention... [ See also the Catholic News Service piece on this study, which spells out its results in greater detail... ] WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Harvard public policy professor Robert D. Putnam has a tongue-in-cheek suggestion for pastors: "Spend less time on the sermons, and more time arranging the church suppers." That's because research by Putnam and Chaeyoon Lim, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that the more church friends a person has, the happier he or she is. [ Read the … [Read more...]

Bringing Slow Church to a Fast Generation [Ekklesia Project Guest Post by Jarrod Longbons]

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[ On 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 lguest 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 second in the series, is by Jarrod Longbons. Read the first post by Lee Wyatt. I am part of a thriving, yet “slow church” community.  It’s called YAC (Young Adult Community), a ministry of … [Read more...]

Becoming Conversational #2 – Leveraging the Skills of All Our Members.

The Virtue of Dialogue - C. Christopher Smith

My ebook The Virtue of Dialogue: Conversation as a Hopeful Practice of Church Communities was released last week by Patheos Press, and in it, I argue that open conversation is essential for the health and flourishing of church communities and the places they inhabit. Over the next two weeks, I will be running a 10-part series that I am calling "Becoming Conversational" in which I offer suggestions for how churches might enrich the conversational life of their church communities.  (Some of these ideas have been adapted from my earlier ebook, Growing Deeper in Our Church Communities, which … [Read more...]

[Daily Advent Reflection] The Whoring Bride of Christ.

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The Whoring Bride of Christ. Daily Advent Reflection. Chris Smith. Hosea 6:1-6 Thursday December 1, 2011 We ride our bikes around the circle in the cemetery, Weaving. I wave up to You on the Cross. Am I to come upon You suddenly Like this forever? Happy, relieved that You are here and I can see You, I can feel You? --- You are like the ticket-half I find inside the pocket of my old leaf-raking coat. There all the time, all the while, forgotten. I so often seem to leave You in churches and other islands. And on my beads where I can see You, I can feel … [Read more...]

Becoming Good Soil

Good Soil

For the last few weeks in our Sunday night conversation here at Englewood Christian Church, we have been exploring the imagery of sustainable agriculture to describe life together in the local church community.  This stream of our conversation began with the idea that churches work better as diverse poly-cultures (diverse types of people, doing diverse sorts of work), rather than mono-cultures (focusing on a narrow demographic of people –age-wise, ethnically or otherwise, or doing a single kind of work).  Last night’s conversation began with a familiar quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s … [Read more...]

Churches catalyzing local culture.

For several years now, I have been describing the work of local church communities in their particular places as catalyzing local culture.  However, I could only provide some barebones images and stories of what that might look like. This week, however, I discovered the new book Making Healthy Places from Island Press and edited by Andrew Danneberg, Howard Frumkin and Richard Jackson.  The authors whose work is offered in this volume call us to a vision of healthy community not unlike what the Old Testament prophets called shalom.  They likewise are deeply aware of the complexities -- … [Read more...]