The Spoken Word vs. The Written Word

The Spoken Word

I've been writing about lectio divina this week, as part of my next book project on Reading for the Common Good.  I'm fascinated by the early monastic practice of (almost always) reading aloud, which not only was common practice in that day, but also served to engage the body as well as the mind in learning and meditating upon scripture.  As part of my research, I encountered the following passage from Eugene Peterson's Eat this Book.I had never really thought about how important the spoken word is and how the written word is a reduction of the spoken word, eliminating such important c … [Read more...]

Chris Smith’s Summer Reading…

SlowReading

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...]

Slow Reading?

open_book

Last week I wrote an article recommending poetry as one way to help us slow down in our ever-accelerating world.  This piece, "In Defense of Poetry," was published yesterday on RELEVANT magazine's website. (and giving credit where credit is due, this piece was inspired by Phil Kenneson's excellent talk at the Ekklesia Project gathering last month, on which I hope to do a series of reflections here in the near future).But my editor at RELEVANT stuck a little tagline on my article that contains a thought that I cannot get out of my head: "With all the Slow Movements picking up steam, maybe … [Read more...]

Reading for Conversation.

Bibliothek_St._Florian

John and I agree that the practice of reading is essential to our understanding of Slow Church. Indeed, it was a mutual love of books that connected us in the first place.  In the age of talking heads, the soundbite and the two-minute YouTube video, reading is a practice that can be useful for slowing churches down and guiding us into meaningful conversations.  Here at Englewood Christian Church, we are blessed to have many people who are deeply committed to the practice of reading, which continually energizes our on-going Sunday night conversation (I have told the story of this a … [Read more...]

Eternal Beings Living in Time: On Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow”

wendell-berry

I have an unusually long commute these days, a burden I am taking steps to alleviate. The commute is redeemed somewhat by the opportunity to listen to audiobooks. If someone sets out to be a writer, the first piece of advice they get to is to keep writing. The second is to keep reading. I would append the second bit of advice to say "Keep reading. When possible, read out loud or be read to." There is something special about the way hearing a book, story, or poem read aloud can tune a writer's ear to the music of language and good storytelling.For the most part, I've been using the commute … [Read more...]


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