The most important book of 2013…

Wendell-Berry-This-Day

My pick for the most important book of 2013 is the new collection of Wendell Berry's Sabbath Poems, entitled This Day. I'll admit that it was a really close call between this book and David Mikics's volume Slow Reading in a Hurried Age, but Berry's book wins by a nose as it takes a broader view, and offers not only carefully-crafted poems, but a way of living and being in the world.  Slow Reading starts to move in the same direction, but never seems to look much beyond the scope of the reader, his or her book and its author.I posted a sample poem from Berry's collection on this blog … [Read more...]

Wendell Berry Sabbath poem – “Will-lessly the leaves fall”

WBerry-Poem

Just finished my review of the new, complete collection of Wendell Berry's Sabbath poems entitled This Day.My review will appear in the Advent print issue of The Englewood Review of Books.For now, here's a quick look at one excellent poem from the collection that is fitting for this late fall day...  … [Read more...]

Barbarians At The Gate?

Barbarians

The recent government shutdown, frustrating as it is, should not really come as all that big of a surprise. In Western culture – and particularly in the United States – we have been cultivating habits for many decades that are dissolving our capacity to talk civilly and live peaceably with our neighbors, and especially our neighbors who differ from us in prominent ways: politics, economic status, race, sexual identity, etc.  This history has been chronicled over the last thirty years by important books such as Habits of the Heart by the late Robert Bellah and others, Bowling Alone by Robert Pu … [Read more...]

Uniting Ecology and Economy – A Response to Wendell Berry

In this month's issue of The Progressive magazine, there is a wonderful article by Wendell Berry, entitled "The Commerce of Violence" (which can be read online here...), which begins: On the day of the bombing in Boston, The New York Times printed an op-ed piece by a human being who has been imprisoned at Guantánamo for more than eleven years, uncharged and, of course, untried. The occurrence of these two events on the same day was a coincidence, but that does not mean that they are unrelated.What connects them is our devaluation, and when convenient our disvaluation, of human life as … [Read more...]

How to Be a Poem

Today I was thinking about spiritual formation and what came to mind was a poem by Wendell Berry, the Kentucky writer, farmer, and activist. The poem is called "How To Be a Poet." But I think it could be re-titled "How To Be a Poem." Here's what I mean: the New Testament says we are "God's workmanship." The word used for "workmanship," poiema, is the same word from which we get our word "poem." Thus, it's not too much of a stretch to say that we are "God's poem." So much of what Berry describes here is good advice not just for the poet but for anyone who wants to put themselves in the loving h … [Read more...]

Wendell Berry and The Body.

Crossed_legs_in_repose

After recently re-reading Wendell Berry’s essay “Health is Membership” and being struck by its pertinency today, I asked a few friends to read the essay and write a Slow Church-related reflection on the essay.  The is the third of these reflections by my friend Brian Volck, who is not only a gifted writer, but also a pediatrician.     ~Chris*** Read the previous “Health is Membership” reflection by Rachel Marie StoneI’ve been teaching Wendell Berry’s essay, “Health is Membership,” in a medical school elective, “Literature and Medicine,” for over a decade, so I have reason to reread it o … [Read more...]

Agrarian News…

Ellen-Davis

It's no secret that agrarian thought has deeply shaped both John and I in our thoughts about Slow Church. Wendell Berry, the foremost agrarian of our times, is essential to this project, as is the work of Norman Wirzba, Ellen Davis, Wes Jackson and others... I wanted to share a number of new resources with you that will be helpful in understanding agrarianism and how it relates to Slow Church...At its heart, agrarianism is about reconciling with the land and with all creation (or to borrow the title of Norman Wirzba and Fred Bahnson's recent book, Making Peace with the Land.)If you … [Read more...]


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