When a MacDonald’s and its patented fast-food approach sought to open up in a new neighborhood in Paris, some locals formed the Slow Food Movement, and this caught on … so we soon had Slow Cities and Slow Money and Slow Gardening and Slow Parenting and Slow Reading and Slow Design and Slow Art and a World Slow Day.
So C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison have now designed Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus. To read this book well you have to do some slow reading, not because it is tedious — for that it is clearly not — but because we are all so hurried and harried that we need to slow down just to hear what Slow Church is all about.
What are the marks of a Fast Church? If you could do ONE THING to help create more “slow church” what would it be?
We live in a Fast Church world, and its marks are efficiency, predictability, calculability (quantifiable results), and control. Slow Church is not that, or those. It is about an ethic, an ecology, and an economics — to embody Christ, to work in the mission of God to reconcile all things, and God’s provided abundantly for all that is needed.
Here is their theology for Slow Church:
1. The Patience of God: God is shaping things, rather slowly one might observe, toward the kingdom. God is patient because God is love.
2. God collaborates with humans. From Genesis 1:26-28 on God is forming a people to do God’s work in this world.
3. Humans are both rebellious and struggle to discern good from evil.
4. The people of God are at the heart of God’s mission in this world.
The patient God then is reconciling all things to himself through the people of God.