Slowing Down and Reflecting Cross-generationally

Jason Fischer reflects on Slow Church:

“…I find it appropriate to confess that as a youth and family director my divided heart has been tempted to compare the programs I have created at church against those in other churches. The youth directors over at the other church always seem to have so many kids, small groups, and elaborate worship services while I struggle to keep cranking out the multitude of marginally-attended events at my own congregation. Maybe Pastors have been double-minded in this way as well, but I soon realized that my frustration with low turnout and the endless cycle of busyness was not allowing me, or our congregation, to share the best of what God had given us with each other.”

read the full post here: EP guest post, Patheos Slow Church

Living in a Material World: Lent and Our Bodies

Remember you are soil, and to soil you shall return. Gen. 3:19

The language of “spiritual journey” is commonplace in describing the season of Lent–the 40-day pilgrimage Christians undertake as they trek with Jesus from the wilderness to the garden to the garbage heap of Golgotha and beyond. “Spiritual” in this context, as in almost every other, is so vague as to be not merely unhelpful but an actual obstacle to understanding what it is that Lent through the centuries has called Christians to.

Generally, “spiritual” is meant to signal a concern with matters of the heart or the soul or the deepest self. More pointedly, it almost always springs from–even as it continues to endorse–the tired dualisms of modernity that have divided body from soul, matter from spirit, earth from heaven. This false divide, as Wendell Berry has observed, is “a fracture that runs through the mentality of institutional religion like a geologic fault.”

Interestingly, it is geology (sort of) that can help get us back on track or–forgive the pun–onto solid ground. When we receive the ashes on our foreheads we are marked with a visible sign of our mortality, yes, but we are also reminded of our link to all of creation past, present, and future–to elements both earthly and celestial, to the soil and to the stars. (We could even say: “remember you are stardust, and to stardust you shall return!”).

To read the rest click here.

James Hunter, Neo-Anabaptists, and the Ekklesia Project

EP Endorser and former regular bLOGOS contributor, Mark Ryan, shares his review of a book likely to be of interest to many in EP.

James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World (Oxford, 2010) begins with the claim that Christians are called to do just that: change the world. This vocation is grounded in Christian identification with the creating and re-creating God of scripture who issues what Hunter calls “the creation mandate.” Asserting that modern persons understand world-change primarily as cultural change, Hunter launches into a sophisticated, clear discussion of culture and the dynamics of cultural change. Read more

Madmen, Destruction, and the Art of God’s Patience

Sometimes my worlds race toward collision in frightening, yet illuminating ways. Friday, I watched the entertaining story of a ‘madman’ thwarted on the brink of high-tech global genocide by Captain America. Later than night, 60 days of growing zucchini vines was destroyed in less than 60 minutes of torrential rain. Saturday morning, I heard the tragic news of a ‘madman’ who wreaked local carnage in Norway using a few guns and a truckload of fertilizer.

In the aftermath, our temptation is to mouth platitudes about justice which are usually little more than vengeful sentiments in disguise. Read more