Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

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9780830841141: Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
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2014 Readers' Choice Award Winner 2014 Best Books About the Church from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore Fast food. Fast cars. Fast and furious. Fast forward. Fast . . . church? The church is often idealized (or demonized) as the last bastion of a bygone era, dragging our feet as we're pulled into new moralities and new spiritualities. We guard our doctrine and our piety with great vigilance. But we often fail to notice how quickly we're capitulating, in the structures and practices of our churches, to a culture of unreflective speed, dehumanizing efficiency and dis-integrating isolationism. In the beginning, the church ate together, traveled together and shared in all facets of life. Centered as they were on Jesus, these seemingly mundane activities took on their own significance in the mission of God. In Slow Church, Chris Smith and John Pattison invite us to leave franchise faith behind and enter into the ecology, economy and ethics of the kingdom of God, where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church.

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About the Author:

C. Christopher Smith is editor of The Englewood Review of Books and a member of the Englewood Christian Church community on the urban Near Eastside of Indianapolis. He is the coauthor of Slow Church. Chris's writing has appeared in Books and Culture, Sojourners, The Christian Century and Indiana Green Living.

Review:

"The authors write clearly and persuasively; each section of the book offers a theoretical and scriptural basis for the ideas discussed and practical suggestions for their implementation." (Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW, April 14, 2014)

"Slow Church is a manifesto and handbook rolled into one. Unlike most manifestos, it is beautifully written, blending historical analysis, personal narrative, and scriptural exegesis into prose that is languid, incisive, and eloquent. It reads like what it is: the long, patient fruit of two men deeply rooted in a particular place, among neighbors they know, love, and serve. . . . No matter the size of our church body or the kind of neighborhood we live in, we would all do well to slow down and examine ourselves in the clearest light available―the light of history, the light of Scripture, and the light of Christ himself―rather than the fluorescent light of business models and burger joints. Make haste, then. Run, do not walk, to your favorite bookstore, buy a copy, and set your church table for a feast." (Leslie Leyland Fields, Christianity Today, September 2014)

"Slow Church explores being church in a way that emphasizes deep engagement in local people and places, quality over quantity, and in all things taking the long view―understanding individuals and congregations as participants in the unfolding drama of all creation. . . . The strength of this book is in its consistent encouragement to reorient ourselves through prayer, scripture, and practice to God's abundant gifts and wellspring of possibilities, even in broken places and circumstances. While the generative imaginative space this creates doesn't work miracles (remember, we're talking slow) on tight church budgets, neighbors struggling with an exploitative landlord, or conflict in community, it does open us up to material and spiritual resources we might otherwise overlook and remind us that transformation, though it may be a long time coming, is promised to us and all creation. . . . For inspiration you may find yourself returning to this gracefully written ode to God's wonders close at hand, with its vision for individuals and faith communities to savor that goodness and more fully incarnate Christ's love, wherever we have been called to be." (Julie Polter, Sojourners, September/October 2014)

"The final chapter of Slow Church envisions, quite biblically and appropriately, church as a shared meal; a 'dinner table conversation as a way of being the church.' Questions that arise during the course of planning a meal―What will we eat? Who will do which tasks? Where will we buy the food and who is invited to the table―reflect many of the same questions raised throughout the book about the way communities of worship think about and implement their way of being in the world. They are questions worth lingering over, even for those who are content with their current ways of being a part of the church, for they invite everyone to a deeper enjoyment of and engagement with the often-strange experience that is church." (Rachel Marie Stone, Books & Culture, September/October 2014)

"Inspired by the 'slow food' movement and disheartened by the 'fast' church trends, Smith and Pattison are advocating for 'reimagining what it means to be communities of believers gathered and rooted in particular places at a particular time.' Slow Church promises something richer and more substantive than quick fixes." (Relevant Magazine, May/June 2014)

"At long last, a book I relish giving away to the vast number of people longing for an alternative between 'McDonald Church' and the end of the church altogether. In neighborhoods across North America there are hundreds of thousands of Christ-followers trying to experiment with a new way of being the church in everyday life. Now there is a hopeful guidebook that is rich with empirical and anecdotal research, historical depth and theological savvy that can guide their way. This is the book you rush out and buy a dozen copies of to give hope and help to your friends who want to follow the way of Jesus." (Paul Sparks, coauthor of The New Parish and cofounder of Parish Collective)

"Smith and Pattison marshal the wisdom of our greatest cultural thinkers―people like Berry, Heschel, Pollan and Vanier―in this tour-de-force manifesto. This smart book reveals the vacuity of fast church and realigns us with the locality, rest, unpredictability and simple delight that comes with the way of Jesus." (Jon M. Sweeney, author of When Saint Francis Saved the Church)

"In this agitated and anxious world, our worth is determined by our productivity and our value is measured by how much we can devour. Without much thought, even our churches have become tangled up in our quick-consumption mentality. In the midst of the greedy mindlessness of ministry, C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison evoke a different vision―one of a careful community of deep relationships. As a pastor, I lingered over the words of Slow Church with delight as they inspired me and made me welcome what we might become." (Carol Howard Merritt, pastor, author of Reframing Hope and Tribal Church)

"Hurry, worry, stress and striving have come to dominate human consciousness in the twenty-first century―the logical consequences of a society built on individualism and productivity at any cost. We long for a pace of life that allows us to enjoy deep relationships, meaningful work, spiritual vitality and the simple pleasures of life. In Slow Church, Pattison and Smith offer a hopeful vision of the future, rooted in the Christian gospel, that provides a comprehensive orientation for pursuing a more integrative path. This book tenderly calls common assumptions about the church and society into question, carefully synthesizing Christian theology with emerging ecological consciousness. For the sake of our souls, our grandchildren and the planet, I hope we pay attention to Smith and Pattison's conclusions and take action." (Mark Scandrette, author of Free and Practicing the Way of Jesus)

"All of our churches are shaped by our cultural environments, and Smith and Pattison note how forces such as fragmentation, impatience, commodification, branding, hypermobility, individualism and efficiency too often dominate our practices and priorities. So we strive for control in the midst of fears and self-protection. Slow Church provides theology and imagination that connect gospel embodiment with place and neighbors, calling us to slower lives around tables and conversations that nourish and interweave gratefulness, listening, work, hospitality, justice and the biblical trajectory toward the reconciliation of all things. Less of McDonalds; more of sabbath feasts." (Mark Lau Branson, Homer L. Goddard Professor of the Ministry of the Laity, Fuller Seminary)

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Book Description InterVarsity Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 2014 Readers' Choice Award Winner 2014 Best Books About the Church from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore Fast food. Fast cars. Fast and furious. Fast forward. Fast . . . church? The church is often idealized (or demonized) as the last bastion of a bygone era, dragging our feet as we're pulled into new moralities and new spiritualities. We guard our doctrine and our piety with great vigilance. But we often fail to notice how quickly we're capitulating, in the structures and practices of our churches, to a culture of unreflective speed, dehumanizing efficiency and dis-integrating isolationism. In the beginning, the church ate together, traveled together and shared in all facets of life. Centered as they were on Jesus, these seemingly mundane activities took on their own significance in the mission of God. In Slow Church, Chris Smith and John Pattison invite us to leave franchise faith behind and enter into the ecology, economy and ethics of the kingdom of God, where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church. Seller Inventory # AA79780830841141

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