Select Page

Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus‘ – the authors touch on how this undercurrent may have shaped our religious landscape the same way it has shaped our agricultural practices – without most of us even knowing. In the first chapter they point out:

“The industrialization of the church has, significantly, paralleled the industrialization of agriculture and the near demise of the family farm. Joel Salatin—the self-described “Christianconservative-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic farmer” featured in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the documentary Food, Inc.—has written that conventional agriculture experts view the soil as merely a convenient way to hold up the plant while it is fed from the top in the form of ever-increasing doses of chemical fertilizers. He describes this process as superimposing a mechanistic mindset onto a biological world. Nature, in contrast, feeds the plants from the bottom up, through the soil. Thus, for the conscientious farmer, the health of the soil is a top priority. Western Christianity has similarly adopted shortcuts that are the church equivalent of imposing a mechanistic mindset onto a biological world. When evaluated in terms of efficiency—defined as the easiest way to get someone from here to there, from unsaved to saved, from unchurched to churched—these top-down inputs seem to yield impressive short-term results: they can sometimes pack the pews. So on the upside, the church has been busy. On the downside, it’s not clear at what long-term costs these methods have been employed or how helpful and sustainable they will be going forward. Plug-and-play ministries, target marketing, celebrity pastors, tightly scripted worship performances, corporate branding, the substitution of nonhuman technology for human work, church growth formulas that can be applied without deference to local context, and programs upon programs upon programs— these entice us with promises of miraculous results in just a few easy steps. But, as evidenced by the growth of the Slow movement, Americans seem increasingly wary of being sold another product so scrubbed and polished and unsurprising you’d never guess it had been born of soil and sun and scat. SLOW CHURCH Slow Food and the other Slow movements hold important lessons for the American church. They compel us to ask ourselves tough questions about the ground our faith communities have ceded to the cult of speed. And they invite all of us—clergy, theologians and laypeople—to start exploring and experimenting with the possibilities of Slow Church. Not as another growth strategy, but as a way of re-imagining what it means to be communities of believers gathered and rooted in particular places at a particular time…”
As I mentioned in a previous post I am really looking forward to the soon-to-be released book ‘Slow Church’. If you are interested in getting a sneak peak and reading more of the first chapter of the book (which I highly recommend) go on over to the Englewood Review of Books.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]]]>