Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Slow Church Anyone?

“[Old Entish] is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.” – Treebeard, from Lord of the Rings

Several years ago my dad passed a book on to me called In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore . In the book Carl writes about the growing Slow Movement around the world. The movement is a revolt against the relentless drive to do more, better, faster that has characterized the world since the industrial revolution and continues at an exponential pace as a result of the technological revolution. The slow movement questions whether societies and cultures may be losing their soul for the sake of efficiency and productivity, building a wonderful world where wonder itself is relegated to the margins.

Much of the “slow” movement started around the concept of slow food. Slow food is food that is prepared with intentionality, fresh ingredients, and celebrated with others. As far as the slow foods proponents are concerned the journey (preparation of the meal) is as important as the destination (the meal itself). The slow foods movement recognizes the central place of the table in relationships and that a meal can be nourishing relationally and emotionally as well as physically. But the growing slow movement isn’t simply about food but about coming out from under the tyranny of the urgent in all areas of life, living as human beings and not just human “doings”.

When I read In Praise of Slowness it really resonated with what I was beginning to feel at that time in my life as well. It seemed as if I had spent so many years working at a frenzied pace and all the while missing some of the greatest blessings that were all around me yet that I was too distracted to notice. So I was pleased to stumble across a blog today called Slow Church. The subtitle of the blog is, “because you can’t franchise the Kingdom of God.” While I haven’t read that much from the blog I am excited to see people in the church wrestling with the idea of slow church.

In the past few decades the church has become so influenced by the culture and practices of corporate America that the idea of Slow Church seems not only countercultural but almost heretical in some circles. There are very few churches questioning the paradigm of “more, bigger, faster” church growth. It is assumed that if a church is successful it will embody that way of thinking. Perhaps there is a different way to grow a church that isn’t so focused on numerical growth and quantity but depth of growth and community.

So here’s a few slow questions for today (take your time in answering them):
How do the ideals of the slow movement resonate with you?
What can church learn from the slow movement?
What might a slow church look like?

Related Posts:
Running to Stand Still
Open Hands, Open Hearts, Open Eyes
My Holograph Preaches Better than Your Hollograph

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