Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Slow Church

slow-church-book

Chris Smith and John Pattinson want to start a revolution, a slow church revolution, and I hope they succeed. What is slow church?

A slow church is one that seeks to follow in the Way of Jesus day by day, even when doing so seems inconvenient or even impossible. A key part of our slowing down as churches is taking the life and teachings of Jesus seriously, not ignoring them or rationalizing them away but really seeking to embody Jesus together within all the particularities of our own neighborhoods. (p. 94)

Many people do not take the time to slow down and even consider how much we are influenced by the culture in which we live. Christianity began as a counter-cultural movement, but recently much of Christianity has acquiesced and embraced our culture. Chris and John are calling for a slow resistance to culture by embracing the teachings of Jesus. Slow Church is an excellent introduction to what this looks like. It combines theology, ethics, and practical examples and presents a picture of what a healthy church who takes Jesus seriously might look like.

Slow Church is not a fad, a new program, or a gimmick to be tried for a few months until something better comes along. Slow Church is the opposite of all these things. It argues against them and suggests these things are one of the problems with the modern church. We want quick fixes. We want something that will change lives overnight or produce instant growth. When we adopt this mentality we are mirroring the fast-food culture in which we live. We want things our way and we want it now. We try program after program with very little to show for it simply because Christianity does not work this way. Mature Christians are not made overnight. Christianity is more accurately described as “a long obedience in the same direction” (This is the title of a classic book on discipleship by Eugene Peterson).

Slow Church is not something new, although the ideas within the book may be new to some people. It is a way of life that can be traced back to the beginnings of Christianity and has roots in Judaism before it. Western Christianity is facing some obstacles that have some Christians worried. Declining numbers, shifts in thinking, secularization, and many other things are issues Christians are concerned with. We have tried culture wars that have gotten us nowhere. We have attempted seeker sensitive worship that has failed to create a deep and mature faith. Where do we turn in uncertain times? Chris Smith and John Pattinson are arguing in Slow Church for a return to the ancient ways of Christianity. They are calling us to invest in people and our communities. They are calling us to be Christians 24/7 and not just on Sunday. These ways are not always easy, but Jesus never promised us that it would be easy. Fast, easy, and instant are things we have adopted from our culture, the ways of Jesus are much different.

Slow Church is a great read, but I hope that Christians and churches do more than just read it. I hope they will implement the ideas found within this book. I hope it will serve as a conversation starter for many Christians and church leaders. I hope we will take the time to stop, slow down, and think about what we are doing as a people who claim to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Do our practices look more like the practices of the Lamb of God, or more like our local fast-food restaurant? I hope Slow Church starts a slow revolution that catches on quickly.

Learn more about Slow Church here.

You can also follow the Slow Church blog here.

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