All posts by Benjamin Vineyard

Slow Church by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison (A Book Reaction)

“We are impatient, anxious to see the whole picture, but God lets us see things slowly, quietly. The Church [has] to learn how to wait.” – Pope Francis, quoted in Slow Church.

Slow Church, written by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison (IVP, 2014), is a book that encourages an alternative way of living as the church today. This alternative isn’t new, it’s actually quite ancient, quite rooted in Jesus. But it’s an alternative to what is causing a great deal of spiritual exhaustion today, an exhaustion caused by a church or religious “experience” that is mass produced and exists not for the health of the person but for the reproducibility and market value of the franchise.

Smith and Pattison’s angle is influenced by the “slow food” movement. The “slow food” movement says that personal, communal, and global wellness are tied to the local farmers and craft-peoples – that the best is the smaller, the local, the particular of a specific season and place. “Slow food” speaks a firm, No! to the reduction of a human person to a calorie-intake machine. Instead, it says, “Taste what is local and can only be found here in this time, with these people.”

Smith and Pattison’s Slow Church is about Christian spirituality with Continue reading

Thomas Merton on Balance and Sabbath

“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its inmate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

– Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, (New York: Doubleday, 1965), p. 81

We Can Learn from All People (The Art of Spiritual Discernment)

A great development occurs in us all when we begin discerning who gives the right way and who gives the way that is dead.

“Watch their lives,” Jesus says.

Many have looked and sure enough – Jesus is right! Dead people speak dead advice. Living people speak life and vitality. We are learning from all people.

The hurdle is in coming to know what “living” means.

Yes: This development is a gift – we discover that we can learn from all people. We can respond with gratitude, even if we disagree.

Every day we’ll hear and see Continue reading