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Slow Church Reading Group Week 2: Ecology

A few weeks ago, @Pete posted the following in the Rabbit Room discussion forum:

“… When I look at the news (or Facebook) these days, I’m appalled at society’s increasing inability to disagree without falling into insult or anger or hate (or out of sound logic). Why is the art of understanding another’s point of view so thoroughly eroded? Why does it seem like compromise a bad word? As a society, is there even a pathway back to a place of gracious and thoughtful discourse? Or is the monster out of control until it’s run its course?”

His questions, particularly in an election year, are significant. There are no easy answers. However, we can begin the work of reconciliation and productive dialogue by engaging our imaginations. How could we interact differently with those who have different viewpoints? How might we respond to tragedy or brokenness in ways other than placing blame or taking the opportunity to justify our own beliefs?  Perhaps learning to lament is a helpful first step.

“To lament is to come alongside those who grieve, to sit with them (literally and figuratively) in the silence and to recognize there that in God’s interconnected creation, their pain is our pain. We might, in the silence, consider how it is that we share in the same pain. To lament is not to offer words of comfort; it is not to try to fix the problem or to prevent it from ever happening again. Diving headlong into a debate about gun control, for instance, after a tragic shooting such as the ones in Aurora, Colorado, or Newton, Connecticut, is not lament. Lament is the time for the hard work of searching our own souls, looking for the sorts of rebellion and violence that if untended could burst into violence toward others. (p.115)”

I’ve been sitting with this quote for weeks. Our reading of Slow Church seems particularly timely.

Whether you’re reading along with us or not, consider the following quotes, then choose a question or two to answer and share with the group. Since some of our group is just getting started and others may be reading ahead, we’ve numbered the questions (starting with chapter 1). It would be helpful if you’d number your responses accordingly. Our hope is that anyone can step in and participate and easily navigate the conversation as it unfolds. Feel free to answer either here in the comments, or over at the discussion forum.

Slow Church Week 2 – Second Course: Ecology

“Reconciliation is our capacity to talk and work and play with ‘the other’ toward the common good.” (p.111)

7. Given the current political landscape, how could you apply (practically – not theoretically) that principle in your life?

“Lament is the time for the hard work of searching our own souls, looking for the sorts of rebellion and violence that if untended could burst into violence toward others.” (p.115)

8.  When facing tragedy or injustice, what are some of your “go-to” responses rather than to lament? What would it look like for you to lament rather than default to (fill in the blank)?

“Redistribution teaches us to grow deeper in the reconciling economy of God in which God provides abundantly for us in order that we might share abundantly with others.” (p.143)

9. How has God provided abundantly for you? (Think not only of material provision, but also of talents, relationships, etc.) How might you share in that abundance with others?

“Sabbath, then, becomes for us the day in which we pause our striving and start abiding.” (p. 147)

10. Describe a time when you experienced a deep Sabbath rest. What were the circumstances?

11. What stands in the way of your experiencing Sabbath rest on a routine basis? What’s one practical step you can take to help remove that obstacle?


If you’re just joining us, you can catch up here:


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