This page includes the video, audio, and text resources mentioned in the Study Guide. We also envision this page being a  living document. As you encounter new resources that are useful to your study group, please pass along your recommendations. We’ll add some of those resources to this page too!

 

The Characteristics of a Good Conversation

We suggest beginning the first session by collectively identifying the characteristics of a good conversation: vulnerability, confidentiality, active listening, assuming the best of each other, and so on. Then craft a set of “agreements” that participants will make with one another. For example, John’s church has developed a list of 13 agreements over several years of embracing conversation as a formative practice. These agreements are often read out loud, and they are always open to revision. They are:

  1. We will embody the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
  2. We will practice empathy
  3. We will seek to understand above being understood
  4. We will wear a thick skin so others may express their authentic thoughts and feelings
  5. We will actively listen in love
  6. We will be prepared to agree to disagree if necessary
  7. We will try not to ramble
  8. We will not play the role of know-it-all
  9. We will look for opportunities to find common ground
  10. We will acknowledge Christ’s presence among us and in each one of us
  11. We will lay down the need to persuade
  12. We will try not to be defensive, nor will we posture ourselves for the offense
  13. We will not be afraid of silence

 

Study Guide Resources

Session 1. A Theological Vision for Slow Church

Facilitator Prep

Slow Food Manifesto

Carl Honoré, “In Praise of Slowness” (TED Talk)

David Fitch, “A Slow Church Ecclesiology” (audio)

Welcome

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “Trust in the Slow Work of God” (poem)

 

Session 2. Terroir: Taste and See

Facilitator Prep

Blog Post: David Fitch’s alternative criteria for measuring church success

Alan Roxburgh, “Why Join God in the Neighborhood?” (video)

Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, and Dwight Friesen, “The New Parish Movement” (short video series)

Welcome

Wendell Berry, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” (poem)

 

Session 3. Stability: Fidelity to People and Place

Facilitator Prep

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, “The Wisdom of Stability for Churches” (video)

“What Are the Instruments of Good Works?,” The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter IV

Welcome

Wendell Berry, “A Poem on Hope” (text). Berry reading “A Poem on Hope” on Moyers & Company (video)

 

Session 4. Patience: Entering into the Suffering of Others

Facilitator Prep

Kahn Academy, “Crash Course World History: The Industrial Revolution” (video)

Renovaré, “The Jesus Way Conference Preview” (video)

Welcome

Over the Rhine, “All I Need is Everything” (song)

 

Session 5. Wholeness: The Reconciliation of All Things

Facilitator Prep

Howard A. Snyder, preface and introduction, Salvation Means Creation Healed

Jo Bailey Wells, “On the Psalms of Lament and Resources for Healing” (video)

Parker Palmer on Clearness Committees (video)

Welcome

Liberty Hyde Bailey, “Brotherhood” (poem)

 

Session 6. Work: Cooperating with God’s Reconciling Mission

Facilitator Prep

Christianity Today, This Is Our City (short video series)

Leadership Journal, Redeeming Work Conferences (short video series)

 

Session 7. Sabbath: The Rhythm of Reconciliation

Facilitator Prep

Eugene Peterson, “Prayer Time,” Working the Angles

Norman Wirzba, “A Sabbath Way to Lead”

Wendell Berry, This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems (book)

Sabbath Manifesto

Welcome

Wendell Berry, “I go among trees and sit still” (poem)

Closing Thought

Andy Crouch, “Why Should I Observe the Sabbath?” (video)

 

Session 8. Abundance: The Economy of Creation

Facilitator Prep

Walter Brueggemann, “The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity”

William T. Cavanaugh, “When Enough Is Enough” (Sojourners article, unfortunately behind a paywall)

Christine Pohl, “An Economy of Gratitude and Hospitality” (audio)

 

Session 9. Gratitude: Receiving the Good Gifts of God

Facilitator Prep

David Steindl-Rast, “Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful” (video)

Tim Soerens, “Gratitude as Resistance: An Ancient Idea for Our Collective Anxiety”

Jim Diers, The Seven Principles of Asset-Based Community Development (video)

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry (video)

Welcome

Mary Oliver, “Messenger” (poem)

 

Session 10. Hospitality: Generously Sharing God’s Abundance

Facilitator Prep

Interview with Christine Pohl, “Grace Enters with the Stranger” (video/text)

Elizabeth Newman, Untamed Hospitality (book)

Jean Vanier, “Belonging” (video)

 

Session 11. Dinner Table Conversation as a Way of Being Church

Facilitator Prep

Michael Pollan, Cooked (pp. 7-10)

St. Lydia’s Dinner Church (video)

Dan Merica, “Washington Gridlock Linked to Social Funk” (CNN article)

John Howard Yoder, “Disciples Break Bread Together,” Body Politics (book)

Welcome

Joy Harjo, “Perhaps the World Ends Here” (poem)

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