Archives For C. Christopher Smith

 

This brief essay by ERB Editor C. Christopher Smith,
originally appeared in the very first print issue of our magazine (Advent 2010)…

We reprint it here today in honor of Allen Ginsberg’s birthday.

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AllenGinsberg-AldrichHow Not To Be A Counter-Culture:
A few thoughts occasioned by a reading of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg’s correspondence


Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg:
The Letters

Bill Morgan & David Stanford, editors

Hardback: Viking, 2010
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

by C. Christopher Smith

 

I have long been intrigued by the works and lives of the Beat writers, the spontaneity and attentiveness of their works combined with their critiques of the stifling culture of post-World-War-II middle-class American Christianity have been particularly appealing to me. Although the term “Beat Generation” is commonly used to refer to wide array of American counter-culturalists from the mid-1940s to the early-1960s, Jack Kerouac’s assessment in the essay “The Philosophy of the Beat Generation” (Esquire 1958) that the “Beat Generation” was a short-lived phenomenon in the late 1940s among a tight-knit group of friends based in New York City is widely accepted today. In order to understand this movement, if we accept Kerouac’s definition, we would do well to examine the relationships between those in this seminal group of New York friends. Key among those friends are Kerouac himself and Allen Ginsberg, and there is no better way to trace the arc of their friendship than by examining their correspondence. Thankfully, for ones like myself who have an interest in this sort of study, the bulk of the correspondence between these two writers has recently been published by Viking Books. This volume, entitled Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg: The Letters, paints a vibrant picture of the counter-cultural movement spawned among Kerouac, Ginsberg and their New York friends and its infusion across the American landscape in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Continue Reading…

 

C. Christopher Smith - Letters to Me - ExcerptHere is an excerpt from the letter I wrote for this new volume…

Letters to Me: Conversations With a Younger Self.
Dan Schmidt, Editor.

Buy now: 
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Other Contributors include: Margot Starbuck, Tamára Lunardo, David Baer, Seth Barnes, Lore Ferguson, Lyla Lindquist, Anita Mathia, Brian McLaren, Penny Nash, Wade Owlett, Kristin Ritzau, Aletheia Schmidt, Therese Schwenkler, Charity Singleton, Shawn Smucker, J. B. Wood, and Eric Sheridan Wyatt.

 

[ Read more about the book on the Slow Church blog… ]

 

 

The Violence of Impatience

Opening Paragraphs of my Letter to my Younger Self

C. Christopher Smith

Dear Chris,

 

I praise God often for the passion for truth and justice that you have. You want to see the shalom of God’s kingdom fully embodied here on earth and have deeply devoted yourself to this work. I am concerned, however, that in your zeal for these true and excellent ends, you have become inattentive to the ways in which you pursue these ends.

 

Perhaps your urgency to see the reconciliation of all things in God’s creation is causing its own sorts of divisions that will eventually need to be reconciled? My hope is that you will not cause new problems in trying to solve old ones. After all, we live in an interconnected creation; the greater the force we exert upon others, even with the noble intent of moving us all forward toward God’s shalom, the greater the pain that the whole creation will have to bear.

Continue Reading…

 

Shameless plug here…

The Virtue of Dialogue - C. Christopher SmithERB editor Chris Smith has written a little ebook called

The Virtue of Dialogue: Conversation as a Hopeful Practice of Church Communities,

which is now available from Patheos Press:

http://amzn.to/virtueofdialogue

This ebook narrates Englewood Christian Church’s practice of conversation, how we — a failed megachurch — stumbled in the practice of conversation 15 years ago, and how it has transformed us and continues to transform us.  A strong case is made that open, conversation is an essential and timely practice for all churches.

“There is something very 1st Century about Englewood, and there’s also something very postmodern — that’s because Englewood is seeking to be missional, not by theorizing about it but by actually doing it. Where they began is where we all need to begin: with conversation. We must face one another in a listening mode. Only then can our words become genuine conversation. This little book could be revolutionary for your own faith community.”
– Scot McKnight, author of The King Jesus Gospel and Junia Is Not Alone
“The story of the Englewood Christian Church is a compelling one, not because it’s unusual (which it is), but because it narrates a story of church rebirth many people are experiencing under the radar of the ‘success-driven’ U.S. Christian establishment. Beautifully written, stunningly simple, this piece by Chris Smith gives hope for all those working in churches in the midst of long decline. To you who are looking for a way forward that is different from the latest mega church conference, I urge you to read this little book.”
– David Fitch, B.R. Lindner Professor of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary, author of The End of Evangelicalism?

The Virtue of Dialogue is available for download as a Kindle ebook for only $2.99!
http://amzn.to/virtueofdialogue
(if you want to tell others about this ebook, use this shortlink which benefits the ERB)

If you do not have a Kindle, Kindle apps for your computer or smartphone are FREE and easy to install…

It is also now available for the NOOK (at the same $2.99 price)…

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