Archives For Christian Community


“A Vibrant Contrast to
the Madness of our Hypermobile Culture

A Review of
The Wisdom of Stability:
Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture

by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

The Wisdom of Stability:
Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.
Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2010.
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Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove THE WISDOM OF STABILITYTransience is a major curse of our age.  From those who are always on the move to avoid their creditors to the upwardly mobile who are always seeking greener pastures, it seems that everyone is on the move.  In our urban neighborhood, it is a fairly common practice for renters to move into a new place, paying the first month’s rent, and then forego paying the second month’s rent, and then at the end of the second month when their account is 30 days past due, the eviction process is started and the renter then has 30 days until they are evicted.  Thus, crafty renters can get three months worth of housing for the price of one month, and force themselves into a cycle of moving every three months (or more if they are able to scrape together more than a single month’s rent).  These habits have larger cultural implications; I have heard of a public school in our neighborhood that has turnover rates as high as 95% from one year to the next (i.e., only 5 % of the students who started in a grade one year were still at the school a year later).  Lest I get too critical, it occurred to me recently that I myself have, in the last 15 years (since the summer before my senior year of college), lived at a staggering twelve  addresses in four different states!  Thankfully, I have been fortunate to live in the same house for the last six years, and have no intention of moving any time soon, and am slowly learning here about the historic Christian practice of stability.

Given the great mobility of American culture, it is not surprising that stability is virtually unknown in our churches today.  In the historically Black Walltown neighborhood of Durham, North Carolina, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and the Rutba House community have been growing roots over the last decade in that place and re-learning the practice of stability.  Hartgrove has reflected on these experiences and on the Christian tradition of stability in his excellent new book, The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture.  This new volume features a foreword by Kathleen Norris, who herself has reflected eloquently on stability in her most recent book Acedia and Me (which was our 2008 Book of the Year).  The book also features narrative “Front Porch” reflections interspersed between the chapters, in which Wilson-Hartgrove captures vignettes from his own life that cut to the heart of the “craft” of stability.

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An excerpt from the recent book

A Blessed Life:
Benedictine Guidelines for Those Who Long for Good Days
Wil Derkse.
Paperback: Liturgical Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ A
mazon ]


In our continuing effort to fund the publication and free distribution of The Englewood Review, we are going to be collaborating more intentionally with Christian Book Distributors. Primarily, we will be offering you the opportunity to buy bargain books from CBD that we think of are interest. Buying books this way is a win / win / win proposition. You get great books for a great price, CBD gets the sale and we get an excellent referral fee from CBD.

This week’s bargain books (Click to learn more/purchase)
Four Books on Christian Community:

457966: The Rule of St. Benedict The Rule of St. Benedict

By St. Benedict / Dover Publications


Modestly described by its author as “a little rule for beginners,” this masterpiece of spiritual wisdom dates from the sixth century. It was originally intended as a manaual for aspiring monks, a diverse group composed of serfs, scholars, shepherds, and sons of the nobility. Benedict’s teachings have guided readers from every walk of life, encouraging with advice regarding the dignity of labor, the challenge of responsibility, and the proper use of resources

22200X: The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God"s Family The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God’s Family

By Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner / Westminster John Knox Press

$2.99 – Save 90%!!!

This is front-line work on an urgent topic, that practical kind of “how to” book on one level, and the “why to” theology work we have needed, on another. It is hard to think of any Christian who will have to read it who will not have acquired new perspectives on adoption and on God as Adopter, perspectives that we solely need and will surely welcome.

221750: The Social Visions of the Hebrew Bible The Social Visions of the Hebrew Bible

By John David Pleins / Westminster John Knox Press

$4.99 – Save 88%!!!

A full-scale study of the social vision of the Hebrew Bible. Adopting a sociological and historical approach, the book analyzes biblical statements about social ethics within a framework provided by Israel’s social institutions, the social locations of its actors, and the historical struggles for power and survival.

430371: Why Church Matters: Worship, Ministry, and Mission in Practice Why Church Matters: Worship, Ministry, and Mission in Practice

By Jonathan R. Wilson / Baker Books

$2.99 – Save 85%

What exactly is it we’re called to do when we meet as God’s people? Wilson offers compelling insights on “gathered worship” as work, witness, and warfare. He examines practices of baptism, communion, and foot-washing; and shows how glorifying God together grounds us in truth and the language of faith. Invaluable reflections for leaders and laypeople. 240 pages, softcover from Brazos.