Archives For Commons


 Interdependence Day

Celebrate Interdependence Day!!!

Five years ago, some friends and I suggested that instead of celebrating Independence Day, Christians should celebrate INTERdependence Day!

Here’s a recent reflection that I’ve written on Slow Church and why we need Interdependence Day

Here are seven books that are essential reading
for helping our churches to embody interdependence…

[easyazon_link asin=”0830841148″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus[/easyazon_link]
Chris Smith and John Pattison

Paperback: IVP Books, 2014

[ Read our review ]  [ Read an excerpt ]

 [easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0830841148″ cloaking=”default” height=”500″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”333″]

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What books have been helpful for you in thinking about interdependence in the Church?

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Today is the birthday of the late poet Wallace Stevens…

In remembrance, we offer the following poem from the volume:

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens.

Paperback: Vintage, 1990.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

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A Brief Review of
(And Reflection on)

The Ethics of Voting
Jason Brennan
Hardback: Princeton UP, 2011.
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Well, here we are in 2012, another new year and another presidential election year.  The television and internet news media are already buzzing constantly about the run-up to the November elections. But with all this buzz, how often do we think about how or why we vote, or even – GASP! – if we should be voting at all.  Enter Jason Brennan’s recent book The Ethics of Voting.

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“Recovering a Robust Public Life

A Review of
Healing the Heart of Democracy:
The Courage to Create a Politics
Worthy of the Human Spirit.

Parker J. Palmer.

Reviewed by Bob Cornwall.

[ This Review originally appeared in the ERB Print Edition, Vol. 1, #4.
Are you a subscriber? ]

healing the heart of democracy - palmerHealing the Heart of Democracy:
The Courage to Create a Politics
Worthy of the Human Spirit.

Parker J. Palmer.
Hardback: Jossey-Bass, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

[ The reviewer recently named this book the 2011 book of the year on his blog. ]

Most Americans are proud of their democratic institutions, despite the many imperfections and stains on the nation’s record as a democracy. The freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the United States have given hope to men and women of every race, ethnicity, religion, or social class, of a better future. Over time, we have developed a national mythology to give voice to these aspirations, including the declaration of the first of our two founding documents that “all [men] are created equal.” We have not always lived up to this premise, indeed, rarely have we done so, but it is there to remind us of who we might become, should we choose. Although Americans have an individualistic side to them, the Preamble to the Constitution begins with the words “We the People,” words that remind us of our interdependence as well as our independence.

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“Landscapes and Communities Defined
By Their Mutual Relationships

A review of
Nobody’s Property:
Art, Land, Space
By Kelly Baum.

Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.

Nobody’s Property: Art, Land, Space.
Kelly Baum.

Paperback:  Yale UP, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Kelly Baum begins the new book Nobody’s Property: Art, Land, Space, 2000 – 2010, which includes essays and art from a current exhibition, with a quote, which is where I’d like to begin as well: “I am my relation to you.”[1] Thus Baum introduces the notion of the commons as an underwriting theme in these gathered art practices. Baum continues, “to invoke the commons… is to immediately raise the issue of human relations and their attendant social, political, economic, and spatial peculiarities. Generally speaking, the commons refers to places that prioritize accessibility and intersubjective exchange, as well as materials that belong to everyone and thus to no one in particular.”

The commons – and its wealth – is a beautiful model in our fragmented age, as any readers of Scott Russell Sanders or Wendell Berry is surely familiar. Of course, with the commons also comes its tragedy – an all to familiar reminder that in global capitalism, any land or even space has taken on commodity status.

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A Review of
All That We Share:
A Field Guide To the Commons.

Jay Walljasper, Editor.
Introduction by Bill McKibben.
Paperback:  The New Press, 2010.

Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

An essential part of following in the way of Jesus is koinonia.  This New Testament word is often translated as “fellowship,” which in many contexts dulls the pointedness of its meaning.  The Greek root of koinonia is koine, meaning common, which is the same word that is used to describe the dialect of Greek in which the New Testament texts were written.  Perhaps a better translation of koinonia than fellowship would be “sharing in common,” and a familiar biblical image of this would be the early church in Jerusalem who shared all things in common.  Walter Brueggemann’s recent book Journey to the Common Good (reviewed here; one of our best books of 2010), uses the Old Testament texts to explore – in essence – what a community that really cared about koinonia might look like.  Brueggemann’s book is essential reading for rooting a theological understanding of why koinonia should be a defining characteristic of our church communities, in both the life we share together within our congregations and the manner in which we engage our neighbors in our particular places.  However, for exploring the practicalities of what a community defined by sharing might look like, Jay Walljasper’s new book All That We Share: A Field Guide To the Commons, would make a perfect complement to Brueggemann’s work.

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By John Clare

[Recommended in the “Commons Canon” Appendix
to Jay Walljasper’s All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons.
Read our review above ]

Summer pleasures they are gone like to visions every one
And the cloudy days of autumn and of winter cometh on
I tried to call them back but unbidden they are gone
Far away from heart and eye and for ever far away
Dear heart and can it be that such raptures meet decay
I thought them all eternal when by Langley Bush I lay
I thought them joys eternal when I used to shout and play
On its bank at ‘clink and bandy’ ‘chock’ and ‘taw’ and ducking stone
Where silence sitteth now on the wild heath as her own
Like a ruin of the past all alone

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