All posts tagged “Common Good PHX

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Interview with Andy Crouch for Common Good PHX

As we prepare for Common Good PHX, to be held next Friday and Saturday at Christ Church Anglican in Phoenix, I thought it would be nice to do a video interview with Andy Crouch, our main speaker for the event. Being the generous guy that he is, Andy agreed.

In this video, Andy discusses:

  • What Christianity Today‘s This Is Our City project is and how it came about
  • What piques his interest about the city of Phoenix
  • What we mean when we talk about “the common good” and “the flourishing of our city”
  • What he’ll be sharing with us at Common Good PHX

There’s still time to register if you haven’t done so already. Registration is still $15, but the price goes up on Monday, so reserve your seat soon! To register and to learn more about the event, visit


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The flourishing of Phoenix


If I were to ask you to name a handful of United States cities roughly synonymous with the word flourishing, Phoenix probably wouldn’t be at the top of your list. It’s really hot, after all, with a lot of sand. Points of interest tend to be really spread out. Between numerous unremarkable buildings you’ll find a great deal of concrete. People who move here tend to move on fairly quickly. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

So it’s particularly audacious of us to talk about – much less work for – “the flourishing of our city.” But that’s precisely what we aim to do, in some small way, through Common Good PHX.

A word about that audacity: my generation wants to change the world, including a desire to revitalize our cities. One of our glaring problems, however, is that we live nearly entirely lost in the moment, with a fuzzy vision of our hoped-for future, and almost no concern whatsoever for the past.

If we want to understand the city in which we live, and if we want to help chart a better course forward, we need to understand what got us to where we are today. Jon Talton – aka “Rogue Columnist” – has written a fascinating three-part series called “Phoenix 101: What killed downtown.” It’s a grim title, I know, but the series serves as an important history lesson.

Part one begins with the founding of the township in 1870 and chronicles the city’s development up to 1940. Part two takes us through the ‘40s to the early ‘70s. And the series concludes by bringing us up to date.

“When you see downtown Phoenix today,” Talton advises, “Be kind. No other major city suffered the combination of bad luck, poor timing, lack of planning, vision and moneyed stewards, as well as outright civic vandalism.”

You’ll have to read the whole series to see what he means by that, but that quote paints a vivid picture in itself. While times and circumstances may change, Phoenix as we know it in 2013 is built on the foundation laid for us in generations past, for better and for worse.

At Common Good PHX, to be held at Christ Church Anglican on April 12-13, Andy Crouch will lead us through the story of culture, the work of culture, and the hope of culture, stirring our imaginations to consider how we can serve the common good of Phoenix through our vocations. We’ll grapple honestly with some of our city’s pressing challenges, but we’ll also celebrate the ways in which Christians from all walks of life are making “common-good decisions” in their daily lives.

The story of our city continues to unfold. As Talton puts it, “Bad fortune, worse policy, poor timing, civic vandalism and indifference did their best to kill [downtown Phoenix]. They failed.”

In other words, “the flourishing of our city” isn’t out of the question just yet. We hope you’ll join us for Common Good PHX as we consider what we can cultivate and create so that Phoenix might one day be known as a city that flourishes.

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Invitation to Common Good PHX

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly noticed I have a habit of including stories from Christianity Today‘s This Is Our City project in my weekly Repaso. Yep, guilty as charged.

The idea behind the project, if you’re not familiar, is to tell stories about the ways Christians are seeking the flourishing of their cities, largely through vocations that wouldn’t necessarily be considered “full-time Christian ministry.” Rather, by making everyday common good decisions, believers are doing wonderful and inspiring things in small towns and big cities all over the place. If not for this project, it’s safe to say these stories would mostly go untold. And that would be a real shame. After all, in a world of so much bad news, good news is, well, good news!

Katie and I have each written for the project – Katie told the story of the Chris and Bethany, who are finding creative ways to build community in their apartment complex, and I profiled Aaron, a serial entrepreneur who thinks theologically about what faithful presence in the marketplace really looks like. We’ve been known to tweet and pin things for the project as well, for what that’s worth.

andy-crouchAnd now we’re so excited to be part of the team that’s organizing Common Good PHX, a two-day event in mid-April featuring our friend Andy Crouch. Andy wrote the excellent book Culture Making, and in his three plenary talks, he’ll lead us through the story of culture, the work of culture, and the hope of culture, stirring our imaginations to consider how we can serve the common good of Phoenix through our vocations. We’ll also have opportunities to hear from local Christians whose common good decisions are making Phoenix a better place for all of us.

A few key details:

  • When? April 12-13, 2013
  • Where? Christ Church Anglican (5811 N 20th St, Phoenix)
  • How much? $15 (early), $20 (late)

Everything else you need to know about it here.

Registration for the event is now open, and we’d love to see you there!

[Photo: Donald M. Burns via]

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Repaso: March 1, 2013


1. Consuming church
Amy Simpson on what happens when churches act like businesses:

Churches behave like businesses but act surprised when people in their congregations behave like consumers. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against being organized. I’m not against plans. Anyone who knows me would laugh at that idea; I can’t go 10 minutes without organizing something. And if I had something against business, I wouldn’t have an MBA. But there’s a difference between organizing and institutionalizing. Between making plans and packaging them. Between building a loving community and surrounding yourself with “the best.” And it makes no sense to establish a business and expect either your employees or your customers to pitch in like they’re at a family reunion.

2. Yearning for the way things will be
Gideon Strauss offers a Lenten meditation on his experience serving as an interpreter for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

During Lent we reflect on the life of the one who makes reconciliation possible. We recall moments of reconciliation, in our own lives and in the history of this wonderful, heartbroken world. But we look around and see, mostly, accommodation to the way things are. And so we yearn for the way things could be, for the way things will one day be. Slowly, as the days lengthen, we are turned, in our reflecting and remembering and yearning, toward the rising of the Christ, and the eventual complete reconciliation of all things in that rising.

3. Selling books to Johnny Cash
Jeff Elder worked in his family’s used bookstore in Nashville as a teenager, and during that time, this happened:

One summer day I sat at the large wooden desks we used in the store as front counters. The fans twirled hypnotically. The sun bleared through the storefront windows, shined along the shelves of old books, faded as it passed over the scuffed black-and-green tile floor, and died before it reached me. I was in the cool shadows, removed, reading I don’t remember what. A large figure in black appeared before me. It was Johnny Cash. He said the perfect thing for Johnny Cash to say. This is what he said: “Son, where are your books on trains?”

4. Common Good PHX
After months of tossing ideas around and weeks of hammering out details, I’m excited to begin spreading the word about Common Good PHX, a two-day conference featuring Andy Crouch, who will be speaking on the topic of how Christians in Phoenix can contribute to the flourishing of our city. The event will be held April 12-13 at Christ Church Anglican, and will also include local breakout speakers. Learn more and register here.


QU4RTETS from Pilar Timpane on Vimeo.

[Photo credit: Lakewood Church, Houston via]