One of the keys to understanding Slow Church is captured in the seventeenth-century French phrase le goût de terroir, which can be translated “the taste of the place.”
Carlo Petrini, co-founder of the Slow Food movement, writes often about terroir as “the combination of natural factors (soil, water, slope, height above sea level, vegetation, microclimate) and human ones (tradition and practice and cultivation) that gives a unique character to each small agricultural locality and the food grown, raised, made, and cooked there.” Thus, a Pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley takes on the taste and texture of the grape, the soil, the barrel, and the late frost. Milk, it turns out, is also highly sensitive to terroir, according to a fascinating and slightly terrifying article on raw milk in the latest issue of The New Yorker.
In the same way that food and wine take on the taste of the place, Slow Church is rooted in the natural, human, and spiritual cultures of particular places. Slow Church is a distinctively local expression of the global body of Christ. “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message).