“It is [biblically] noteworthy that the space of salvation is not limitless open space. It is defined rather as a secure dwelling, a quiet resting place, an immovable tent. The vision of the celestial city in Revelation explains in detail the length and width and height of the ciity. Its boundaries are generous, but they are boundaries nevertheless. They give definition to the space that is envisaged. The definition of space is the task of architects and engineers, planners and sculptors and so on. Through their efforts space is given shape and form. It is appropriate then for theologians to consider, in consultation with the shapers of space, how that shaping may anticipate and bear witness to the coming kingdom of God…Among many lessons to be learned…is the folly of Babel-like inattention to human scale and capacity. We envisage rather, the more modest and faithful task of identifying the ways in which the construction and habitation of our built enviroment, alongside all other aspects of our human life together, may constitute, in attentiveness to the Word of God spoken in Christ, a witness to the coming kingdom of God.” – Murray Rae, “Theology and the Built Environment: Setting the Agenda” 2002.
Rev. Eric O. Jacobsen is the author of The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment and Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith. He is the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, WA where he lives with his wife, four kids, and nine chickens. He has written numerous articles and lectured on the question of how the shape of our public spaces affects our experience of community. Rev. Jacobsen received his PhD in Theology & Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary and has been a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism since 2003.