Christian thinkers call for a politics of ‘localism’

The participants, he said, “have always been ‘third way’ people” who do not wholly identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party and are focused on inventing a political philosophy that works for “our own neighborhood, communities, localities.” “Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, therefore we need to know who they are,” said Susannah Black, a Christian blogger who spoke at the conference. Another participant, Grace Potts, said she home-schools her six children and prefers to buy handmade goods from local vendors. “Where can I get fair-trade chocolate for the least price and from a local vendor?” Potts asks…

James K.A. Smith in Practices Making Community at Judson’s Didier Symposium

The Judson University Department of Architecture and the Association for Christians in Architecture will host the fifth annual James Didier Symposium On Christ & Architecture Sept. 15-16. …. This year’s symposium will include an impressive roster of featured guest speakers who will take on challenging and relevant topics: • “Places of the Heart: How We Learn to Love” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. Calvin College professor of philosophy and author James K.A. Smith will address the Judson community, including architecture students and faculty, visiting architects, arts professionals, as well as place-based and home schooling educators. He will explain what…

Making the Garden by Christopher Alexander | Articles | First Things

The whole purpose of the work I have done is to show that the presence of God in a matter-­configuration is an objectively existing condition, and that there are specific paths and methods and habits of thought through which we may create buildings where the presence of God can be seen and felt. The two go hand in hand. …. That new vision can become a new source of inspiration and motivation. I call it new not because it is at root genuinely new. Of course it is not—it is ancient. But it is entirely new in our era to…

The Little Way of Raymond Chandler – Front Porch Republic

… Cities are Babylon, they’re dangerous; we are often told that as urbanites, we’ve lost many of the instinctive responses that would have made Christ’s pastoral metaphors meaningful to us.  We don’t know from shepherds and wine-presses, wheat-fields and weeds. How then can I claim that living in a city can provide an extraordinarily good foundation for a local life, a human life, and a life of discipleship? It’s true that the medieval world that conservatives often look back to with longing was not urbanized: but we have to look further back still, look to the classical world that the…

Prof. Carroll William Westfall–American Architecture and the American Civil Order: the Shared Foundations • James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding

Please join us for a lecture on American architecture and the American civil order with Prof. Carroll William Westfall. Prof. Westfall has taught for nearly 50 years architecture and architectural history at the University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, and Amherst College. A central theme of all of his studies has been the history of the city with particular attention to the reciprocity between the political life and the urban and architectural elements that serve the needs of citizens. His emphasis is on the usefulness of knowledge of history to practicing architects. This, rather than a stylistically based interpretation…

On the Importance of Place | First Thoughts | First Things

One of the natural loves that humans possess is a love of place. Bubbling up from love for home and love for creation, the love of place shapes humans, conforming them to the topography of the landscapes they inhabit. As C. S. Lewis notes, to speak of a love of home is to conjure up images associated with a way of life at a particular place—all of the sights, sounds, smells, mannerisms, dialect, and other peculiarities associated with the locale. Falling in love with a locale, however, is fundamentally to peer into the beauty of creation refracted in and through…

The Catholic Writer Today Encouraging Catholic writers to renovate and reoccupy their own tradition. Dana Gioia

[excerpt from Dana Gioia, The Catholic Writer Today: Encouraging Catholic writers to renovate and reoccupy their own tradition.] The great and present danger to American literature is the growing homogeneity of our writers, especially the younger generation. Often raised in several places in no specific cultural or religious community, educated with no deep connection to a particular region, history, or tradition, and now employed mostly in academia, the American writer is becoming as standardized as the American car—functional, streamlined, and increasingly interchangeable. The globalization so obvious in most areas of the economy, including popular culture, has had a devastating impact on literature. Its…

The Mystery of Sarah Losh | Books and Culture

Self-taught architect of a curious and beautiful church. In the village of Wreay in Cumbria, five miles from the city of Carlisle, stands the curious and beautiful St. Marys Church, which since its construction in the mid-19th century has aroused much commentary and a good deal of wonderment. The pre-Raphaelite poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti called it “a church in the Byzantine style, full of beauty and imaginative detail, though extremely severe and simple” and by any measure “much more original than the things done by the young architects now.” But he could not find words to describe the church well…

Sacred Space Smackdown | Cardus Blog

Alan Jacobs takes on Aaron M. Renn on the subject of sacred space in a blog post on The American Conservative.  Renn’s original post asks some version of the question, are American suburbs less than cities because they lack sacred space? Renn answers in the affirmative; Jacobs, not so much. In his response, Jacobs challenges Renn on a number of points of inadequately defined terms and formal logic, rather like a professor spanking a student for sloppy thinking in a paper. But I find Jacobs’ critique less compelling than Renn’s original question, which is a good one, even if his…

Habits of Engagement: Faith Based Organizations and the Life of Cities | Comment Magazine | Cardus

A significant social isolation survey revealed that the number of adults in the United States who said they have no significant confidant increased threefold between 1999 and 2009, the very same span of time that has witnessed an explosion of social media tools and digital communications platforms. And a Canadian study, looking at social ramifications rather than medical outcomes, suggests these trends are not limited to the United States. We must be careful not to assume a cause and effect relationship between the two; it simply seems to be the case that despite new forms of communication, more and more…