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…

Neopolis explores Christian ministry in an urban world

Today more than half the world’s population live in cities and this proportion is rapidly growing. Urban values and culture make their impact felt far more widely than just in the inner cities and shanty towns of our world. Christian ministry almost everywhere on earth is now done in a world shaped by urban values.The rapid growth of the city, and the values represented therein, has made it a complex place, a place often viewed with suspicion and fear, harbouring poverty, mistrust, violence and isolation; and yet the city is also a place which offers scope for creativity, for flourishing…

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 Stones of Washington by Michael Knox Beran, City Journal December 26, 2015

Like so many other new-made towns, Washington lacks whatever it is that gives Old Western (I have followed C. S. Lewis in capitalizing the words “Old Western” as he did in his lecture “De Descriptione Temporum”) cities like Arles and Kraków, Munich and Venice, their charm and interest. It would be extravagant to criticize Lewis for his failure to ask why Washington lacks this deeper civic artistry: yet it is difficult not to conclude that the problem of Washington—essentially the problem of the American city—is bigger than Lewis allows.A truly revealing history of any American town, big or small, would…

The Christian Case for Cities – CityLab

Eric Jacobsen is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington. His new book, The Space Between: A Christian Engagement With the Built Environment, makes a compelling case that members of the Christian faith have a special calling to care for cities, and that the form of cities matters to the success of faithful practice. The Space Between strikes me as important, in no small part because it comes from a movement not generally (albeit sometimes) associated, at least not today, with discussion of the form and structure of our cities, and thus brings what for many will be…

Building on Truth by Philip Bess | Articles | First Things

Building is a willful act of symbolic import, sometimes intended and sometimes not, and all architecture expresses the power of its makers and their aspiration to legitimate authority. This is true of individual buildings, public spaces, and all human settlements. Temple, forum, cathedral, city hall, town square, primitive hut, urban townhouse, suburban ranch burger, LEED-platinum office building, interstate highway interchange, urban landscape installation, medieval town, hypermodern metropolis—all require and represent the ability to bring them into being and sustain them over time. Their very existence requires power in the most elemental sense of the word. More than this, we attach…

Q&A Roger Scruton | RIBAJ

Roger Scruton has been appointed to a government panel to ensure design quality in the delivery of 100,000 homes in its Starter Home initiative. Can this philosopher and writer really help give would-be purchasers what they want? …. You, Terry Farrell and Quinlan Terry heading the government’s design panel for new homes – are we looking at a large-scale classical renaissance? I doubt it. But of course, there is considerable evidence that the general public is dissatisfied with modernist architecture and the kind of perfunctory design that ignores the layout of streets and facades. The important task is to create…

Stephen Howard: The Art of Combining All Arts | Humane Pursuits

…. While I fall short of believing Classical architecture is always the answer, I believe it is a very potent one for the reason that it arises from the aesthetic and cultural tradition of Western society. While some may bore of tradition of whatever sort, its enduring quality speaks to a well-reasoned conception derived from experience. Vernacular architecture is as tradition born of a usually pre-Industrial people group responding to their climatic and geographical situation. Crafting with locally sourced materials births a unique architectural vocabulary whose forms directly react to climate conditions. Vernacular architecture calls to mind such forms as…