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…

“The Ballet of Street Life”: On Common Grace Liturgies | Comment Magazine | Cardus

Interestingly enough, near the end of Jacobs\’s life she formed a friendship with a Christian theologian from the Orthodox tradition who saw strong liturgical elements in her work. In his monograph, The City as Liturgy, Dr. Timothy Patitsas makes the following observation: ‘For Jacobs, cities were, on many grounds, best conceived as vast liturgical celebrations, cycling through death and life in a wondrous openness to the future and to the unknown, gradually generating the differentiation-through-interdependence of the human person as they do.’ While this is an interesting and provocative observation in its own right, what is even more astounding is…

The Space Between: caring for cities as an expression of faith | Kaid Benfield’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

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 an unfamiliar perspective to these issues.  (Unfamiliar does not equate to unique:  for example, another Presbyterian leader, New York City’s Tim Keller, is eloquent on closely related topics, as is Gresham, Oregon’s Michael Abbaté.)   But The Space Between is important also because ours remains a religious country:  three-quarters of Americans identify as Christian, even while a…

The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment Eric O. Jacobsen | Baker Academic

“In The Space Between, Eric O. Jacobsen sets himself two goals: to get us to attend to urban space–the space between the buildings in a city or village–and to explain why Christians in particular should care about the quality of urban space. He succeeds admirably on both counts; cities will look different to you once you have read this book. Along the way he also introduces us to some of the most recent writings on urban space, and he offers a compelling explanation of why the urban space of our present-day American cities came to be as it is and…

Civic Engagement and the City | Comment Magazine | Cardus

a democracy can flourish with low levels of political engagement if there are high levels of social and moral engagement. Or, on the other hand, a society that has soaring rates of political and social engagement with little or no moral engagement can fall prey to nationalist extremism. Berger likes the term engagement, but thinks that it, too, needs to be clarified in order to be put to maximal use. Engagement, according to Berger, is a combination of attention and energy. And what is novel about Berger’s thesis is the notion that engagement is strongly influenced by our tastes via…

Research: Urbanism: Communities of Faith

Sidewalks in the kingdom – Christians and New Urbanism: the Christian faith is about engaging our world and Jacobsen identifies urban sprawl as an issue Christians have been neglecting.   As a solution he promotes what has become known as New Urbanism. Just what New Urbanism is can be found within the pages of Jacobsen’s book, which I recommend to Christians who care at all about the built environment—which should be all of us.

Common Civic Grace

Common grace comes in many forms (natural blessings, the restraint of evil, and so on) but the pertinent form for this discussion is identified as “acts of civic righteousness.”