Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Chapel in the City

What's the role of communities of faith in urban life? The answer to this question often betrays as much prejudice as it does careful thinking and principled dialog.

Eric Jacobsen is one person who's thoughtfully engaged this question, and he's recently moved to Tacoma to assume the pastorate of First Presbyterian Church. Jacobsen is author of the nationally-recognized book Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (Brazos, 2003), which explores how Christians can have a positive impact in America’s cities, as well as numerous articles exploring connections between the Christian community, the church, and traditional neighborhoods. He has been interviewed by The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other national media, and he has presented lectures for various secular and religious institutions including Calvin College, the University of Virginia, the Christian Community Development Association, the American Planning Institute, the American Academy of Architects, and the Congress for the New Urbanism.

A recognized New Urbanist, Jacobsen argues that if the movement aspires to be more than just a short-term economic success or a market correction it is going to have to take the church more seriously as a conversation partner in its cultural project. In particular, he maintains that the church can help the New Urbanist movement grapple with some of the powers and forces, which have an impact upon communities in ways that are more profound and enduring than economic factors alone.

Jacobsen will be speaking tonight at 7:00 at King's Books--he's well worth hearing.

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