The Space Between

Walter Henegar | November 14, 2014

Eric O. Jacobsen. The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012. 304 pp. $25.00.

The church I pastor has a strong commitment to place: the neighborhoods we live in, the streets we travel, the businesses we frequent. In a city known for sprawl, this commitment isn't easy to practice. Recently, our elders have been deliberating whether future officers ought to live within our parish. One suggested, "What matters is how you live, not where the dirt under your bed is located." Another countered, "I agree, but doesn't it matter where the dirt under your front porch is located?"

What do you think? When you walk out of your front door, does the first space you step into affect your ability to live faithfully as a Christian? Does it have any bearing on biblical priorities like evangelism, justice, hospitality, and community?

Eric Jacobsen, a Presbyterian pastor in Tacoma, Washington, believes it does. His 2003 Sidewalks in the Kingdom argued that Christian theology comports well with New Urbanism, a burgeoning urban-design movement that resurrects pre-World War II principles for creating mixed-use neighborhoods built more for pedestrians than for cars. His latest, The Space

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