I’m taking a class on “The Urban Christian”, and this past week we focused on what happens when the Christian sexual ethic collides with the urban, secular one. We had three excellent readings to which we were to respond. I’d encourage you to read them:
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Good lord, growing up in the Bible Belt, I can honestly say, I heard more breathless, obsessive talk of sex, boundaries, and frustration in singleness in Bible Belt suburbia than I ever have in my current urban setting. This is for a few reasons, I think:
1. Most everyone I encounter is no longer a virgin, and so the mysteriousness and over-idealization of the unknown, for most people, is not…uh….unknown. The magic is gone for many and they don’t spend all their energies trying to get what they can’t have. But, the same contradictory human mind will say that sex isn’t a big enough deal to focus any energy on not doing, but it is a big enough deal that nobody better try to put any limits on that sexuality.
I’m trying to get an early start on reading my seminary books (which I’m still trying to purchase–thank you so much to all who have helped out!). I’m currently enjoying Mark Gornik’s To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith & the Changing Inner City. I’ve read similar books before, and expected more of the same, but this really is a much higher level-analysis of urban policy than I thought it would be. He is writing from the context of the inner city community of Sandtown, in West Baltimore. I’m really liking it and encourage you to check it out yourself.
I wanted to devote my entire post today to a series of excerpts from his section going through the historical and theological roots of urban and racial difficulties. In light of recent comments–especially by conservatives–demonizing those who live at this level and at these places in the world (or demonizing the government policies that serve them), I found this appropriate in offering us some perspective.
On a side note, for newer readers: I do not ascribe to a particular party and I actively speak out against both of the main ones wherever I see injustice, hypocrisy, and absurdity. This just happens to be an area of policy where Republicans are far more guilty. Here are the excerpts (the bold-faced lines are my emphases). Continue reading
I recently signed up for a site that, honestly, I thought would be just another one of those wasted sign-ups that you either forget about or delete after a few weeks. But I was absolutely wrong. And you should sign up too.
Consider this post the official unveiling of my Philadelphia Photo blog:
The Daily Philly: a picture of philly. daily. (almost)
(also on Facebook, Twitter, & Google+)
I love photography. My dad was a professional photographer for most of my life, photographing my soccer teams and conducting annual Christmas portraits with my brother and me. He’s taught photography at Community Colleges and passed down much of what he knew to me. (I’ve even started doing a personal weekend photo photo challenge on this blog)
I also love Philadelphia. It’s culture, history, feel, and rhythm speak to me in such a real and deep way. It’s big enough that it’s a “real” city: it has art, culture, museums, great food, history, business, urban politics, and even nature (yes, it does!). But, it’s a manageable city. A friend once called it “a city with training wheels”. You can walk from one end of downtown to the other in less than an hour.
So, I brought these two things together into a little web experiment.
Update: the second (and final) part of this article is up, where we discuss some ways to look at this theologically.
Just over a month ago, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia announced a controversial plan to ban the outdoor feeding of homeless individuals in the city parks and on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, home to many of this city’s finest museums, including the soon-to-open (and just as controversial) Barnes Foundation.
This has been met with the expected and understandable anger and protest from many of the city’s hunger-based non-profits and faith-based homeless ministries that participate in these outdoor feedings (the ban is still in process and has not been enforced yet). Some leading homeless advocates support it.
Many of these religious groups understandably feel like this move is an over-reach of cold, heartless government, trying to keep the church from doing its God-given call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Many have felt like this is an imposition on the religious freedom of the Christians of Philadelphia.
I would like to, as humbly as possible, disagree.