1. Why every city needs a Central Park
Because Katie is related to the designer of Central Park (he was kind of a big deal) and because I have fond memories of visiting the place on different occasions, I was especially interested to read Howard Freeman’s piece for This Is Our City this week:
For many of us New Yorkers, Central Park is our shared backyard, a place where we sleep and read, play sports, and (illegally) barbecue. (But who’ll tell the cops?) Residents and visitors alike have found in it an urban paradise that we couldn’t imagine living without. That word—paradise—comes from an Old Persian term for places that are “positive, harmonious and timeless.” From pairi + diz, it means a “walled enclosure” or garden. As humans, perhaps especially as Christians, we are drawn to the idea of a walled garden, a sheltered escape from our daily lives and an invitation to renewal. Creating shared paradises like this, though, is a vocation that Christians have tended to ignore, or only to engage from behind the scenes.
2. Ron Sider retiring
Ron Sider, author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, announced this week that he’ll retire next summer. His work has meant a great deal to many, myself certainly included.
4. The Christian case for cities
Kaid Benfield in The Atlantic Cities had a (very long) review of The Space Between, the new book by pastor and urbanist Eric Jacobsen. Incidentally, it was fun to notice that the church building in the top photo of the article is where Grace DC (the church I attended while I lived in DC) meets:
Central to The Space Between is the concept of shalom, which we usually translate simply as “peace” but which he believes contains much more meaning, including restored fellowship, human flourishing, justice, and relational wholeness for everyone. Jacobsen argues that, while each one of us carries a longing for shalom deep within, much of our recently built human settlement “bears not the slightest hint of that blessed condition that is described in the Bible.”
5. Interview with Kim Jung Il’s grandson
The Wall Street Journal posted a fascinating and surprisingly candid two-part interview with the late North Korean dictator’s grandson, Kim Han Sol, conducted by former UN Under-Secretary General Elisabeth Rehn. Parts of it are in
Finnish Swedish, without subtitles, but the interview itself is in English. The first part is below, and the second half is here.
Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!
[Photo credit: bluntdelivery.com]