1. Suburbs and sacred space
Aaron Renn (@urbanophile) made the argument a few weeks ago that when it comes to sacred space, suburbs really trail cities. It’s an interesting claim. But Alan Jacobs (@ayjay) doesn’t buy it, countering with this:
A more plausible argument than Renn’s might go like this: Only in the suburbs are Christians still concerned to build sacred spaces, that is, spaces specifically dedicated to the celebration of and immersion in the holy, the divine. Urban Christians, by contrast, are content to — must be content to — find sacred experiences in spaces never consecrated to such a quest and bearing always the marks of their wholly secular purposes. I don’t think that’s an argument I want to make, but it would be a more plausible one; and it would have the further merit of raising a very important question: whether “sacred space” is primarily a function of architecture or, rather, primarily a function of the character of the communities that dwell in built environments.
2. Is compromise a bad word?
Michael Gerson (@MJGerson) asks us to consider an important political question in this column in Capital Commentary (though grammatically, he should know better than to refer to “the media” in the singular):
The gap between parties and ideologies in America is wide. The areas of policy overlap are relatively small. This means that middle ground proposals will always have built in critics. The media loves to cover ideological arguments. And the partisan media, on left and right, has an interest in feeding controversy. But even prior to such ideological disagreements, people concerned about politics need to answer a question: Is legislative compromise a virtue or a failure?
3. No easy answers, no trite salvos
Cathleen Falsani (@godgrrl) writes for the Washington Post’s On Faith blog about the spiritual substance of Mumford & Sons’ music, following a concert of theirs in California:
“You are not alone in this,” we sang. “You are not alone in this. As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand.” It was a sacred promise from fellow travelers along the spiritual journey that is this life. Mumford offered no easy answers, no trite salvos. “I will tell the night, whisper, ‘lose your sight,’” he sang, “but I can’t move the mountains for you.” Such heavy lifting is the work of the Spirit alone. While we wait, the hold music is marvelous, and we’re in great company.
4. The strength of Mariano Rivera
I hate the Yankees as much as the next guy, but it’s hard not to think the world of Mariano Rivera, undoubtedly the best closer ever to play the game. Lisa Miller (@lisaxmiller) writes for New York Magazine about what matters most to him as his baseball career comes to a close (though it’s obvious Miller doesn’t share many of his convictions):
Sportswriters often discount athletes’ religiosity as a sideshow, and the secular viewers of cable TV may prefer the bloodless scrutiny of slo-mo video than to give credit to divine causes, but the full story of Rivera’s career is unmistakably a story about faith. On the mound, Rivera is implacable, a warrior with the Buddha’s face. But talking about faith with Rivera is like opening a bottle; years of feeling come out. He speaks less like a theologian than like an enthusiastic believer, channeling all his considerable charisma, curiosity, and preternatural seriousness into the conveyance of passion. His is not a questioning faith but a conviction, invulnerable to attacks from skeptics and doubters, and so his answers to existentially vexing questions can sound to some uncomfortably neat. But Rivera isn’t worried about rationalist complaints because it is in certitude that he finds his strength.
5. Go Wherever You Want To Go
Last night Katie and I went to the Patty Griffin show with some friends. Here’s a new favorite tune.
[Image: Suburbia via 20LTD]