1. Phoenix’s disconnected youth
Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott), a reporter for the Arizona Republic who participated in our Common Good PHX event back in April, has written an important report on the alarming number of youth in the Phoenix who are out of school and unemployed:
Nationally, one in seven young adults does not work or attend school. In metro Phoenix, it’s one in five. Experts say the reasons Phoenix has a higher disconnection rate vary — from students who come from communities that don’t place a high value on a diploma or lack educational options, to a weak economy where youths and young adults struggle to find work. Disconnected youths and young adults are more likely to lean on the government for services, such as welfare and health care, costing taxpayers. And they can hamper economic development as companies look to locate in areas with skilled workers.
2. Farmer’s markets, block parties… and institutions
On Monday, This Is Our City published an award-winning essay by Brandon Rhodes (@BrandonDRhodes) on how a local church is practicing “a long obedience” in downtown Tacoma, Washington. It’s a great essay, emphasizing the “local, highly ordinary gospel witness of Zoe Livable Church.” And it sparked some great (dare I say edifying?) conversations from folks in various quarters about the extent to which great things like farmer’s markets, block parties, and yarnbombs can truly transform a city and help it flourish. Most notably, Jamie Smith (@james_ka_smith) says cities need Christians who practice micro acts of creativity, sacrifice, and faithfulness, but macro engagement matters too:
I read stories like Rhodes’ within earshot of the city of Detroit which now stands as a colossal disaster of municipal government. I have no doubt that yarnbombs on Woodward Avenue bring a furtive beauty to bombed out areas of an abandoned city—like the dove bearing fresh olives leaves as a sign and signal that the flood of judgment is receding. But farmer’s markets won’t rescue the city. Good government will. Those of us seeking to follow the Prince of Peace can’t abandon the call to bend governing to look more like it rests upon his shoulders.
3. Beyond eclectic Christianity
A good word from Kevin White on the value of being rooted in a Christian tradition with theological particularity as a basis for engaging with other views:
I mean to say that a robust, positive theology has to stand on something rather than nothing. If theology is to be more than a nerdy pastime, a proxy for power games or cultural dueling, or the basis of endless abstract disputes, then we each need to stand within a particular theology, following the example of particular sub-apostolic teachers, and correctable at first resort by a particular range of teachers in light of Holy Scriptures.
4. Another Self Portrait
NPR Music’s “First Listen” is streaming a full 45 minutes of material from Bob Dylan’s new collection of 53 – yes, 53 – previously unreleased songs from the late 60s and early 70s, the Self Portrait and New Morning era. This probably wasn’t Dylan’s finest moment, but if you’re a devoted fan, you’ll love at least some of these new songs.
[Image via tinadhillon.com]