The ethics of where you live

Quote by Eric O. Jacobsen:

I believe that choosing to live in a neighbourhood that is mixed in income, mixed in use, and replete with inviting public spaces can be an important fundamental ethical decision. When we can walk from our home to the corner coffee shop or park with the realistic expectation of running into someone who is destitute in one way or another, we place ourselves in the uncomfortable realm of Christian decision making.

— From the article “Where Then Shall We Live? The traditional neighbourhood as a fundamental ethical choice” in Comment magazine

In Defense of Fake Authenticity

This essay is a response of sorts to a post on Scott Greider’s blog in which he criticizes a local Uno’s Pizzaria for looking like an old urban building but actually being a new suburban building. I agreed with Scott’s concerns, but offered a different perspective. The Uno’s in question has since closed.

My friend Scott is frustrated with a pizza place.

He enjoyed the food, he liked the prices, and he thought the service was acceptable.

But he still feels like he’s been lied to — by the building itself.

“What made this place so cool — primarily its atmosphere — was … well … inauthentic!” Scott said on his blog after his visit to Uno’s Chicago Grill in Fort Wayne.

“You see, this was a brand new building out in the sprawling suburbs on a lot surrounded by parking spaces that was intentionally trying to look and feel a hundred years old.”

He’s right, especially when he compares the Fort Wayne restaurant to the original Uno’s in Chicago.

My family and I ate at the original Uno’s last year, and while we ate deep-dish authentic Chicago pizza elbow-to-elbow around a table a bit too big for the tiny dining room, even the youngest of us knew we weren’t just taking in a pizza. We were taking in history.

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Grace for the secular city

The Gospel is a powerful testimony of grace and brokenness for the secular city.  In the fall of man, we love to build ourselves up to maximum boasts and radical displays of self-sufficiency apart from the Lord.  This display is visibly featured in the city: we love to invest in highly lucrative businesses or build up lavish homes in our cities. …

But the Gospel does not testify to self-sufficiency; it testifies to radical brokenness, real humility, rooted in grace. … But the life of the Gospel, the life of justifying faith, is the life of putting away these self-actualized achievements to the cross of Christ, in knowing a new and better life in His name.

— From “Evangelism, the Lord’s Supper, and the Self-Sufficient City” by Rick Palma

The geography of happiness

How much is your happiness dependent on what country you live in?

That’s tough to say, but by and large, Americans are pretty happy; in fact, we’re ranked 16th in the world. From Science Daily:

Denmark tops the list of surveyed nations, along with Puerto Rico and Colombia. A dozen other countries, including Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden also rank above the United States, which maintains about the same relative position as it did in WVS’s 2000 survey.

“Though by no means the happiest country in the world, from a global perspective the U.S. looks pretty good,” says Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the university, who directs the study. “The country is not only prosperous; it ranks relatively high in gender equality, tolerance of ethnic and social diversity and has high levels of political freedom.”

And Richard Florida correctly points out the money quote, by Inglehart: “Ultimately, the most important determinant of happiness is the extent to which people have free choice in how to live their lives.”

Read the article here. HT: Richard Florida