The problem with escapism

Eric Jacobsen draws the distinction between the American version of freedom — escapism — and the Biblical definition — liberation:

The problem with escapism as a way to deal with problems … is that it cannot go on forever. This is painfully obvious to anyone who has bought a suburban house on the very edge of town only to find a year or so later another development going up where there once was green space. Not only does this kind of development prove personally disappointing, it also builds resentment among people toward their neighbors for destroying their dreams. …

If we are inconvenienced or annoyed by living, working, and playing in the company of our fellow human beings, perhaps we need liberation from our selfishness and our willfulness rather than a massive home on a two-acre lot (soon to be surrounded by other massive homes on two-acre lots). Living in closer proximity to our neighbors forces us to make compromises of our needs and wants — sometimes allowing us to learn the difference between the two.

— from “Sidewalks in the Kingdom” by Eric O. Jacobsen

What he sees is a city

On occasion, we’ll post a few good quotes from a few good books. Here’s one from a book that I see as foundational to the discussion of the good city:

(W)e of all people have a deep history of interest in the city, rooted in our biblical tradition. … When John (the evangelist), exiled on Patmos, is given a picture of our redeemed state, he does not see Eden restored in some kind of agrarian utopia; not does he see the American ideal of a single-family detached house surrounded by a huge yard for every inhabitant of the kingdom. What he sees is a city — New Jerusalem descending from heaven onto earth.

— from “Sidewalks in the Kingdom” by Eric O. Jacobsen