The words echoed through the ancient hall as the cardinal read out the result of the final vote:
“Habemus Papam.” In English, “we have a Pope.”
Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been elected as the new bishop of Rome.
We might expect that the other cardinals sitting next to Bergoglio would take this opportunity to congratulate him, to hide their own disappointment behind their smiles, perhaps even to put in a good word in for themselves before the white smoke signaled the bedlam of the crowds waiting below.
However, instead of speaking words of congratulations, the Cardinal beside Bergoglio turned to him and with a seriousness a smile cannot convey, spoke only these five words, some of the first words the new Pope would hear: “Do not forget the poor.” Continue reading →
How The Eucharist is Related to Gentrification and Why Urban Housing Is Sacred – Part I
The words “Eucharist” and “gentrification” may seem to be quite disparate in their context and meaning. One alludes to ceremony, tradition, religion, and sacrament, while the other connotes cities, housing, displacement, and economics. They are seemingly worlds apart. However, it is my contention in this paper that these worlds are not so far apart as they may initially appear. Rather they are connected at a foundational level through their respective understandings of place. What is it? Is it special? To whom does it belong? And do any of these things matter? As Christians we are a part of a story, a story that is centered, interestingly, on a particular understanding of place. Rooted in the Old Testament narrative of Abraham and Sarah and the stories of exile, the Scriptures are intent upon forming our understanding of the inherent specialness of place. Moreover, Christian tradition speaks to that same understanding through the development and process of its liturgy. Particularly, through the Eucharistic liturgy we are told a story week after week of the specialness of sacred space and our place. So then in this paper I will begin to build a bridge from Christian liturgy to our urban neighborhoods and explore how an understanding of the Eucharistic liturgy can provide the urban church with a prophetic voice against redevelopment at the cost of displacement. Continue reading →
In 1889, William Morris delivered a lecture titled “The Arts and Crafts of Today,” which addressed the degraded state of labour and commerce in industrial England by working through the question of art’s purpose in everyday life. Not simply an indictment of late Victorian society, Morris’s lecture functions as a manifesto, justifying his radical position to an audience of artists while laying out the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement. Like the manifestos of later design movements, such as The Bauhaus, Morris’s lecture assumes a close relationship between what he calls the “applied arts” and the complex form of society at large. For both movements, the design manifesto is a polemical call to all creative labourers to recognize their collective capacity to overturn and transform the status quo; it is an attempt to articulate an alternative vision of society in which art does not simply mask reality but actually improves it. Continue reading →
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It’s a true, but a challenging statement. Its true, because while we may not put our money where our mouth is, we do put our money where our hearts are. Its challenging because we need only look to where we put our treasure to find where we’ve placed our values. Indeed, as a country, as a church, and in our families, we need only look at our budgets to discover what we actually believe. Continue reading →
“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
This afternoon, I came to the conclusion that I needed to overthrow the state, and so I baked a loaf of bread. It seems like an odd response doesn’t it? What does yeast rising have to do with revolution, and perhaps more to the point: why would I need to overthrow the state in the first place? The simple answer is that I’ve come to realize how deeply my imagination as a Christian has been held captive by the state. Continue reading →
“And he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem, who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16).
We do not know, of course, if this was a historical incident. That’s a debate that’s not going to be settled. But I can easily treat it as historical because, if it did not happen at that exact time and place, it has happened a thousand other times. A routine atrocity in an unimportant country, recorded by almost no one; and if I named for you now Kraras or Fence of Legs or the Markale marketplace, these words would have no meaning for most or all of you, these small massacres in distant lands, as unremembered by the world in general as a slaughter of children in a corner of the empire was by the empire’s own chroniclers.
It is a part of the normal operations of power. But even worse, in this case, it is the direct result of the coming into the world of the Incarnate Word. Continue reading →