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Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life) [Paperback]

By Eric O. Jacobsen (Author)
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Item description for Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life) by Eric O. Jacobsen...

Argues that Christians should be concerned about the shape and form of their cities, and introduces the main insights of New Urbanism.

Publishers Description
Christians often talk about claiming our cities for Christ and the need to address urban concerns. But according to Eric Jacobsen, this discussion has remained far too abstract. Sidewalks in the Kingdom challenges Christians to gain an informed vision for the physical layout and structure of the city.
Jacobsen emphasizes the need to preserve the nourishing characteristics of traditional city life, including shared public spaces, thriving neighborhoods, and a well-supported local economy. He explains how urban settings create unexpected and natural opportunities to initiate friendship and share faith in Christ.
Helpful features including a glossary, bibliography, description of New Urbanism, and companion website ( make this book ideal for study groups. Pastors, city-dwellers, and those interested in urban ministry and development will be encouraged by Sidewalks in the Kingdom.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Brazos Press
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.8" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2003
Publisher   Brazos Press
Edition  Reprinted  
Series  Christian Practice of Everyday Life  
ISBN  1587430576  
ISBN13  9781587430572  

Availability  0 units.

More About Eric O. Jacobsen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Eric O. Jacobsen (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington. He is the author of "Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith" and numerous articles exploring connections between the Christian community, the church, and traditional neighborhoods. He is also the coeditor of "Traditions in Leadership" and "The Three Tasks of Leadership."

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Human Geography
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Urban
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Contemporary Issues

Reviews - What do customers think about Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life)?

Thoughtful book  Jan 18, 2008
I really enjoyed this book and Jacobsen's perscpectives. One must remember though that his main experience is with the city of Missoula. It does encourage me to think about my surroundings and the importance of interacting with people.
A good start, but lightweight  Sep 23, 2005
The urban sprawl that blights the USian landscape has had more impact than merely the growth of ugly landscapes. It has broken apart communities, led to less healthy lifestyles, and increased ghettoization. Jacobsen's book sets out to introduce Christian groups into the new urbanist agenda, calling for walkable neighborhoods, more community-focussed building practices, and support of local business where real relationships can be borne. While this may well be a good primer, anyone who has read any other new urbanist material or who is looking for a thorough theological account may be disappointed. Jacobsen sets up false dichotomies (community-building is apparently not a part of evangelism for him) and doesn't dig into the environmental arguments which should be so central for Christians (and indeed, for anyone who cares about the future of the planet and its people). He also talks of how he believes he's the only Christian member of the Congress for New Urbanism, but without recognising that perhaps he's the only one who goes out of his way to advertise himself as such. It's good to see Christians publicly engaging with the vital issues of urban planning, but it would be good to see more serious engagement with urban theology.
Putting back Sidewalks  May 18, 2004
God instructed Jeremiah, "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will have welfare" (29:7). Imagine creating an approach to church life, church growth, and evangelism based on seeking the welfare of the city--the city (or neighborhood) that your church represents? Imagine. Eric O. Jacobsen in Sidewalks in the Kingdom gives us a blueprint for considering the welfare of the city. Jacobsen builds a case for Christian communities to take an interest in the urban centers where many churches are located. He points out that we have been relying on the false gods of individualism, independence, and freedom, worshipping at the feet of gods that come in the name of American values. Granted not everyone lives in an large urban setting--even Jacobsen writes on urbanism as a pastor, not in NY City or Detroit, but of the First Presbyterian Church in Missoula, Montana. Nonetheless, Sidewalks is worth the reading, if only to help you develop your own theology of the city or town you live in or near. Sidewalks shifts the discussion from "how do we grow our church?" to a more biblical mandate, "are we looking out for the welfare of the city?"
Weaving faith and life into an integrated fabric  Feb 20, 2004
If you are a person of faith who feels vaguely uneasy with our car-centric suburban American culture, you simply must read this book!
Jacobsen tackles the somewhat trendy topic of new urbanism, the idea of creating (or preserving) neighborhoods like some of us remember from our childhood, where it was possible to walk to the barbershop and stop for an ice cream cone along the way. Jacobsen goes to some length to connect this powerful idea to a sound biblical theology of the city. He makes the point (more than once) that the ultimate conusmation of human existence is described not as a garden--where it all started--but as a city. But not one to only give one side of the story, the author deals honestly with scriptures that show how cities also grew out of human vanity and pride. His arguments are well grounded in both reason and scripture, and he manages to find fault with both conservative evangelicals and mainline liberals, which I consider a plus.
The introduction invokes a powerful sense of community as the author describes a walk to a local coffee shop, and how the decision to relocate his church to the suburban edge of town would not only make such a walk impossible, but would at the same time disenfranchise the elderly, infirm and younger members of the congregation whose access to cars is limited.
In short, this book, as the title suggests, gives a superb overview of the most compelling New Urbanist ideas from a Christian perspective that is not biased toward liberal or conservative, but is biased toward a humane theology that cares about people and the cities they live in. Highly, highly recommended.
City dwellers are divine  Jul 17, 2003
People of all religious persuasions can find wisdom in this plain-spoken portrait of how humanity and culture are enriched by the informal social contacts of city life. Jacobsen, a pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Missoula, Montana, builds a case for why Christians should have special concern for traditionally designed urban areas. At the same time, the book explores themes of community and identity that are relevant to people of all spiritual traditions.

He argues that we have been lulled into "worshipping false gods in the name of American values." The concepts of individualism, independence and freedom are wrongly associated with life in the suburbs, Jacobsen tells us. Pointing out that identical tract homes and big box retailers are not expressions of individual choice, he says we have allowed corporations to bend our communities to their bottom-lines instead of our communal needs.

The car, so often equated with freedom, does not, in Jacobsen's view, equal the Biblical sense of liberation, instead it represents a form of escapism. He writes that we have allowed ourselves to be isolated from one another by our cars and our low-density developments. The result is a loss of civility and a dismissal of God's command to "love the stranger."

He notes that cities give rise to critical mass, a condition that stimulates and incubates new ideas, significant events and formal art. Sidewalks in the Kingdom is a powerful call for Christians to endorse our cities in the same way they have embraced our natural environment. Should the concept catch hold, Christians everywhere may soon be fleeing the suburbs for a city near you.


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