Between the Lines: A Conversation with Eric O. Jacobsen -Part 1

Eric O. JacobsenBrazos readers know Eric O. Jacobsen from his 2003 book Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith. Eric has just released a new work with our sister division, Baker Academic, titled The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment.

Eric O. Jacobsen (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington. Along with Sidewalks in the Kingdom and The Space Between, he is the author of numerous articles exploring connections between the Christian community, the church, and traditional neighborhoods.

We recently got a chance to ask Eric a few questions about The Space Between. In today’s post, Eric speaks to the relationship between his latest work and Sidewalks in the Kingdom.

How does The Space Between compliment or continue the discussion raised by your previous book Sidewalks in the Kingdom?

Sidewalks in the KingdomI can’t believe that it has almost been 10 years since Sidewalks was first published.  While I continue to be encouraged when I hear from people who are encountering that work for the first time and are resonating with its claims, I also am aware that a lot has happened both in the development of my thinking and with the way this conversation has played out culturally over the past decade.  Sidewalks is more of a personal narrative exploring my discovery of this important topic.  Since writing it, I have completed a PhD in Theology and Culture and shared these ideas with very diverse audiences around the country.  In The Space Between, I try to attack this topic in a more disciplined way and show how it connects to other conversations going on in the academy and the culture at large.

The Space BetweenThe other thing that has changed since Sidewalks was published is our cultural context. When I wrote Sidewalks, the idea of a pedestrian friendly neighborhood or shopping district were still pretty radical ideas.  Now you see a much broader acceptance of these ideas among planners, developers, and even citizens; but questions about the human role is building community are re-emerging with greater urgency.  If we learn to build neighborhoods again as opposed to subdivisions, will people all of a sudden start acting neighborly?  That is a question that seems to invite a response from the Christian community.  The Space Between can be seen as a first attempt to answer that question, but I hope that lots of other Christians weigh in with their own answers to that question.

For more information on The Space Between, click here.
To read an excerpt, click here.