20 November, 2007

A question for the likes of us

I received this note from a friend yesterday:

What is your take on people who ask for money? I have run into several, and each time I am unsure how to respond. Am I contributing to some cyclical problem if I give them money? Am I heartless if I politely refuse?

Dear Friend,
This issue is one that plagues every person (with a conscience) who lives in a place connected to poverty. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer...all I can do is talk about what I know statistically and what has worked in my own life.

Take, for example, the story of a lady I'll call Susan. I have seen her standing just east of the North & Clybourn Bus Stop. Usually, she has a small toddler with her...one of supposedly 3 although I've only seen two. She asks passersby for "a quarter, twenty-five cents for my child." You see runny noses, charming eyes and in the face of such human need, you would have to be a sociopath to remain unmoved. Yet, consider this: what, in reality would twenty-five cents do for this child? 'Practically nothing' is the quick response. This is the perennial paradox: there is little that you can do as a passerby to improve the lives of people asking for money, yet they continue to ask. Cynically (and realistically - unfortunately) there is a very high amount of substance abuse among homeless people. Not everyone is panhandling for their next fix, but it is a high statistical probability. Given this reasoning, it is logical to refrain from giving money (specifically) to people who ask. The twist appears when we consider the words of Jesus:

"Give to any who ask you."

That's rather specific, and it goes directly against our logical notions of efficiency. We do not own our money, but we are called to be good stewards. I take this whole thing to mean that I am expected to treat the money as God's, and that with this money, I want to do no harm.

Do no harm.

I argue that giving money to homeless people on the street, anonymous figures, without a relationship is detrimental to them. It follows a flow similar to flaws I see with anonymous witnessing. These sorts of exchanges need to take place within the context of relationship. My suggestion is to treat people asking for money as humans with real needs, and especially a need for the stabilizing, rejuvenating love of Jesus Christ. You can show them that love by spending time with them, talking and interacting.

Practically, making time for personal interaction is easiest by offering to purchase them a meal. (As trite as this sounds, it provides a hospitable venue for strong communication. Jesus ate with people as a ministry.) It is important to be very discerning at this time because taking someone who is currently under-the-influence of drugs or alcohol to a restaurant can be dangerous. You also have to be aware that many people will try to take advantage of your generosity. As Christians, I believe we are called to knowingly allow people to take advantage of us to a certain point, others may not agree with me however. The pragmatist in me is convinced of the need for balance while my idealist side vehemently disagrees.

Often, you will run into persons dealing with mental illness. I find this to be the most heart-breaking. Mental illnesses are the leading cause of homelessness in the US. (Insert tirade against Reagan-era privatization of the mental-health industry.)

I am generally apologetic when I refuse to give people money. Unfortunately, I find myself too busy with my own trivialities to give people the proper time and care that they deserve. I need to deliberately make time and space for this sort of thing.

There is more research that you need to do before attempting interaction...and even if you don't plan on interacting directly, I would recommend you do this anyway. Try to find a listing of local resources for homeless people: soup kitchens, shelters, free clinics, and recommend them to people. If they ask you for a meal and that's not possible at the moment, recommend somewhere that they can get one for free. Be prepared for a potential backlash as I have found that many people are not happy with how soup kitchens treat them.

It is all-important to remember that these needy people are made in the image of God, that they matter supremely to Him, (some theologians would even say that they are closer to Him than you are) and it's best to treat them with a great deal of care and respect.

My answer to him is short and lacking many details. I tried to lay out the basics of what flies through my head many times when approached by someone needy. The timing of this question is exceptionally poignant just after this week of homelessness awareness. May we all continue to remember the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves throughout the year.

29 October, 2007

Plain English?

Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), a first term member of the House is proposing new legislation that will require the Government to write future documents, forms and memos (etc) in Plain Language. He has been interested in the usage of simple wordings since the Iowa Supreme Court changed the wordings of Jury Instructions in 1983. Concerns over the deciphering of government "gobbledygook" are as old as the Constitution itself. Advocates claim that simplifying these necessary communications with the general public will decrease costs and streamline many processes. The Center for Plain Language lists 3 Principles of plain language:

Material is in plain language if the audience can:

  • Find what they need
  • Understand what they find
  • Use what they find to meet their needs
They aim to increase the all-pervading american dream of 100% efficiency. Fortunately, life and culture are not solely based on "'writing reasonably short sentances,' 'Preferring active voice,' 'Using clear, informative headings,' 'Omitting unnecessary words' and 'Having a readable design.'"

I see this as the ultimate admission of our nation's educational failure.

Problem: Our children cannot read and understand the technical wordings of Government forms.

Their Solution: Make the forms easier to understand.

My solution: Spend more money on education than _____________. I'm sure you get the picture.

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18 October, 2007


  • Dennis Hastert is most likely resigning early. He has held the post of Speaker of the House for the longest ever. I can't believe that my college is naming a new poli-sci/econ building after him. I take that back...I can believe it but that's the sad part. If we are going to name buildings after famous alums who have made significant contributions to society without involving themselves with their Alma mater post graduation, why not name the new film/arts building after Wes Craven?
  • The new Radiohead CD: In Rainbows is, imho, excellent. Thom Yorke's new direction in The Eraser definitely shines through here, ephemeral background synths, ostinato beats, echoing vocals and a lighter feel remind me strangely of early Russian animation. These elements seem to connect this album with the more deliberate, chill songs from OK Computer and The Eraser's Harrowdown Hill or Cymbal Rush. Why early Russian animation? Dystopian Lumage.
  • Day 4 of Post-Conference recuperation. I'm going for a bike ride today.
  • At the conference, I talked to Edward Gilbreath, author of Reconciliation Blues, A Black Evangelical's Inside View of White Christianity. The book is insightful and quick. It sold very well. I'm in the process of reading it and I'll write more later. From our conversation, he encouraged me to write about my own experiences regarding Race and Christianity. JP Paulus has been encouraging me to write about it since I started this thing. Ok...you got your wish. I won't be able to publish the full thing here for privacy reasons, but it will still be entertaining.
I need to walk in the woods and soon.

Now playing: Radiohead - Reckoner

11 October, 2007

not-quite-live-blogging the 2007 CCDA Conference 3

So you may have gathered that I'm not actually attending the CCDA Conference, I'm merely organizing it. I think that sometimes, I like to pretend that I'm more important than I am. It's just easy to adopt this quick-moving, fast-talking style that cuts to the quick instantly. When you do this all the time and you have a reason for it, people understand generally quickly. However, when you do not have a reason for acting this way, people see through you and learn to despise. I only caused one minor snafu, and hopefully it won't have major repercussions. While very tired, I still have energy.

I was wondering about whether or not I could handle this kind of stress. It is trying, and I do have fun getting sympathy from random people, but I realized today that I can handle it. I actually handle it pretty well. I don't flip out on people, I don't scream...I do get terse, but I can be very flexible. Ok, enough about myself. I'm just happy to realize that I can handle crazy situations. I was talking to a really smart guy the other day and he told me that my flexibility came from growing up in a stable family. My ability to adapt was enhanced by my home life. We may be more influenced by our grandparents than we think.

Noel Castellanos is now officially the new Executive Director/CEO of CCDA. The Board voted on Tuesday and made the official announcement at the first plenary session last night. Noel gave a very nice speech to the crowd. He took his jacket off at one point and threw it off the stage. Apparently, he's lost a lot of weight lately. He also invited everyone to come running with him at 7 AM.

I have more signs to hang up.

Maybe I'll get to see some of the conference soon.

09 October, 2007

not-quite-live-blogging the 2007 CCDA Conference 2

Rudy and I are g-chatting from diffferent rooms here. He's in the boring board meeting. I'm being swamped by willow creek literature. Why aren't the lanyards here yet? Who is giving the evening training? "Can you stay here for an hour and be our techie?" Someone pay the photographer. Watch out for the union spies. Nobody has cash? TIP SOMETHING!
- What do you mean I can't eat the left-over food on your silly table? You're going to throw it away anyway. I know health codes! You just want money! -

Everyone is treading as lightly as possible while trying to balance efficient time management. The art of the harried rebuke. I met Mary, a professor at North Park's Community Development Masters program. Rudy is excited that I'm here.

Here's how to survive here:

  • Write everything down
  • Copy all the files
  • Back it up twice
  • Bring everything with you
  • Memorize everything else
  • Use tasteful Pastel colors
  • Print out Hard Copies
  • Scan the Hard Copies
  • Copy the Soft-Hard Copies to your Jump Drive.
  • Don't lose your Jump Drive

not-quite-live-blogging the 2007 CCDA Conference

I won't be at most of it, I'll be too busy freaking out over volunteers. So far, I've been able to see Rudy and H. Spees and I interacted (awkwardly) with JP himself! It's an all-day CCDA Board Meeting. Yikes. They're having a good time.

Up today:

  • 2 volunteer trainings
  • 160 workshop packets to finalize
  • 2000+ nametags to verify and attach to lanyards
  • 2000+ people to verify and attach to...uh...
  • Somehow I have to find some workers for Saturday night.
St. Louis is a pretty place. I'm staying at the Adam's Mark Hotel right next to the Arch.

Time to set up the Projector for the Board during their amazing looking lunch break.

20 September, 2007

Wake up, Mr. Like! or Sometimes I like to go to the South Side and Sing Little Mermaid

I started my new job with CCDA last Monday. I'm a volunteer coordinator/national recruiter for TechMission, and my stipend is paid by AmeriCorps. I'm picking up the lingo of corporate culture pretty quickly. Courtesy at first over efficiency...but once the pleasantries are out of the way...lookout. I have my own office with a glass-windowed-door, at least an hour of paid lunch, and the benefit of no office dress code. While they may not be paying me much for my services, the perks are handy. I can't knock the 2 block commute either. I realize this is a fantasy-dream-world compared to most of corporate america (except google), but let me enjoy myself for a little while.

My training for this job was a few weeks ago in Boston. Surprisingly, I didn't update while I was there. I guess I was too busy having fun. I got to see my family and hung out with YiOu. Technically, I was supposed to stay in Dorchester the whole time, but that didn't really happen.

CCDA is in the midst of Conference planning/executing/anguishing time. They keep me rather busy, and as I will be coordinating a large part of the 250+ volunteers (for a 2500 person conference) I will have nothing but lofty, idealistic thoughts for the next few weeks. Fortunately, I won't have to cover all of the nitty and gritty details, but I will rather work as a liason between CCDA and the various hospitality committees set up in St. Louis. They are flying me down there on Thursday to help with a volunteer training session.

05 September, 2007

I feel like I'm in a movie. Are we in a movie?

Tracking down stolen laptops for Harambee. Talking to fences and guys on parole. The police hit things hard and fast. I'm running out for coolant in the midst of strategy for upcoming grant proposals.

The main thing I'm getting from all of this is the orientation required to run an urban ministry. This isn't on simply a day-to-day level, but there are national connections and Board-member considerations..."Where's our weekly report?" Dealing with the theft of our kids' laptops, making sure the playground passes inspection and then being caught up in the lives of so many other people who depend on you for support. This is detective work, mentoring and steering young adults, counseling, finding money and being responsible...oh so responsible. This whole thing is delicate; it is intricately painted from all directions in subtly frustrating shades of grey. I'm having the time of my life.

27 August, 2007

Who Would Jesus Deport?

Elvira Arellano was arrested and deported by ICE agents at around 2pm PST on Monday, August 20. The Trib did a thorough piece on it. I've been following this story since she sought sanctuary at Adalberto Methodist Church in Humboldt Park. I think that this issue throws the entire immigration debate into sharp relief. This particular situation is catalytic for pundits on all sides of the issue (and there are definitely more than 2 sides...which is in part why we have no comprehensive legislation as of yet). It is an issue of sovereignty. Our a priori conceptions of nation-statehood and humanity come directly into play. Those more inclined to weigh human life over the wishes of the overarching political organization tend to support Elvira, while those who believe strongly in the priority of laws (existing for the purpose of order, privilege, etc) generally condemn her actions. It's the classic divide between a belief in the flourishing of all peoples and the belief that discipline is the foundational element of governance. The difficulty in this for me is my history of political thought. I have fully thrown myself into both camps and the result is a deep empathy that prevents me from crossing the Rubicon.

As a Christian, I must remember that my allegiance does not lie by default with a nation-state. My first duty is not to a construct of man. In the larger picture, borders and quotas and laws help the functioning of the whole, but I do not take issue with their existence (while less than ideal), I disagree with the present methods and policies that divide families unnecessarily. My Christian identity allows me to disconnect myself from the tyranny of paradigm.  One could argue she is protesting an unjust system of laws designed to protect the interests of those in power. Cynicism in this process runs both ways. Weighing the options, I think that what she is doing is noble.

While looking at different perspectives on this issue, I ran across the following videos.

The first: Glenn Beck

linked from Diggers Realm

and the second: Tribute to Elvira Arellano and her son Saul

from Elvira's Song.

"Everyone knew it was probably a question of when, not if. It just makes me feel really sad because she knows she's looking at time in prison."
        -Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
I met that guy during Wheaton in Chicago. He was holding a press conference on the first of the ICE actions in Chicago. The irony here is that I wanted to meet Elvira, but I went to LA instead...where she was arrested.

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24 August, 2007

You know you want this

This may be superfluous, but I find myself strangely attracted to it. What a bargain! You get a harddrive AND the compleat New Yorker. Housewarming Present? Happy 23rd?

Free Engraving!

In other news, Wired has a great story on the new Cyberwar that just exploded in Estonia. I used to picture myself as a hacker, when I barely knew a thing really. The piece gives us luddites (by comparison) a view into the l334(elite) hacker world.

21 August, 2007


I used to live here. (Christianity Today Article on Emmaus and John Green)

Virtual Virus Runs Amok in WoW (Scientists and Epidemiologists want to study the players' reactions as a case study for an actual pandemic)

Andrew is in Japan. (We went to church/school together)

25% of Americans read no books last year. (It's the end of our society...)

Chávez Spills on London: Cheap Oil for Expertise. (Would this have happened with Chicago if Daley had accepted the oil offer?

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20 August, 2007

Rock Star Economics

This isn't exactly the forefront of news right now, but I've wanted to talk about it for a while; African Debt Relief/Live Aid/Make Poverty History. I am increasingly uncomfortable with the entire concert buzzed hype. Stephen Marshall has a great post on the whole topic. When the whole G-8 Debt forgiveness campaign came out, I was young, idealistic and convinced that imperialistic debt was Africa's main economic problem. I remember celebrating with a near-sighted xanga post when the G8 promised to cancel that debt. Apparently, I understood the complex economic issues with the same aplomb as highly popular music stars who hire other people to manage their money. We listened to the musicians because they related to us, they made themselves accessible and hip. They used language we could understand and never wore 3 piece suits. It turns out there are strings attached to accepting this debt relief. Not only are the nations expected to remove tariffs that protect their markets, but they are encouraged to privatize their electric, water, transportation and many of their natural resources. Nothing about democracy or stable ownership laws are mentioned. There is nothing designed to make these countries more stable or predictable, increasing trading confidence. I suppose one cannot expect the largest money movers in the world to simply roll over to "popular sentiment." They still plan to make their money somehow.

Here's not the first lesson I should learn from this: Don't trust celebrities.

18 August, 2007

P to the ASA, D to the ENA

At the drop of a Dodgers Hat, I flew to LA on Wednesday. I'm staying with Rudy Carrasco and helping out around Harambee. I will be acting as his Shadow for 2 more weeks, trying to get a handle on what it takes to be him. It has been two years since my last moment up here and everyone grew up. Kids I taught are on Junior Staff now, babies are walking, Jeremiah is still the same height, Karl got a new car, Flo got married (to Curtis), and of the corner store only a burned first floor hulk remains. It is wonderful to be back and things seem so different. It may be that I have learned a thing or two in 2 years and my perspective is more nuanced than before...or maybe it's just life.

I have been driving to the airport a lot. Perhaps the secret to navigating the intricate maze of LA freeways will be granted to me from on high at some point. I finally got to drive down the 110 South at 4 am. That's a dream I had from before I could drive. This time was in a minivan; not quite the road-hugging coupe I'd pictured but it still had great pickup.

This marks the end of my post-grad shiftless independence. From working out here, I go directly into 35-40 hours a week at a responsible job. It's nice to mark the end of an era. For the first time that I can remember, I am not shopping for binders and pens. I am very happy to be out of Chicago for the return-to-school rush. I won't be around for the mass pilgrimage back to the 'ol alma mater.

Rudy and I were in his office working, or trying to, and he was playing music off his computer. All of a sudden Abba's "Dancing Queen" escaped his carefully tuned mac. In a fit of embarrassment, he quickly switched to "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC, but the damage was done. I decided to 'out' him on my blog. Nothing personal man, I just figured I needed a funny anecdote to convince people I was actually here. My most embarrassing song: Honkytonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins.

13 July, 2007

MyBook and Facespace

The essay Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace by Danah Boyd caught my eye a short time ago when it appeared on Boing Boing. Since reading it, the piece has been featured on BBC and through that, gained a modest notoriety.

She has spent quite a significant amount of time on this project. She has been "engaged in ethnographic research on social network sites since February 2003." Considering the fact that she probably knows more about these sites than I ever will, I feel slightly smug knowing that she has made some of the same discoveries that I have had about MySpace and Facebook. Her observations are far more nuanced than mine, but I think we share a fundamentally similar view.

So, the college-bound networking kids flock to Facebook and the kids working out of highschool or connected to community colleges mob MySpace. Facebook was only open to colleges (specifically Harvard) when it first started in 2004 and then later opened itself up to high schools and then anyone in order to compete for advertising revenue with the wide open MySpace. This initial collegiate focus remains its modus operandi. I only used MySpace to remain connected to my friends who had either remained back home or had gone to colleges not initially accepted into Facebook. My school was first accepted to Collegefacebook.com, an early and unsuccessful competitor. I joined it as soon as possible but when we were admitted to the "regular Facebook," I never looked back. (till now, and every once in a while I get birthday announcements from them.)

I think it's a fascinating beginning to a larger discussion on class in America. As Danah so apologetically reiterates time and again, we have little acceptable language for discussing American Class. The terms we now use like "middle class, blue collar, white collar, lower class and upper class" are reproachfully vague and utterly lacking in nuance. They smack historically of Marxist class divisions in society, and simply relate everything to annual household income. Boyd references Nalini Kotamraju in her defense of the terms she chose: "Hegemonic teens" and "Subaltern teens." These terms are by no means objective, but I feel they do broadly fit into the realities of American society.

Overall this interests me because it further illuminates the weaknesses in the current terms used to demarcate class distinction. I am exploring the connections and disconnections between racism and classism. Both are at work in the structures of our lives, but how they continue to influence us and each other is the answer to a lifetime of work (or more). While I am committed to the biblical call to end racism, I can't help but wonder if classism is being ignored to the detriment of us all.

Citation: Boyd, Danah. 2007. "Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace ." Apophenia Blog Essay. June 24 . http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html

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10 July, 2007

I'm still alive

I just took my final exam in Choral Conducting on Friday. I'm surprised to be writing about it actually. I'm working on that cumulative post about how I got into the city, but there are some nuances still to be addressed.

I haven't concentrated honestly on my musical skills since my senior recital. I have been very fortunate to work with Dr. Robert Harris, the head of the Choral department at Northwestern. The classes were very personal and engaging, and my fellow students were there for their masters, which meant that the topics of discussion were always in depth. Even over a 3 week period, my skills and conception of choral conducting have grown.

4th of July made my neighborhood sound like a warzone. I was in Pilsen for most of the evening, visiting Mark Tao and old friends. When I got home around 11, the entire area was shrouded in a noxious cloud of saltpeter and ash. Perhaps a new volcano had pushed its way up at cermak and pulaski.

Nothing essentially hilarious has happened to me except that I was given a poetic love note on the El. I suppose it's not as hilarious to her...

18 June, 2007

I realize that these entries are supposed to happen more than once a month. In a perfect world, I would be making 2 absolutely heart-felt and relevant posts a day. Life caught up (as it is prone to do) with my carefully sculpted dreams. I had been under the impression during my space at Wheaton that my parents were going to pay for my education. Quite the generous move. I had studied and worked hard to get into college and in return for behaving myself, they would pay. Imagine the responsibility-laden surprise falling on my shoulders: a mantle worth 20 G's. All of the Federally borrowed cash is going to be painfully extracted, pound by pound from my carefree flesh.
"So you have debt, get over it! Everyone is practically in the same place as you; stop whining."
The only reason why I am mentioning this is because it adds an urgency to my current situation. I can no longer make enough to simply live and minister in one place. Is a tent-maker supposed to be worried about paying off that new tent store? I suppose that particular relatively-responsibility-free-life situation is a greater luxury than I thought.
I'm not even that angry with my parents. I am stressed and a little worried, but my future lies with the Lord. He has not ceased to provide for my every need; what shall I fear?
My classes at Northwestern start today. I don't know where they are meeting or what books I will need. As much fun as it is to script out one's life, improv more truly reflects the nature of how we live.

31 May, 2007


I am back in the city. The city, the CITY, the Fabled Urbs in Horto. It's easy to make these things seem overly dramatic when really they aren't (see above). I'm here. I'm not there. Life continues onward. I flew back to Chicago yesterday afternoon. Stepping off of the jetway was such an exhilarating experience. I must have flown through the airport. Again, not the biggest of deals, but it meant a lot at the time. What has scared me all along is the knowledge that eventually I will hate waking up in this crazy apartment with this crazy commute in the rain when I can't afford coffee. It's almost like I am steeling myself against the idealistically rosy picture, defending my heart from becoming too set on this happy-go-lucky simple place.

I had the chance to spend some time surveying parts of the neighborhood south of me with Mikkele. The evening gave the trees and pretty lawns (That's right...beautiful lawns in Lawndale) a glowing freshness. There were families everywhere, children amok, cars and ice cream trucks constantly underfoot. The look and feel of the place is distinctive yet familiar. No barefoot running here. Stay inside at night. The place has this wonderful energy, an abundance of stimuli. There is also a wonderfully constant thrill of possibly being incinerated at any time by a passing (illegal) firework. In Pasadena, you remember, we found out in a city council meeting that everyone was able to purchase the perpetual fireworks out of rogue ice cream trucks. After talking to my upstairs neighbor Charlotte, it turns out that there are 3 houses on the block that purchase vans full of these things from Indiana and sell them to small children who apparently like to aim them at her front porch, especially while she is occupying it.

21 May, 2007


Asphalt is the ubiquitous urban surface. It is made up of residues from the distillation processes of several crude oils and must be transported in a heated state before pouring. According to the EPA and NAPA (National Asphalt Paving Association) asphalt is the most-recycled commodity in the US by tonnage and percentage. Re-using broken and removed asphalt is standard industry procedure. Nearly 80% of asphalt that is removed for resurfacing and widening projects is reused (reclaimed).

2 days ago, I had a very personal encounter with asphalt. The introductions were facilitated by my sister's mountain bike, a speed bump and a concurrent pothole. The asphalt, always the gentle host, insisted that I improve my image with a memento of our meeting. We deliberated and with my two arbitrating friends Gravity and Friction we decided upon 8 stitches to the bottom of my chin. I voluntarily decided to leave patches of skin from both elbows and knees with the pavement in a show of good faith. I am of the opinion that the bicycle didn't need to go so far out of its way to introduce us in that afterwards it ended up in a rather socially convoluted position.

Asphalt covers much of the urban landscape, capping the soil and keeping plants at bay. Nevertheless, stubborn greenery manages to work its way through small cracks and weak points. Perhaps, un-reclaimed, in fifty years my fall might have been more pleasant. As it stands, I am grateful that the pavement wasn't more broken because of the higher percentage of gravel that would have been scrubbed from my poor palms.

The ER was buzzing on a Saturday Night with a local shooting. I managed to finagle my speedy way out of the waiting area by conveniently bleeding on the floor. After hearing a number of other ER experiences, I find the best way to minimize your wait is to bleed, complain of great pain, breathe quickly and constantly find a need to sit down. Overall, I felt very thankful for my father's insurance and the general state of health care in my city. However, the city could make things easier for itself if it decided to stop paving roads. Less asphalt would mean fewer injuries for bikers.

17 May, 2007


I love cities; they are concentrations of people, their ideas, their plans and accomplishments. The city is a distillery of society and history, a place where flavors of time and space commingle and ferment. The connections to the past in a city are so much more potent due to the public nature of the space. Some people feel inundated by what appears to be an overabundance of stimuli particularly during excursions from the suburb. I argue that these visual elements run parallel to more familiar elements of the suburb or country neighborhood. When approached as normative elements, to be appreciated like a reclusive transcendentalist, this alteration of perception brings about a new way of approaching order, decoration and decorum in the city. In short, given time and an honest interaction with the space, an awareness of the urban aesthetic begins to appear. It is this aesthetic, its germinations, experiences and manifestations that primarily concern me in this virtual space.

Or, how do nature-lovers learn to appreciate the charms and beauty of the city?
What lessons does the urban aesthetic have to teach the world?
From whence does this pattern of beauty originate?
Why does this connect with the deepest roots of the Christian Life?