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Journal of Lutheran Ethics Issue Index January 2016: Gentrification

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Photo by Dom Dada.


Editor's Introduction

Carmelo Santos

Patrick Freund,  Guest Editor
Gentrification is a word that was relatively foreign to my vocabulary before moving to Chicago and beginning seminary. Growing up in small towns and suburbs the conversations surrounding housing issues, when they occur, are often “us and them” conversations. Or better yet, “here and there” conversations. It can be quite easy to live in a suburban development and never see or think about housing inequality. Upon beginning my studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) I was immersed into a zealous social justice oriented atmosphere. Housing inequality in the neighborhoods surrounding LSTC specifically and the city of Chicago in general is something that most people acknowledge, but see as too large or systemic to counteract. Still other issues, such as gentrification, are so nebulous that it seems easy to find but difficult to properly define. Gentrification is one small aspect of the housing equality and social responsibility discussions, and will be the focus of this month's issue of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.  The topic of “Gentrification and Faith” is pursued this month because it seems to be a chimera; people are often quick to identify areas as gentrifying but when it comes to identifying related data, the numbers often either tell a different story, or describe a trend that has already taken place.​ 

Read More​.


Dan Lee

Gentrification: Causes and Consequences
   by Steve Holland
​Holland explores the concept of gentrification from an academic standpoint.  What is gentrification?  How can we talk about something that resists being defined?​  Holland examines the factors of supply, demand, and policy that feed gentrification along with its effects on the people who leave, the people who live there, and the neighborhood itself.

 Kirsi Stjerna
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Imagining Whole Cities: The Church's Role in a Gentrifying Neighborhood
    by Rev. Karen Brau and Bianca Vasquez
What does gentrification look like to a community living inside of it?  Brau and Vasquez from Luther Place Memorial Church explore the congregation's response to gentrification in Washington D.C.'s Logan Circle neighborhood. N Street Village ministries was founded out of the congregation to respond to the needs of the neighborhood.  How does a congregation respond when poeple who are not impoverished move in, potentially forcing the poor out?​


Book Reviews

From Jeremiad to Jihad

An Introduction to Christian Environmentalism: Ecology, Virtue, and Ethics by Kathryn D. Blanchard and Kevin J. O’Brien.
   Review by Laura Hartman
This book is at heart a textbook, and as such it is a wonderful contribution to the field of Christian environmental ethics. Blanchard and O’Brien set up a series of chapters pairing seven Christian virtues with seven environmental issues. This book is well crafted, accessible, and even occasionally humorous. Undergraduates will enjoy it, as will Sunday school groups and book discussion groups. Blanchard and O’Brien clearly have a very broad audience in mind, and they work to make this book – and the discussions it will spark – widely accessible.

Laura Hartman  

Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship by N.T. Wright.
   Review by R. Don Wright

In N.T. ‘Tom’ Wright’s Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship, one finds the same compelling insights into the Bible that make Wright’s “The Bible for Everyone” series so popular. Rather than biblical commentary, in Following Jesus Wright describes Christian discipleship based on different images of Jesus Christ and a variety of religious themes. Discipleship proceeds from faith in Jesus Christ: crucified, risen, seated at God’s right hand with authority; all powers, dominions and authorities made subject to him. Discipleship – the commitment to follow Jesus – involves learning; it also involves teaching. The Great Commission is not just about making disciples but also about “teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded us.”
Articles published in the journal reflect the perspectives and thoughts of their authors and not necessarily the theological, ethical, or social stances of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.​

© January 2016
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 16, Issue 1