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.
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?
Review: An Introduction to Christian Environmentalism: Ecology, Virtue, and Ethics (Baylor University Press, 2014)
 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 […]
 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.  […]
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.