Because of important things happening where I live, I’ve been thinking a lot about Christians who have relationships of trust with politically and economically powerful people of faith, and and how the former can best connect the later to community constituencies with far less (if any) access. Certainly, Christians who operate across these spheres are called to be bridge-builders, but to build good bridges, I suspect we must know both shores of the chasm. It’s not enough for Christians of privilege to connect Christians of greater privilege with these constituencies by edict. It seems to me that however well we know the rich, we’re called to know the poor better, to know the poor more.
In some senses, bridges and chasms are failures of language. In Christ, we’re called into the bleed of Venn circles, to the realization that we’re all in this together. Sometimes, that’s hard to remember.
This morning, I led the discussion in the Adult Education hours at church in place of the traveling John Franke. I wanted to explore the relationships of Hebrew prophets to power and consider how best we, as Christians in Allentown called into the bleed, can be most faithful. Last night, I read this passage from Pete Rollins before bed.
Don’t read Pete Rollins before bed. Do read Pete Rollins, though. How does “Finding Faith” land for you? I closed the early session by reading this story as a devotion with this disclaimer: “there’s no right or wrong way for it to land. It kept me awake last night and I wanted to share it with you.”
And I want to share it with you.
If you search for Delta Thermo Energy’s website, this is what you’ll find:
Interestingly, that’s what DTE is basically also saying about the future site of their recently-approved and controversial Waste to Energy Plant:
Other details about the company on the web are sparing. The LinkedIn profile is sparse, but we do learn that the CEO, Rob V. (Rob Van Naardan), used to work for a private equity firm. Mr. Van Naardan, if you’re reading this, I’d sincerely like to talk to you about emissions issues and I’d love to learn as much as possible about your process. I’d also like to connect you and your company with the Air Quality Partnership of Lehigh Valley – Berks. Given your committment to near-zero emissions, DTE and AQP likely have some interests in common.
As an Ursinus alum, I’m bummed my alma mater didn’t make this list. But Muhlenberg College ranks right up there with Boston College, Boston University, NYU, USC, Georgetown, Yale and other marquee-brand schools on a new list of America’s hottest colleges. That’s hottest as in “the place to be.”
I’ve been saying for years that Allentown is “the place to be,” and it’s precisely that now more than ever.
(BTW, as a Yale alum, take that, Harvard.)
I help convene a monthly discussion series at the Allentown Brew Works called Beerituality. Last week, we welcomed guests Cathy Frankenberg and Jon Geeting and wrestled with the topic of food deserts in the urban cores of the Lehigh Valley. Cathy is a founding organizer of an initiative to establish a food co-op in neighboring Bethlehem, and Jon is a political blogger/journalist with a special interest in the urban transformation happening in Allentown.
As you might imagine, we had a very good time of discussion and participation. I’ve been vexed by some of the realities we’re encountering on this issue, not the least of which being the problem of food waste in America, even in this awful economy.
Enter Jane Velez-Mitchell from CNN Headline News and a piece exploring “freeganism.” Freeganism is dumpster diving for still-edible food behind restaurants and grocery stores and cooking those salvaged items for dinner. For some reason, I’m reminded of Jesus picking wheat on the Sabbath as he walked through a field he didn’t own. I’m also reminded of the practice we see in the book of Ruth, when grain that fell to the ground during harvest was left for the scavenging needy. But at least that grain wasn’t thrown in the garbage for no good reason. At least people who needed it didn’t have to scrounge in dumpsters.
We’d like to think we’re so much more progressive on so many fronts than our ancestors, but on issues of food and shelter, our older traditions have sometimes echo the kind of sustainable ethos that comes with living close to the land and the means of production.
This has everything to do with the problem of food deserts here and now. It has everything to do with how we will respond to the needs of our community. For more commentary on the free market’s failure to bring healthful food to food deserts, read my recap of last week’s Beerituality gathering.
First, go to the new Allentown Art Works show from 5 – 7 PM at Burrito Works on St. Patrick’s Day.
Then, walk down to Zion’s Reformed UCC for the first-ever St. Patrick’s U2Charist. Click the image to enlarge, print, and share!
You can also follow similar developments here on Pinterest.
I just started on Pinterest because I’m looking for an intuitive, visual way to tell the story of the arts infrastructure in Allentown. I pinned pics from a Google+ gallery, which turned out to be a less intuitive process than I supposed. To really make the Pinterest board look the way I want, I think I’m going to have to upload pictures individually, and that’s sort of not the point of Pinterest. The more I think about it, though, the more Google+’s default layout for this album feels exactly right. Check it out here.
Seriously. You spent $40 million on infrastructure last year? You want a cookie? How much of that was spent in Allentown? Five city residents died last year because you’re not moving fast enough or spending enough money.
How does that $40 million compare to the dividends you’re paying out? Let’s tweet about that.