Diamond, Etan. Souls of the City: Religion and the Search for Community in Postwar America Polis Center Series on Religion and Urban Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.
Etan Diamond is a senior research associate. An urban and religious historian, he studies changes in the Indianapolis religious and urban landscapes since World War II.
Diamond is a historian. He traces the historical development of the metropolitan area around Indianapolis during the last half of the twentieth century. He traces three regions: the suburbs, the central city, and the adjacent rural areas. A unique feature of Indianapolis is that it developed UniGov, a metropolitan political structure that brought the major bureaucracies of the metropolitan municipalities under the leadership of the mayor of Indianapolis. This was not annexation. The suburbs maintained their unique identities and managed their own school systems, but the major city works and utilities were brought under UniGov.
The Star Tribune ran an opinion piece in yesterday’s paper that highlights an important demographic study commissioned by the Met Council. (read the simplified report or the actual Demographic study – Trends, Preferences, and Opportunities)
The following is the executive summary from the report:
“For the metro area as a whole and the central and non-central counties, there will be important changes from 2010 to 2040:
For the Twin Cities Metro area as a whole, senior citizens (65+) will account for 58 percent of the share of the population change between 2010 and 2040. In the central counties of Hennepin and Ramsey, seniors will account for 70 percent of the population change while for all other counties their share will be 47 percent. The aging of existing residents will be a dominant demographic change.
The three congregations represented in the RT are unique, but they are also similar in that they are members of the ELCA. Let us now turn our attention to the ELCA and explore how the ELCA context both contributes to and hinders the communicative space created in the DITB project and projected for the future of the missional church. One of the greatest dangers that the church faces in the twenty-first century is the increasing polarization between various factions along various ideological lines and the violence that often accompanies the disagreements between them. I have already noted, in the previous section, that the pedagogical shift toward communicative action is necessary for a missional imagination for spiritual formation in the local congregation that will find a third way between these dichotomies. I will further argue in the next section that the move toward a postfoundational theology will help the church hold the tension between these extremes and find a third way that leads to the peace of God in the world. Here, I will argue that the ELCA is well positioned to embrace the paradoxical tension held in the communicative space between polar extremes.
Toward a Missional Spirituality in the Suburbs