Monthly Archives: July 2009

John Calvin on the Urban Environment, Weak Ties, Density and Love

It is the 500th Anniversary of John Calvin’s birthday on Friday.  Here’s a quote from Calvin related to attitudes to life in the urban environment.   These comments seem to me to be as fresh today as they were when he said them and relate to life in the urban environment, density, weak and strong ties, and faith.

It is the common habit of mankind that the more closely men are bound together by the ties of kinship, of acquaintanceship, or of neighborhood, the more responsibilities for one another they share. This does not offend God; for his providence, as it were, leads us to it. But I say: we ought to embrace the whole human race without exception in a single feeling of love; here there is no distinction between barbarian and Greek, worthy and unworthy, friend and enemy, since all should be contemplated in God, not in themselves. When we turn aside from such contemplation, it is no wonder we become entangled in many errors. Therefore, if we rightly direct our love, we must first turn our eyes not to man, the sight of whom would more often engender hate than love, but to God, who bids us extend to all men the love we bear to him, that this may be an unchanging principle: Whatever the character of the man, we must yet love him because we love God.