Love for the City.
“Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:11 NIV)
Jonah is complaining to God about the city of Nineveh. He has a bad migraine. In response, God caused a great vine to grow and shelter Jonah from the suns heat. Following this act of mercy God took the vine away. While Jonah was concerned about his personal vine God widened the lens of his worldview to the greatest metropolitan city of that day.
We can become so preoccupied with the things that matter to us instead of the great cities of our respective countries and the world.
We believe that Christianity has removed itself from the market-place throwing most of its resource into a weekly theater of actors who perform for an audience in song, word and advertizing confusing spiritual things with sensational things. We also believe there is a return to the market-place in many cities that will work within the culture of the city.
The gospel is the power of God in the city lived out through the life of Christianity integrated into the culture. We do not mean three steps, four keys and seven principles but the redemptive dynamic of the gospel that transforms everything. The first city in the Bible mentioned in Genesis is Enoch. It was corrupted by sin. The last city mentioned in Revelation is the City of God that is uncorrupted. We ask these four questions in any issue of our culture in the city:
- Creation: what did God intend [ ] to be?
- Sin: how did sin corrupt [ ] from how God intended it?
- Redemption: how did Jesus redeem / reconcile [ ] to be as God intended?
- Hope: is the redemption of [ ] something we experience (i) now (ii) partly now until Jesus returns (iii) not until Jesus returns?
Culture of the City
We believe that the culture has seven elements to it:
- Arts / Entertainment
“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)
God was telling Israel to stay with the city and not try to escape it. He is saying the same thing today. We must not leave the city because it is hard. Why? Because the cry of the city is “lawlessness” God needs His church to intercede for it, and work within it. When we do this, both the city and the church prosper.