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"If God's way in the world can be described as cruciform and covenantal, so can the ministry to which we are summoned in urban settings. For urban churches are called to covenant with God and others at the intersection of the places where God is bringing life out to the death-tending ways of our urban realities." --from the introduction
What, pray tell, does a faithful urban ministry require if not a triadic relationship of prayer, justice, and hope? Could such a theologically conjunctive relationship of prayer, justice, and hope fortify urban ministry and challenge students and practitioners to ponder and practice beyond the box? Frequently, justice is collapsed to charity, hope into wishful thinking or temporarily arrested despair, and prayer a grasp at quick-fix interventions. An urban ministry's steadfast public and prophetic witness longs for the depth and width of this triad. Via three countries' decades of endeavors, one chapter brainstorms urban ministry practices while another's literature survey signals crucial convictions. Amid many, seminal theologians are summoned to ground urban ministry intimations and implications: Niebuhr on justice, Moltmann on hope, and Merton on contemplative prayer. Evident is passion that fuels compassion in the service of justice, hope that engages despair, and prayer that draws from the contemplative center of it all--thankful resources for long haul ministry. The triad presses to illumine a concrete ministry's engagement of relentless, forced option issues yet with significant networks resourcing. Contrast-awareness animates endurance. The summary exegetes the original grace-based serenity prayer. Hence, hope vitally balances realism's temptation to cynicism. Realism saves hope from irrelevancy.
No. 3 in the 2002 Academy of Parish Clergy Top Ten Books of the Year! Cities--the anvil of civilization, the center of power, the metaphor for society itself--have been with us for thousands of years. Here converge piety and trade, security and politics. Yet just two hundred years ago only 3 percent of the world's population lived in cities. Today half does. Despite this tremendous explosion of urban growth, the work of the church has generally lagged behind. The city presents serious challenges that cry out for answers: poverty, racism, human exploitation and government corruption. How can the church move ahead in the midst of these demands with the gospel of hope? Here, in one comprehensive volume, Harvie Conn and Manuel Ortiz, two noted scholars and proven practitioners of urban ministry, address the vital work of the church in the city. Their dual goal: to understand the city and God's work in it. Through four great waves of development, Conn and Ortiz trace the history of the city around the world. Then they tackle the critical issue of a biblical basis for urban mission. How does the Bible view the city? Are we closer to God in the country than the city? Does the Bible have an anti-urban bias? These questions are given a thorough analysis that unveils God's urban mandate as reflected in both Old and New Testaments. From this foundation the authors unpack the multifaceted nature of the city as place, as process, as center, as power, and as a place of change and stability. They move us beyond fragmented stereotypes to a new way of seeing that is holistic enough for a fully biblical ministry to develop. In addition, Conn and Ortiz lay out what the social sciences have to offer urban mission, including ethnographic and demographic studies. While showing how such studies have identified unreached cities and unreached groups within cities, they do not become captive to research but demonstrate how to keep kingdom priorities in view. Finally, Urban Ministry focuses on the essential element of leadership. While there are many books on the topic, little has been said about the particular issues and needs of urban leadership. Therefore, the authors give significant attention to developing and mentoring leaders while equipping the laity for ministry in the city. This is the essential text for bringing God's kingdom to the city through the people of God.
Why is the city a battleground of hostile principalities and powers? What is the mission of the church in the city? How can the church be supported in accomplishing that mission? These are the questions that Robert Linthicum treats in his comprehensive and probing biblical theology of the city. In the Bible the city is depicted both as a dwelling place of God and his people and as a center of power for Satan and his minions. The city is one primary stage on which the drama of salvation is played out. And that is no less the case at the end of this pivotal century as megacities become the focal point of most human activity and aspirations around the world. This is a timely theology of the city that weaves the theological images of the Bible and the social realities of the contemporary world into a revealing tapestry of truths about the urban experience. Its purpose is to define clearly the mission of the church in the midst of the urban realities and to support well the work of the church in the urban world.
A comprehensive introduction to the particular challenges and opportunities of congregational ministry in urban settings. Urban ministry has long been a part of seminary curricula, but a basic and definitive understanding of what students should know as they prepare for congregational ministry in the city has remained elusive. Too often it is assumed that the theological resources developed for ministry in other settings are adequate for urban ministry, but these resources fail to account for the unique challenges and opportunities of the urban setting. Ronald Peters clarifies the nature of urban ministry as a theological discipline by showing how its core values of love, justice, community, and reconciliation (among others) engage the issues of economics, education, family life, public health, ethnic relations, and religious life in the urban environment. Arguing that the city has always served as an arena of God's activity, Peters articulates a theological rationale for urban ministry that is both hopeful and yet realistic, affirming that God loves the city and its people and encouraging practitioners to do the same.
A Spiritual City provides a broad examination of the meaning and importance of cities from a Christian perspective. Contains thought-provoking theological and spiritual reflections on city-making by a leading scholar Unites contemporary thinking about urban space and built environments with the latest in urban theology Addresses the long-standing anti-urban bias of Christianity and its emphasis on inwardness and pilgrimage Presents an important religious perspective on the potential of cities to create a strong human community and sense of sacred space
Paris. Nairobi. Tokyo. Chicago. For the first time in history, over half of the world’s population lives in cities, and yet evangelicals make up only 2% of many major urban populations. In this “urban manifesto,” pastor and author Jon Dennis argues that the greatest need of our day is for the transformative news of the gospel to enliven the cities of the world. Dennis powerfully highlights God’s special love for cities, exploring important issues related to city-dwelling and offering real-world advice for reaching urbanites. With Christ-exalting, biblically based insights, this book serves as a rallying cry for a new generation of Christians who are passionate about seeing the kingdom of God take root and flourish in some of the darkest, yet most strategic, places on earth.
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