Here are some great thoughts from Tim Keller. I love his passion for the city, and his passion for Christians living, working, and simply ‘doing life’ in the city. Sadly, we are so overwhelmingly under-represented in urban areas…
“I’m throwing in with Jim Boice on this one (cf. his Two Cities: Two Loves.) The evangelical church must stay true to its biblical foundations, and it must maintain and enhance the effectiveness of its expository preaching, the holiness of its members, the ‘thickness’ of its counter-cultural community, the fervor of its evangelism. But if it doesn’t learn how to do this in our biggest cities then we don’t have much hope for our culture.
If our cities are largely pagan while our countryside is largely Christian, then our society and culture will continue to slide into paganism. And that is exactly what is happening. Christians strengthen somewhat away from the cities and they have made some political gains, but that is not effecting cultural products much. It is because in the center cities (NYC, Boston, LA, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC) the percentages of people living and working there who are Christians are minuscule.
Jim Boice proposed that evangelical Christians need to live in the major cities at a higher percentage than the population at large (See Two Cities, p.163ff.) Currently 50% of the U.S. population live in urban areas (and 25% lives in just the 10 largest urban areas.) Boice proposes that evangelicals should be living in cities in at least the same percentages or more. As confirmation of Boice’s belief consider how much impact both the Jewish and the gay communities have had on our culture. Why? Though neither is more than 3-4% of the total population, they each comprise over 20% of the population of Manhattan (and in other center cities. )
So we have two problems. First, evangelicals (especially Anglos) in general are quite negative about U.S. cities and city living. Second, you can’t ‘do church’ in exactly the same way in a city as you do it elsewhere, not if you want to actually convert hard-core secular people to Christianity. There are churches that set up in cities without adapting to their environment. Ironically, they can grow rather well anyway in cities by just gathering in the young already-evangelicals who are temporarily living in the city after college. But that is not the way to make the cities heavily Christian—which is the crying need today.”
by Tim Keller from the talk — The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry
“If you want a far better version of the message your getting from me right now, you might want to look up an old worthy Puritan named David Clarkson whose three volume set of works was published by the Banner of Truth a long time ago. In the second volume Clarkson has an unbelievably thorough, typically-Puritan, sermon called “Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven.” . . . He says, honestly, physical idolatry, bowing down with your body to a physical image, is not really all that different and a lot less prevalent than the real sin which is what he calls “soul idolatry”—bowing down to some thing that probably doesn’t have a physical image, in your heart. In other words you can make anything into an idol—anything at all. Doesn’t have to be a statue. It almost never is.”
What difference it would make to biblical studies if full justice were done to the Bible as a book about mission, from beginning to end, written by missionaries for missionaries. Given its content & intent, how could one study it any other way? -Andrew Kirk
“God is not calling us to win the world and, in the process, lose our families. But I have known those who so enshrined family life and were so protective of ‘quality time’ that the children never saw the kind of consuming love that made their parents’ faith attractive to them. Some have lost their children, not because they weren’t at their soccer games or didn’t take family vacations, but because they never transmitted a loyalty to Jesus that went deep enough to interrupt personal preferences.” – David Shibley
If you are interested in the current discussions regarding the new-atheists (many of them coming from over the pond in England) — you will enjoy this from a former-atheist, now believer – from the Daily Mail…
Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity
That was the standard greeting of the early church. Whenever two Christians would meet they would remember the glorious fact that Jesus rose from the dead, that He proved that He was who he said He was, that He had authority in heaven and on Earth, that He had authority over death, hell and the grave. Whenever they would meet, one would greet the other with “He is risen!” and the other would respond, “He is risen indeed!” What a glorious greeting.
“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’. It was Friday, and my Jesus is dead on a tree. But that’s Friday, and Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, Mary’s crying her eyes out, the disciples are running in every direction like sheep without a shepherd. But that’s Friday, and Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, some are looking at the world and saying, “As things have been, so they shall be. You can’t change nothing in this world! You can’t change nothing in this world!” But they didn’t know that it was only Friday, and Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, them forces that oppress the poor and keep people down, them forces that destroy people, the forces in control now, them forces that are gonna rule, they don’t know it’s only Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, people are saying, “Darkness is gonna rule the world, sadness is gonna be everywhere,” but they don’t know it’s only Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’. Even though this world is rotten, as it is right now, we know it’s only Friday. But Sunday’s a comin’. ”
HT: Tall Skinny Kiwi