What is a City?

Thinking about cities this past weekend while auditing Travis Vaughn’s Church in Context: Gospel in the City. Asked to write a tentative definition, my rough-draft take on what city is: “A city is a place where humanity is sufficiently concentrated that people, including strangers, are forced to come into constant contact with one another but are able, because of that same density, to control the nature and depth of the ensuing relationships, that can range from sustained anonymity to sustained and deep vulnerability and love.” Of course, for individuals the ability to move along this continuum is partially dependendent upon individual personality, skills, temperament, resources, etc. Probably overbroad but I am still thinking.

During the class I heard the oft repeated statement that “the gospel of Jesus Christ always tends to move to the margins.” Based upon observations of Christ’s actual ministry, this seems to be a function of who has ears to hear and eyes to see. Most of the time those who have such ears and eyes are indeed those who know they have nothing they can offer God, and are therefore dependent on Him for their very breath. During this class, it occured to me that the proposition may lie at the heart of the confluence of reconciliation ministry, weakness, and the propagation of the good news. When those in vastly different socio-economic categories are reconciled to God and to one another, the power of Jesus Christ’s work effectively marginalizes each of the parties, making each more receptive of the good news. This marginalization is a type of the weakness through which God’s power is made perfect. See 2 Cor. 12-13


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