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By Raymond J. Bakke

"As we glance on the world-class towns round our planet, we are facing 5 new city realities: a crack cocaine epidemic, attack guns, mammoth numbers of homeless childrens, HIV/AIDS and (in the united states) what Time journal has known as `the browning of America.' the wishes of the city inhabitants are more than ever. . . . As our towns swell with immigrants, i am reminded that Jesus was once born in a borrowed barn in Asia and have become an African refugee in Egypt, so the Christmas tale is ready a global migrant. additionally, a complete village filled with child boys died for Jesus earlier than he had the chance to die for them at the go. absolutely this Jesus knows the discomfort of kids who die for the sins of adults in our cities." How does God see the town? What does Scripture need to say approximately city ministry? those are the questions Ray Bakke has systematically addressed, starting with Genesis and carrying on with via to Revelation. here's a biblical theology that might consistently shock and problem as you get a glimpse of the way vast God's view of town particularly is.

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God is not asking the exiles to lead a passive, patient existence in the enemy city. Hes asking that they actively work for Babylons shalom, that is, peace with justice. Moreover, the promise is that they and presumably their families will be blessed thereby. Could it be, 1asked in 1965, that God was asking me to seek the shalom of Chicago, this dirty, ugly, flat, corrupt city? Could 1believe 86 A THEOLOGY AS BIG AS THE CITy - that if I truly did so, God would bless my own family with true shalom?

Thats our reality. It's common today to measure church growth horizontally HOPE IN THE CITY 59 by size, budgets and numbers. " There is another perspective on the Great Commission that the Orthodox church embraces. It is the vertical growth of faithful believers over many generations. America is essentially an optimistic culture. We expect to succeed, sometimes even despite obstacles. Now; however, we are hearing voices saying that Generation X and younger generations ofAmericans will not achieve the financial successes of their parents (usually white Americans are meant, I think).

Listen! The LORD is calling to the city. Micah 6:8-9 -- \ I - MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS I've sat down and read the twelve minor prophets in a single sitting. I find it emotionally exhilarating and numbing at the same time. The urban-versus-rural themes loom always. The prostitute theme of Hosea is urban; the locust plagues of Joel are rural. ) Amos and Haggai evoke contrasting perspectives on urban worship centers. Haggai builds one, and Amos comes off the farm to rail against another. Habakkuk is the urban version of the Job story.

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