Knowing who you are
Sat May 25, 2013
by Jeremy Pace
Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
How Cities Are Spiritually Formative
Income Inequality In Cities Is a Spiritual Issue
Many cities tend to generate significant income inequality. Projects and slums grow up on the backside of the cities. Professionals and the upper class tend to hang onto their wealth instead of investing back into the city. In Austin, we have projects, 6,000 homeless, and increasing gentrification, but boast #1 in Top Cities for Non-Profits, while remaining in the bottom 50 in philanthropic giving. Why? We love our wealth more than we love our city. We hang onto wealth that is needed to reconcile income inequality. Jesus came to preach the good news to the poor (Luke 4:18, 33; 7:22). Income inequality is a spiritual issue.
Cities Are Spiritually Formative
Cities are also highly tolerant of a variety of spiritual beliefs. On one hand, this is very good. It promotes an irenic, not combative spirit. Everyone fits in. This tolerance, however, also minimizes the importance of truth, beauty, and goodness. Without deep convictions about what is true, humanity is left adrift to wander for purpose and meaning. Without firm understanding of what is good, we become complacent about social and moral decay (we hold onto our money). Without a reliable sense of what is beautiful, we end up with decadent art and deplorable style. We should renew the city because it is spiritually formative.
Cities are spiritually formative in that they subtly shape our beliefs about what is good, true, and beautiful. They reinforce a world and life view. And despite the greatness of cities, they are profoundly broken. They are socially, spiritually, and culturally in need of renewal. Cities aren’t just socially dense; they are filled with eternal souls who experience brokenness every single day.
Our urban future begins with us. Where will we turn as we encounter brokenness? To work, therapy, or entertainment? Or will we turn to the gospel of Jesus? Jesus didn’t just take care of spiritual brokenness and leave the sick, blind, and poor to fend for themselves. He healed them and forgave them. Will you renew your city or just use the city? Take life or give life?
The City Needs The Gospel
We need more than economic reconciliation; we need spiritual reconciliation with God. We need a Savior that will restore our dulled sense of what is good, true, and beautiful. We need a God who can renew us in every way, a God who can make all things new. We need the gospel of Jesus, which is the good and true story that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us.
The gospel changes everything, starting with us. Will we be so changed by the gospel that we can’t help but renew the city? Or will we be so changed by the city, that we won’t advance the gospel?