DAFFODILS, ROLLING FIELDS, SHEEP … AND CITIES.
I have designed a course on the subject of Culture. I have had the privilege of delivering the course to those taking degrees in theology, to students who have completed advanced training in Counselling, social workers, foster carers, and sixth form students.
For many who have a church background, I usually ask the question: “What it is you might see on what may be called, a “Christian Calendar”, Christian Magazine, Daily devotional books, or other such literature?” Most students give me the common answer, being the first part of my heading—daffodils, rolling fields, and perhaps even nice clean white sheep grazing in total serenity.
When I ask if readers have ever seen a city in such literature, I often see the lines on people's faces as they think on it. Usually, the answer is, “No! Never!”
I was a regular visitor to churches in the USA for many years, and what surprised me was the venom I found in many countryside churches concerning cities. People almost want such places to explode or slip in the sea and never be seen again.
Our company office is in Tottenham in the heart of London, and somehow, Tottenham has a bad name for Knife crime. There is a lot of it. Yet there is also a great deal of community care. I noted during the days of CV19 the many community-organised groups that got together to deliver food, do shopping for locked-in people, cook meals for free and provide them for those in need. So much of that kind of behaviour. So, sure, Cities can be dangerous. However, let me tell you what I see as the positives of Cities.
• They can be places of protection and safety.
• They can be places where people skills can be best deployed, as in industry.
• They can be where organisations can be most usefully designated, giving great opportunities to many.
• They can be places where individual people-skills are best developed - specialisation.
• A place of a wonderful community and co-operation (unity).
• A place of wealth creation.
• A place of resource.
• A place of influence beyond its borders and often is.
In other words:
It should be good.
• A place of richness, in terms of creativity, how about, 'Silicone Valley”?
• A place of vision - Where there isn't vision people perish
So be careful what you think about Cities. They are actually great places to be.
Sadly, people who move to the countryside look at me with sympathy when I tell them where I live. “How sad for you!” they say. “What a shame! I would hate to live in the City.” Usually, I am too polite to respond, - but, do you know how insulting it is to say derogatory things about where people live? Do you know that more people live in cities than anywhere else in today's world?
For my Christian readers, those of you are used to seeing Christian literature with fields, flowers, and cottages with flowers around the door planted by a flowing stream with lambs jumping in rolling hills outside your living room window. Have you ever looked at what God promised us at the end of the age?
The New Testament Apostles went to the biggest and most influential cities, not country villages. Epistles are written to the likes of huge cities like Rome, Ephesus, Corinth Philippi, and Thessalonica.
Revelation Chapter 21 verse 2 is striking, isn't it country lovers? What God promises us at the end of the age is a city, how amazing is that?