I remember thinking it as I stood on a hill overlooking Asuncion, Paraguay
(overshadowed by a satanic statue, see that story: "You too can pastor the city").
I can't forget praying it in downtown Lima, Peru, where (after two harrowing taxi rides across endless urban landscape),we were invited to co-host a meeting with a senator on urban awakenings, and into an AIDs victims home to pray for his healing (video).
I recall proclaiming it from the literal Mt.Zion, as I took in the hushed and holy city of Jerusalem on Yom Kippur
The phrase seems to involuntarily arise within me until I have to make it official by vocalizing it:
"I love the city!"
More importantly, God loves the city.
This photo of me was taken in my own city of half a million: Fresno, California.
The cityscape behind me is fake, but the shadow you see me casting on the city is a symbol of something quite real.
We all cast shadows of the Spirit's influence on our city.
(see this post and video: "City Shadows".)
But we don't always take time to work out a theology of how we do so.
Thus this weekend class, and website :
"Theology of the City/Theology of Urban Ministry."
About that title...don't worry: It won't be all theological/theoretical.
We will have a time interacting with practical practitioners and prophetic pioneers of urban ministry.
We might even venture deeper into the city than our rather rural campus allows us.
Actually, all theology is practical..if done well.
Or, as someone has said,
"Nothing is more practical than theory, and nothing is more theoretical than practice."
(yes, that Bethlehem, that's why--as you can see here, they have bullet holes in their sign).
In the meantime here is video of our textbook author, making his case for
the importance of cities. Ray Bakke is a prophetic pioneer in urban ministry...he casts a large shadow, in other words.
Rest in its shade for ten minutes, and you'll be ready for class: