Headlines from First Thoughts

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

First Impressions- Summer Reading in the City

Nehemiah challenges us to take an infrastructure project (a wall) and think how God could use the tangible to renew the intangible- the lives of those in our neighborhood. In our case, we have a new platform that gives us the chance to dive into the lives in our community. But as you jump into the pool of need this summer, grab a book along the way. Several resources have educated me for this series, and I hope you will learn from one of these.

Robert Lupton wrote the little exposition of Nehemiah entitled Renewing the City. The first half is narrative explanation of the book. The second contains theological themes. Scattered throughout are fascinating stories from his work renewing the city of Atlanta and his work with his urban renewal group, FCS Urban Ministries.

Another Robert (can there really be too many Bob's in the world?), this time Robert Linthicum, wrote a book about city renewal called Building a People of Power. You might recognize Lithicum; he was the president of World Vision and has done city transformation in Brazil, Chicago, and other places throughout the world. The book is part Bible study, part training manual, and part sermon. Linthicum moves so fast, you're exhausted just reading it. But it's a good tired.

Thirdly, WMU's publishing imprint "New Hope Publishers" has produced a very nice workbook on renewing a city called City Signals. Our staff read this for staff retreat, and we had some very engaging conversations around the themes. Brad Smith is the author, and if you enjoy doing Bible study in a workbook along with your regular reading plan, this is for you. Great for group study as well, and they offer an optional DVD to go with the book. Brad knows about ministry in a city because he lived in a rough neighborhood in Chicago and practiced ministry in the worst kind of conditions.

Fourth, I will do a bit of shameless self-promotion for my little journal that I assist with through Baylor University: Christian Reflection. A few years ago, we published a volume entitled "Cities and Towns." We focused on the changes in cities, the new people moving in, and the role of churches like ours in the cities across the world. Best of all, if you have an internet connection, you can download the entire volume for free from their website. The real credit goes to Robert Kruschwitz (another Bob), Heidi Hornik, and Norman Wirzba who did the bulk of the work. I am just happy to be associated with the group.

Thanks for your responses and questions along the way over the past few weeks. I'm ready to dive in. How about you?

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