Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The Church and Livable Cities
How does a congregation or the church contribute to a livable city? Is a livable city a good goal for the church to strive? Safety, creativity, cultural activities, quality outdoor spaces, conglomerations of talents contribute to what distinguishes a livable city.
The research, writings and questions of Richard Florida have interested me for years, but my personal investment in community escalated in the past year. I am more attentive to the kind of community where my children will grow. I live in a place where the culture is familiar to me. My wife is connecting with communities all over Western Washington learning about their needs as she works with local congregations to plant new congregations. The video shown above inspired my thinking of the church and livable cities.
I believe the church contributes to a livable city or town. Deeply embedded in Lutheran theology is proclaiming Christ while loving and serving our neighbor. The question that regularly passes through my mind is, "who is my neighbor (Luke 10:29)?" People looking to dwell and work in a livable city, whether it already is a livable city or people work to create one from a broken urban or rural setting--implicitly ask the question, "who is my neighbor?" We want to at least know that our neighbors do not pose a physical threat to us. We are at our best we seek to serve our neighbor, learn more about their gifts and seek to partner with them for the betterment of the community. The church in proclaiming Christ and serving our neighbor contributes to a livable city. The church might see the contributing to a livable city as an opportunity to share the Gospel, but I wonder if creating a livable city is made an obligation through the Parable of the Good Samaritan.