It seems two friends of his were the victims of crime in the area and have decided enough is enough – they are moving out. Johnson’s post is a plea for them to stay, backed up with some great thinking.
Connectedly, in preparation for the release of ‘Signs…’ in the US, I’ve been going through the UK version with the fine people at Baker, with them suggesting amendments and clarifications. One of the trickier points has been whether to tone down the deliberately city-focused UK text and generalize it to ‘wherever you live.’
In many ways I’ve been doing my best to resist, partly because I feel that while humanity has urbanized massively – over half of the world live in cities now, whereas only 15% did 100 years ago – the church has failed to respond to what a city is really about. Its theology and ecclesiology have thus remained ‘pastoral’ – from the countryside – I am convinced that we need to rebalance that.
But for that to happen do Christians need to ‘stay in the city’? If the grand sweep of our faith is the movement from a garden to a city then what impact ought that to have on how we live? If a city is simply ‘where humanity and divinity gather to co-operate and co-create’ then does it matter if this is in London or Chipping Sodbury, as long as we connect with people?