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It is, without a doubt, the most surprising large-scale cultural shift in my lifetime.

Not that long ago, cities were places few people wanted to be. Across the northern United States, from Seattle to Pittsburgh, urban cores declined as industry and people ...

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December 10, 2011  6:38pm

Interesting and helpful! We must not abandon our "places" and practice our "saltiness." Christians-as-salt are effective in small number not necessarily where the 51% controls the 49%. Perhaps, it is also prudent to remember that the Hebrews literature shone brilliantly because of their experience in the foreign lands, exiles. Not all of them become governors, rich, or the ultimate insiders but they filtered into almost every spectrum of their exiled-societies. If Pentecost gives us a better alternative, then it is also not an absolute model. Peter, Paul, James, and John clearly did not see eye-to-eye on how to do their new found way, or life. Perhaps, this is an important lesson for contemporary believers. There are no formulas, policies, or rules that tells us how to be the church. It is organic, dynamic, chaotic, and dangerous. As far as Genesis goes, it was the murderer that introduces the first city.

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Jacquelyn Hoppe

November 12, 2011  12:12am

The Cathedral of Hope/ East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh is committed to artistic outreach ministry that touches the hearts, lives, and needs of a formerly forgotten part of the Pittsburgh community. The pastor is a concert pianist and a commanding spiritual leader as well. The teaching artists help the young artists explore the many ways of communicating through a myriad of artistic parameters. Participation is never a concern. Kids flock to the Saturday and Wednesday classes. This program is working!

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October 31, 2011  8:15am

"Do we really choose our faith or is it largely chosen for us by our parents and the culture in which we happen to be born?" With The Four Pillars of the Kingdom, author Joe Brooks challenges us to assess whether our relationship with Christ is a chosen faith or an inherited dogma. Is it a growing passion or a stagnant obligation? The Four Pillars of the Kingdom seeks to start the conservation that leads to an understanding of what we believe and why we believe it. I challenge you to read this book and really think about your relationship with Christ. Is it even a relationship, at all? Or is it just an obligation? A responsibility? He has chosen you, but have you actually chosen to follow Him? We live in a self-perpetuating cycle wherein we are handed a faith that is nothing more than a cultural or family institution. We then take this set of beliefs for granted and are content to go through the motions, never aspiring to a real relationship with Christ or with our fellow believers. We are sleepwalking towards eternity, being lulled by a complacent institutional Christianity rather than seeking an active, vibrant one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ One has to wonder, how many people, self-proclaimed Christians, many of whom we see in church with us every week, never really even made a conscious choice to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. How many people inherited their faith, have maintained it, and adhere to it publicly, but have never actually asked Jesus to be lord of their lives? How many of us are unwittingly destined to hear Christ tell us, 'I never knew you; depart from Me.'"

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Ernst Muller

October 29, 2011  6:00am

I'm glad to report that the same trend can be traced in some South African cities. In Tshwane/Pretoria (my home town)"Tshwane Leadership Foundation" (TLF) has not only established a culture of transformation for the inner city over the last 18 years, in cooperation with church, government and NGO partners, it has also established a network (IUM) with many national and international connections. In Bloemfontein we have "Towers of Hope Leadership Foundation", in Nelspruit "Nelspruit Community Forum", and in neighbouring Mozambique: urban foundations in Maputo and Nampula. In Cape Town the 108 year old "City Mission" has also embraced the concept of community transformation, in addition to its emphasis on discipleship.

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October 28, 2011  9:19pm

Not to put too fine a point on this, under the "New York" piece, I read about Riverside Cathedral. Well, the problem is there is no such place. There is a Riverside Church, and a St. Patrick's Cathedral, and a Cathedral of St. John the Divine, but Riverside Church, being Congregational, is not an ecclesiastical seat,it is a church. The person who wrote about this may also think that Grand Central Station is a train station. It's not. It's a post office. Grand Central Terminal is the train station. Now that I'm off my native-Manhattanite soapbox, I can say I am enjoying reading about all this.

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