Francis Schaeffer once said, "People are magnificent, even in ruin." In this series of essays, Taylor Field, the pastor of East Seventh Baptist Church/Graffiti Community Ministries, shows how God can salvage hope amid the wreckage of lives in New York City.
"People are precious to God, so cities must be his treasure," he writes. "This book is about seeing treasure." Field's glimpses of humanity and renewal are inspiring, from the addict who makes the journey to wholeness to watching a small sapling struggle to grow in his concrete backyard. The day-to-day life of the ministry is intriguing, including "Dog Day Afternoon," in which the homeless and down-and-out bring their pets to the storefront church for a vet check (animals are "a key to reaching out to other people").
Field offers some profoundly moving reflections about September 11, including the search for his sons immediately following the chaos, and performing a couple's wedding in the midst of the clean-up. Personal testimonies, reflections on Jesus, color graffiti art inserts, and an invitation to salvation round out the text.
Field is compelling as he shows readers that "no doubt boredom, indifference, addiction, and fear can walk the harsher streets of the city. But also mercy."
Cindy Crosby is the author of By Willoway Brook: Exploring the Landscape of Prayer (Paraclete, 2003).
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Mercy Streets is available from Christianbook.com and other book retailers.
A sample chapter is available from the publisher.
More information about Field's church is available on its web site.1