Jump directly to the content
Why Christians Can Raise Kids Anywhere: A Response to Kathy Keller

Why Christians Can Raise Kids Anywhere: A Response to Kathy Keller

Christ calls us not to a particular location but to a particular way of life.

Kathy Keller, writing recently for the City project, is right to remind Christians that it's possible to raise creative, compassionate, confident, and faithful children in cities. I get it: Christians, like many other white Americans, have long fled cities to get away from immigrants and poor people; that was much the impetus behind the Long Island suburbs, where I lived in my high-school years. But city living isn't for every Christian—and if my family's story is any testimony, Christians can learn to engage the world and contribute meaningfully to culture just about anywhere.

My parents, my grandparents, and I were all born and spent our childhoods in New York City; my great-grandparents were immigrants. They were factory workers, horse trainers, personal chefs, nannies, maids, cops. My parents were free to roam the city streets and take the subway; they had friends of every ethnicity, religion, and social class. I grew up measuring the length of things in city blocks, visiting city museums, and taking public transportation. Since high school, I've lived in Philadelphia and Chicago, a town of 200 people in rural California, a small East Coast village, and two very different European university towns.

Of all these places, the place I recommend you raise your kids is—anywhere you are. I'm not sure the place is the point at all.

Take my brother-in-law, Paul, who grew up in rural California and Montana, a state whose population only recently topped 1 million. He and his brother (my husband) built forts and tree houses and learned to hunt, fish, hike, and backpack in rugged conditions, ride horses, chop wood, and generally work very hard.

Maybe they didn't take in a lot of theater or opera or visit many art museums, but if culture is what humans make of the world, you better believe they grew up with a strong sense of their own potential and strength as culture makers. Today they can build houses from scratch, grow food, and repair just about anything. (Paul even taught himself to knit so he could teach his daughter, who wanted to learn.) They stop to help neighbors. And they have that elusive quality of being thoroughly comfortable in their own skin in almost any setting. My husband has a Ph.D. from a top European university; we've lived everywhere from a sketchy studio in Rogers Park, Chicago, to the "home of golf," St. Andrews, Scotland.

123  

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

For Harrison Higgins, building beautiful furniture is not simply a steady job but a sacrament unto God.
Faith in a Fallen Empire

Faith in a Fallen Empire

Detroit's list of maladies is long. But some Christians' commitment to its renewal is longer.
'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.

Comments Are Closed

Displaying 1–5 of 6 comments

Jonathan Brouillette

March 24, 2012  9:08am

Just a few bible verses to add to the discussion: Malachi 1:11 - For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. We are one Body in Christ song - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqfn75wgfYA&feature=related

Jonathan Brouillette

March 24, 2012  8:59am

Mark 16:15 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Jonathan Brouillette

March 24, 2012  8:59am

Matthew 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jonathan Brouillette

March 24, 2012  8:55am

Ephesians 4:4-6 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Jonathan Brouillette

March 24, 2012  8:52am

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

SUPPORT THIS IS OUR CITY

Make a contribution to help support the This Is Our City project and the nonprofit ministry Christianity Today.Learn more ...

TWITTER

RT @MissionYear: A great collection of articles from @ct_city @CTmagazine http://t.co/OLmjHvUIfr

In honor of Kim Newlen, a friend of @ct_city who died Saturday, we share our story of her battle with cancer: http://t.co/S3FGKhVDuo

RT @CTmagazine: After three years, hundreds of stories, thousands of readers, our tribute to This Is Our City: http://t.co/Gz35NhAdqc @ct_c2026

The top 10 stories of @editor @KatelynBeaty picks her favorites and reflects on lessons learned in 3 years: http://t.co/BQxYdaoyD9

"As a community we have to do a better job of rescuing these young people." The newest (and last) City video: http://t.co/vZL0cRKO7H #RVA