In Jeremiah 32, the prophet Jeremiah enters into a land deal with his cousin Hanamel in one of the worst real estate markets imaginable. Does his prophetic economic activity open up new horizons of possibilities for Christian disciples today in the face of urban blight and seemingly dead economic potential in many urban neighborhoods?
This article will address (1) how mentors may biblically affirm a disciple’s physical cultural differences within a dominant culture’s message that there is something inherently flawed in his or her design, (2) how theology addresses a body/spirit symbiosis relevant to identity dissonance, and (3) how mentors may move a disciple from identity dissonance to identity satisfaction through a holistic application of Scripture.
Why should contexts of urban poverty so often be perceived as alien territory for the people of God, and hard places for the gospel? Through his experience in Kibera, a slum community in Nairobi, and through his reflection on the eschatological vision of Isaiah, the author discerns the Spirit of God at work in the burgeoning urban areas of poverty where many outsiders see little hope, and outlines a theological vision for the church’s missionary agenda there.
Urban exegesis, a theological reading of the city, can be an insightful and effective lens for observing and interpreting any urban community. After considering some foundational elements of the Rainier Valley’s physical context, an examination of significant urban “cultural texts” in the community will explore cultural and theological meaning in the built environment of the neighborhood. This approach to observing and interpreting an urban community is essential not only for prospective church planters, but also for anyone who is seeking to embody an incarnational presence in the city.