Sunday, 25 June 2006

From farm to slum

I was surprised to discover that only now are more people around the world living in cities than in rural contexts. I thought we crossed that line decades ago, but according to a UN report, 2007 will be the first year in history that it is true. It looks like remaining true, too, with predictions that 60% of the world's population will be urban by 2030. The UN report says one in three of these future urban residents will live impoverished and unhealthy lives in slums.

Urban mission is the pressing need. I wonder whether apologetics looks different in the city and the country? From my speaking experience, it's hard to say. Thoughts?

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5 comments:

Drew said...

I wonder whether apologetics looks different in the city and the country?

From growing up in the country i think it might look somewhat different... In many country cities in western NSW in Australia there is a strong 'anti-sydney' feeling that encompasses anything sounding vaguely academic. Or at least, that has been my experience.

Spooh said...

Tim Keller would have been glad to read this post - we need missionaries for our cities! Cities in the third world are growing at alarming rates and even in the "christianized" countries there's just no one to meet all this influx with the Gospel.

There needs to be a shift in missional thinking from heading off and living amongst an unreached people group TO living in the cities - all the unreached groups are moving to the cities anyway - let's meet them there.

meredith said...

Hi Greg,

just found your blog. your questions are very interesting - i suspect apologetics looks different in city and country settings, but also in different parts of the city, according to the subcultures of an area. ie, i think we need to be even more culturally specific with apologetics than 'city' or 'country.' is there an 'inner west' mindset, for example? would apologetics differ in mount druit and paddington? in wahroonga and kings cross?

and also, i too was surprised by the UN stat on people only now being as urban as they are rural. i suspect that for australia, though, we crossed that line a while ago (if indeed post-1788 australia was ever more rural than urban). australia i think is one of the most urban countries on earth - we've always needed missios for the cities!

looking forward to further posts...

Greg Clarke said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes, Australia is very urban--or maybe surburban is more accurate. Do the surburbs require a certain focus in apologetics? Is it questions like "Is material comfort and progress the goal of life?" -- or is that merely a stereotype of the suburban mindset?

Christopher said...

Hi Greg,

I think that the characterisation of suburban Australia as materialistic and goal driven is a little outdated. From what I perceive, which could be wrong, a lot of Australians want to “give something back” “be apart of something” and are willing to sacrifice their materials (to an extent) for purposes that they see as useful or relevant. Note the amount of money given in the Tsunami relief or the earthquake in Kashmir, or the way in which people got involved in the Make Poverty History campaign, if only to wear a white wrist band to look like a rock star.

I think an apologetics for suburban Australia needs provide an a way to process or “deal with” the angst of global life.

God is often thought as moribund and irrelevant deity of the aging traditional churches, or a trite, glitzy, and vacuous deity of the “mega-churches”.

Chris

(Do you like how many “scare” quotes I used? I always feel guilty about using them since Matheson’s article on phenomenology)