What do cities have to do with God?
Sometime around 2008, a demographic shift of historic proportions took place. For the first time in history, more than 50% of the world’s population lived in cities. The percentage of city-dwellers is projected to swell to more than 70% by 2050. While many of today’s cities concentrate wealth and power, they also house some of the most vulnerable populations and distressed communities in the world. The juxtaposition of affluence and poverty in urban areas raises questions of justice.
Urban studies and political science professor Noah J. Toly guides us toward cultivating two types of responses: the prophetic on one hand, emphasising important distinctions between one city and another; and the apocalyptic on the other hand, emphasising the infinite distance between any city and the City of God.
Ultimately, “Cities of Tomorrow and the City to Come” – part of Zondervan’s Ordinary Theology Series – clarifies an important truth: the city and its institutions can make meaningful improvements in the lives of its citizens, but it is not the source of Christian hope. This outlook is all the more needed as the influence of today’s global megacities reaches to the ends of the earth.