Urban Culture Transcends Borders

My urban journey has gone from Kabul to Amsterdam to Cape Town and as I lived in these very different places, I became fascinated with the rise of cities.  I was provoked to develop a theology of the city, which I have reflected in my book, 'Seeing the City With the Eyes of God'.
Here is what I learned about urban culture:
  • Urban cultures are like mountain tops... everything flows down from there to smaller towns and rural areas regardless of national borders and language differences.
  • Urban cultures are trend setters.   What happens in cities today happens in the rest of the world 5 and 10 years from now.
  • Urban cultures are multi-ethnic.  When I moved to Amsterdam there were 114 languages spoken in the city.  Today, there are more than 180 languages spoken there.
  • Vast segments of worldwide urban culture identify with American youth culture via TV, music and movies.
  • This identification is producing a hostility and backlash in certain parts of the world, namely the Middle East and the Muslim world.
  • Urban young adults are vastly different from their rural counterparts.
  • Urban sub-cultures are like villages stacked on top of each other, connecting via ethnic similarity and language, not urban geography.
  • Cities have personalities... some are financial centers, some are fashion and cultural trend setters, and still others are the center of gravity for spiritual appetite and curiosity.

God Returns to the City!

Many years ago my wife and I had the opportunity to live and work in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, Holland. The "Red Light District" was flourishing in those days, with thousands of prostitutes sitting behind windows and live sex shows running through the night. We prayed and ministered with faith and hope that the Red Light District would be closed down some day. Our workers decided, as an act of faith, to call the Red Light district the "promise land". We believed that the city belonged to the Lord, not to the devil. "The whole earth is the Lord's..." Recently I received a letter from Janneke Stuji, one of the leaders of the House of Prayer, located in the heart of the Red Light District. This is what she had to say about God at work in the city and in that neighborhood:

"The Lord has done many things: 51 windows were closed in 2008, 18 houses were sold with the brothels and windows. But reality is……………That still many women are standing behind the window and people are ended up in slavery through human trafficking.

 I am one of the leaders of the House of Prayer, the Tabernacle of the Nations, in de Red Light District (building next to former Cleft) and every day we look out of our windows and see the ladies and the men.

 It is amazing what the Lord has done in all these years and we are all very excited about what He is going to do!

A few weeks ago there was an article in one of our neutral newspapers Het Parool and on the front page was written: “ God returns in the city” and this was an article of 3 pages about all the new Church plants in the city that many people go there and they are really impacting different neighborhoods".

If God can do this in one of the most notorious cities in the world, He can do it for you as well!