Over at WSJ, Andy Crouch has a piece on Make Way for the Metro-Evangelical, which describes the pivot by church leaders like Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll towards inner city church planting. Christianity Today even has a series of videos on them called This is our City. However, Keith Miller at Mere Orthodoxy asks, Are the Metro-Evangelicals Right? Miller comments:
Yet there is a timbre amidst all of this city-centrism that troubles me. Maybe this is because the metro-evangelicals are not counter-cultural, but rather a baptized version of New Urbanism. In a culture that idolizes living in a loft in a gentrifying art district, a church planter is not exactly bearing a cross in deciding to “rough it” under such conditions. Maybe it is that some of its advocates tell a story that previous generations fearfully abdicated the dirty, sinful cities. Thus, all this new “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” generation needs do is show up and things will get better. It’s worth noting that this mythical Evangelical abandonment never really happened and we should be more careful at imputing impure motives to previous generations of believers.
Truth is that I could never be an inner city urbanite. I don’t drink coffee so I have no need for cafe’s, I loathe city traffic, and I’d always feel awkward living in an area that I know votes for Green candidates (with wonderful beliefs like infanticide and turning church buildings into government subsidized tofu restaurants).