Shalomalization July 13, 2006

One of the greatest gifts of my first few years here at Calvary has been the opportunity to be part of a group of young clergy coming together from all different denominations and various geographical locations around the country to learn together about leadership. We meet several times a year for two years, and we’re currently in Boston for our second-to-last meeting.

At every meeting we discuss a specific topic and hear from excellent practitioners; each session includes conversations with a “Theologian In Residence” to help us explore the theology of the concepts we’re discussing.

This time it’s urban ministry, a very small interest of mine . . . .

We met Dr. Jeff Brown, pastor of Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, and one of the founders of Boston’s ground-breaking Ten Point Coalition.

It was all very inspiring, but the thing that really caught my attention was in the lecture we heard from our Theologian in Residence, Dr. Fred Smith, Jr., Associate Professor of Urban Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary, coined a new word: Shalomalization.

This, as you might be able to tell, amused me no end, but Dr. Smith was serious. He said his new word is the word for ministry in the inner city, based on Jeremiah 29:7:
“And seek the peace of the city into which I have caused you to be carried away to exile, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace of the city, you shall have peace.”

Peace for the city, what a dream. After listening today, though, it occurs to me that Shalomalization wouldn’t be bad for the whole entire world.

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