Why The City?
In human civilization, as cities go, so goes the world. If a person desires to make a cultural change, it must begin in the cities. We believe that Boise is the keystone to what happens in the rest of Idaho and that to impact the City of Boise is to create a ripple effect to impact the rest of the State.
Tim Keller in his book, “Center Church” provides an excellent framework as to why we believe the city is strategic to our mission:
...God’s directive that Adam and Eve “rule over” the earth (Genesis 1:28) is often called “the cultural mandate.” This is a call for them to “image God’s work for the world by taking up our work in the world”. It is a call to develop a culture and build a civilization that honors God. Gardening (the original human vocation) is a paradigm for cultural development.
A gardener neither leaves the ground as is, nor does he destroy it. Instead, he rearranges it to produce food and plants for human life. He cultivates it. (The words culture and cultivate come from the same root.) Every vocation is in some way a response to, and an extension of, the primal Edenic act of cultivation. Artists, for example, take the raw material of the five senses and human experience to produce music and visual media; literature and painting; dance and architecture and theater. In a similar way, technologists and builders take the raw material of the physical world and creatively rearrange it to enhance human productivity and flourishing.
Because we are called to create culture in this way, and because cities are the places of greatest cultural production, I believe that city building is a crucial part of fulfilling the mandate. As we have already pointed out, the first evidence for this connection between the city, the culture and the flourishing of human beings is found in Genesis 4, where Cain is “building a city” (v. 17). Immediately after the city is built, we see the first development of the arts, agriculture and technology — the beginnings of human cultural creativity that God had called for. Even though Cain’s purpose in building the city was rebellious, its power was good. The tension of the city was present from its very start.
God’s intention for human endeavor is that it raise up civilizations — cities — that glorify him and steward the endless wonders and riches that God put into the created world.