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Renewing the City: Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal

Renewing the City: Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal


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When an expatriate bureaucrat toured a devastated city, he saw more than ashes and ruins. He envisioned a thriving metropolis where God's people could find safety and community. Likewise, when we consider today's urban challenges, we can be daunted by corruption and despair, or we can see opportunities for rejuvenation, restoration and rebirth.
Community developer and urban activist Robert D. Lupton looks to the Old Testament example of Nehemiah as a role model for community transformation and renewal. Lupton sees the book of Nehemiah as the memoirs of an urban developer who transformed a decaying city into a place of security and vitality. Placing Nehemiah's story in juxtaposition with contemporary realities offers encouragement and concrete models for how our own metropolitan environments can be revitalized. Nehemiah's example—and Lupton's—offer guidance and hope for all who would seek the welfare of their cities.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830833269
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 07/08/2005
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x (h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Robert D. Lupton is founder and president of FCS Urban Ministries based in Atlanta, Georgia. His other books include Theirs Is the Kingdom: Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America and Return Flight: Community Development Through Reneighboring Our Cities.

Raymond J. Bakke is senior associate of Ray Bakke Associates, a nonprofit organization that partners with those who are passionate about empowering the church to be creatively missional in an urban world. He is the former chancellor and professor of global urban studies at Bakke Graduate University and former executive director of International Urban Associates in Chicago, Illinois.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ray Bakke


Part One: The Story

1. City in Ruins

2. The Calling

3. An Improbable Plan

4. The Opposition

5. Construction Begins

6. External Threats

7. Trouble in the Ranks

8. The End in Sight

9. The Wall Is Completed

10. Repentance and Recommitment

11. Reneighboring the City

12. The Good Years

13. Enforcing the Rules

Part Two: The Issues

14. What Makes a Leader?

15. Gentrification with Justice

16. The Problem of Purity

17. Discerning a Vision

18. The Difficulty with Doing Good

19. Where Your Treasure Is

20. Serving or Leading?

21. Conflict of Interest

22. Church and Community

23. Biblical Tithing

24. Home in the City



About the Author

What People are Saying About This

Randy White

"Bob Lupton is Nehemiah. This imaginative, authentic and narrative account of a faith-motivated visionary's calling to rebuild a city devastated by war and abandonment will inspire similar efforts in America's urban neighborhoods."
Randy White, National Coordinator for Urban Projects, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and author of Journey to the Center of the City

John Perkins

"Bob is a longtime friend of mine, and he's done such an excellent job of improving the quality of life of people in Atlanta. Renewing the City is an outgrowth of his many years committed to doing economic and community development from a biblical perspective. I hope this book gets wide acceptance and readership."
John Perkins, President, John Perkins Foundation, and cofounder, Christian Community Development Association

From the foreword by Ray Bakke

"Bob Lupton is the only person I know who could have written a masterful book on the ancient prophet Nehemiah that is at the same time a book on community development and urban renewal. . . . To Bob Lupton be thanks and to our cities be hope!"

Philip Yancey

"I always thought Bob Lupton was one of the most innovative forces in dealing with city problems. In this book I learn he is simply following principles 2,500 years old. Creative, thoughtful and provocative."
Philip Yancey, author of Rumors of Another World

Wayne L. Gordon

"Bob Lupton has captured the essence of Nehemiah's story in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Bob has taken the biblical truths of Nehemiah and applied them to the terrible deterioration and disgrace facing America's inner cities. This book provides realistic hope through biblical Christian community development. Renewing the City is a must read for anyone doing urban work today."
Wayne L. Gordon, President, Christian Community Development Association

Walter Brueggemann

"Bob Lupton writes what he knows about. Fortunately for us he knows a great deal. He knows about the concreteness of needy folk in the city; he knows about the city as a system and the powerful who preside over it. He knows about compassion and mercy kept sober by issues of justice. He knows about faith that turns to bold energy and he knows about a biblical script through which to organize all of his learnings into a testimony of faith.
"This book is a modern retelling of the narrative of Ezra-Nehemiah, a narrative in which Lupton himself is cast as a key character. The book lives precisely at the interface between ancient text and current urban transformation. Its powerful testimony will provide guidance and courage for those who read. And we finish the book grateful to Bob and Peggy for their large-hearted urban wisdom."
Walter Brueggemann, professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

Stephen A. Hayner

"In Renewing the City Bob Lupton has given us a remarkable glimpse of the confusing realities, the irritating lessons and the crises of leadership that are often a part of urban development work. It's all interwoven with an imaginative, provocative and biblically faithful rendering of the story of Nehemiah. From the realities of regentrification to the competing models of economic planning, Bob's insights are full of uncompromising faith and deep wisdom. This is a must read for everyone who believes that God loves cities."
Stephen A. Hayner, Peachtree Professor of Evangelism, Columbia Theological Seminary

Robert Seiple

"An engaging book from an author who tops the charts when it comes to credibility. Ageless principles from an ancient story are lifted up for today's reality. Lupton looks for and finds a theology that touches the ground, even when the ground is messy. He writes as well as he thinks, and he thinks as well as he implements. His compelling candor and honesty work well in a world of ambiguities."
Robert Seiple, founder, Institute for Global Engagement, author of Ambassadors of Hope

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