This week was the annual meeting of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP). I’m proud to be elected to serve another three year term on the board. The folks at the PDP are absolutely terrific. They love the city. But I’m the only minister.
Downtown is booming. In the last eight years, over $7 billion has been spent on projects within blocks of the church. There is over $600 million in new construction taking place right now. There are hundreds of new hotel rooms and apartments. Dozens of new restaurants.
Pittsburgh has become a center for innovation. Dozens of new ideas are coming together which will shape urban life in ways that we can’t imagine. Did you know there are self-driving cars all over town right now? Speakers from all different domains extolled the rewards of city life. But there were no churches on the docket.
I have to admit that I come back from these meetings literally shaking. I feel like I’m going to hyperventilate. It’s because of the enormous opportunities God has given us as a downtown church.
The challenge is that the culture is running away from the church faster than ever. The keynote speaker was a nationally known transportation expert who had exciting ideas about improving quality of life. And yet he began his talk by saying that human life is an accident. His motivation for addressing transportation needs was climate change.
It would seem that technology and climate change have replaced Christianity as the dominant religion. If that’s true, then civic policy is not based on an external standard of truth, but on what seems to work today.
Calm down. Breathe into a paper bag, Tom. God is still God, and God is calling us to make his truth known. Unless civic policy is based on that, why would decisions made today be better or wiser than the decisions made a generation ago, which the current experts are trying to undo?
What an enormous task we have to speak God’s truth with love into the heart of the city.