Urban missions: faith in the city

To Live in Peace:
Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City

by Mark R. Gornik
261 pages

Find it: 253 GOR

How are Christians to understand and respond to our distressed inner-city communities? Building on both the perspective of God's new creation and the view from the neighborhood, Mark R. Gornik's To Live in Peace shows how the life of the church, the strategies of community development, and the practices of peacemaking can make a transformational difference.

Centering the book is the story of Baltimore's New Song Community Church, a church that stands as a witness to what can happen when the risks of the gospel are taken. Engaging with a wide range of theological and missiological perspectives, Gornik demonstrates how placing blame for the current conditions of life in the inner city on the residents themselves fails the test of critical analysis and the witness of Scripture. Yet his proposals also show ways that the church can work with the community to overcome structural obstacles to human flourishing.

"Churches live primarily to serve themselves and compete with one another for providing services to increasingly consumeristic congregations. For all the talk about mission and service, the churches are driven by numbers, ever more elaborate programs, psychobabble, and slick buildings. At best, ministries of reconciliation and justice become optional add-ons to the program menu of churches, when the Gospel requires them to be at the core of all we do in the church.

Gornik lays out a sophisticated prescription for change. In the process he does not advocate for 'mercy' ministry that humiliates its recipients. Instead he calls for simply connecting faith with life. This unfolds into a vision for restoring the shalom of God's new creation through 'thousands of little things' done 'right over a period of many years.' He addresses both indiviuals and structures in the process."
--Rev. R. Cannata, New Orleans, Louisiana