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View From the Urban Loft


View From the Urban Loft: Developing a Theological Framework for Understanding the City (2011)

As the world hurtles towards urbanization at an ever-increasing pace, there arises the need for further theological reflection on the city. Globalization, international immigration, and densification in cities are having a transformative impact on the urban landscape. Urban mission is at the forefront of many denominations, church planting networks, ministries, and mission organizations yearning for citywide transformation. How are we to think biblically and theologically about the city? View from the Urban Loft will take readers through the development of cities throughout history, act as a guide to navigating the current forces shaping urban environments, and seek to uncover a theology of the city that gives Christians a rationale and a biblical understanding of the meaning and purposes of the city and then how to live in it for the glory of God.



"Since Gorringe's Theology of the Built Environment came out, I've been yearning for someone to write a more accessible version for missional practitioners and church planters. Enter Sean Benesh. View from the Urban Loft not only covers the history and theology of the city, but anchors those insights in a missional framework, offering real hope for those us trying to shape authentic neighborhoods and transformed cities." -- Michael Frost, author of The Road to Missional

"Sean Benesh brings a church planter's heart, vital experience, and good theological reflection to the task of reminding and equipping the church to engage the urban setting. A worthy read for those called to reach the city." -- Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church

"Sean provides a fine overview of the contemporary issues for articulating a theology of the city. His insights for integration of those issues into an urban, missional practice is fun to read. His sensitivity to contextual issues will help any practitioner see how to pursue mission with the city. I am particularly pleased by his insights into Canadian missiological issues." -- Glenn Smith, Executive Director of Christian Direction and Senior Associate for Large Cities, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization


Chapter Outline:

  1. Theological Questions Painted on an Urban Canvas
  2. Parameters of City-Reaching
  3. The Scope of the City
  4. Origins
  5. The Ancient World
  6. God's Template for Urban Living
  7. Renewing the City
  8. Jesus and the Ancient Urban Church
  9. Development of the Modern City
  10. Layers of the City
  11. Theology of the Built Environment
  12. High-Density, Walkable, and Bike-Friendly Cities
  13. Pedestrian-Oriented Church Planting
  14. Authentic Neighborhoods and a Transformed City