Tomorrow I start preaching a new series of sermons entitled CityPulse on the theology of Miami. Everyone has a set of beliefs (which makes them a theologian) and those beliefs will dictate the way that life unfolds for them. It will influence how they spend their money, how the cary out their relationships, how they deal with crisis and how they live as citizens. Moreover, each individual is part of a community that influences their overarching beliefs. The great modern thinkers were right to say that environment influences behavior. That’s not all there is to it but if you live in New York long enough you’ll become a New Yorker the same way that if you live in Rio long enough you’ll become a carioca. I heard Tim Keller say many times that “cities are cultural shaping wombs” and if that holds true, the belief system of a city will influence the belief system of a region. In my opinion this series will be extremely important to us because I believe that Miami has the power to influence not only the Caribbean and Latin American region but the future of the United States. Statistics show that America is becoming more and more Latin. That means that even if American cities do not turn out to be like Miami, a great portion of the culture will be a reflection of the Latin American belief system. It will reflect its energy and deity.
For this reason I’ve decided to kick off the series by going after Miami’s gods. That was Paul’s methodology whenever moving to a city to establish The Church. We see him doing that in Lystra (Acts 14), in Phillipi (Acts 16), in Athens (Acts 17) and, in Ephesus (Acts 19). He did it both in synagogues and in marketplaces.
I believe that we (the church) are called to do the same but, in order to be effective we need gospel sensibility, much like taking a pulse and gospel prescription, since a pulse reading is insufficient to take care of the problem itself.
If you show up at church tomorrow, I’ll explain to you how this works. If not, you’ll be able to download it from our website latter.
Here were some of the readings that influenced my preparation.
- Leslie Newbigin’s interview entitled the “Gospel in a Culture of False Gods“.
- David Clarkson’s sermon entitled “Soul Idolatry”
- Tim Keller’s “Counterfeit Gods” to be released latter this month.