…isn’t advice — do this and be saved — but good news about what someone else has done on our behalf. The gospel is the complete reversal of what other worldviews tell you. It says that we are fundamentally bad and that we cannot make ourselves right before God; so, we need the goodness of someone else to save us. An urban-focused ministry will make the gospel central to everything it teaches and does. Only the gospel can bring much joy to a city because it’s not just good advice about how to improve your life but good news about a brand new life in Christ.
“Reading what you want, and having one book lead to the next, is the way I found my discipline. I’ve suggested this to many of my students: When you find a writer who really is saying something to you, read everything that writer has written and you will get more education and depth of understanding out of that than reading a scrap here and a scrap there and elsewhere. Then go to people who influenced that writer, or those who were related to him, and your world builds together in an organic way that is really marvelous. Whereas the way these things are taught normally in college and school is a sampler of what this one wrote and that one wrote and you’re asked to be more interested in the date of the publication of Keat’s sonnets than in what’s in them.”