Minhee and I moved to Seattle in 1997. We are entering our 12th year in Seattle but it was only about 8 years ago when I really began to grow in love with the city of Seattle. I was kayaking in Lake Union when I just gushed over the beauty over the city. And I just started praying for the city and the hope – someday – of being able to plant a church in the city. God honored that prayer and on occasion, I’ll trek over to Kerry Park [few mins from Quest] and lift occasional prayers for the city and people of this city.
It isn’t a perfect city by any means: I wish there was more diversity; city remains ethnically divided; the road systems are wacky; a subway system would be nice; our sports teams are dreadfully cursed, we need more sun, etc. But there are also some amazing things about this city: the topography is absolutely breathtaking; the local music scene is alive and well; everything is green and wet; the city is a creative force and is the hub of numerous companies, etc.
How about you? Where do you live and what do you like or dislike about your city or town?
One of the regular chats I give when I’ve had the privilege of speaking at conferences or churches has been the importance of knowing, loving, and engaging your city. In short, it’s easy for churches and christians to live in our insular christian sub-culture. The biggest culprits might be pastors in propagating that insularity. Rather than engaging our city and culture, we often hide behind our buildings, church, and desks.
At conferences and churches I speak at, people assumedly ask,
Where do you pastor?
It’s not my attempt to sound pretentious but I often respond with these words,
I pastor the city of Seattle.
My local parish is Quest Church but I’m called to pastor the larger city of Seattle. And as such, I spend a great amount of time learning as much about this city, its neighborhoods, issues, culture, expressions, arts, and leaders – all in hopes of engaging this city as a follower of Christ.
There are more beautiful cities in the world. San Francisco and Vancouver, BC happen to some of my other favorite cities. But Seattle is my home. This is our city. And this is the place where God has called us – in the here and now – to be light and salt. To love God and to love neighbor.
If you’ve never visited Seattle, check out this video to give you a glimpse of the ‘Emerald City.’ And if you are from Seattle, don’t forget your raincoats this week…the rain comes back tomorrow.