As a public relations professional whose clients come largely from within an evangelical Christian subculture, I have a vested interest in the public reputation of Christians. Every day, Google delivers “alerts” to my inbox customized to keep me apprised of how Christians are represented in the media. As this is an election year, most of the alerts deal with which presidential hopeful is doing the best job of swaying “the evangelical vote.” But I also get a lot of alerts dealing with conflict — most recently over homosexuality, reproductive rights, Israel and Northern Nigeria.
However, my interest in the way Christians are perceived by the general public goes far beyond my profession. You see, I am a Christian, but my faith is defined by so much more than arguments over the definition of marriage or the best way to respond to an unintended pregnancy. The essence of my faith boils down to this: loving God with all my heart and loving my neighbor as myself. As I study the Bible and listen to thoughtful, humble teaching by women and men who have gone before me, I am moved to love and serve my neighbors, Christian or not. And I know I’m not alone. Many Christians throughout this country are devoted to contributing to the common good. Yet that does not seem to be what most people — especially those who do not identify themselves as Christians — associate with Christianity.
For this reason, I am delighted to be part of a small team of people who are producing a project called “This Is Our City.” With the support of Christianity Today — the definitive voice offering the most complete coverage of the evangelical church in the world — behind us, This Is Our City is telling stories of Christians who are contributing to flourishing wherever they live. Rather than focusing on arguments, finger-pointing and political gain, we endeavor to fill daily news feeds with the other stories of Christians in public life: celebrating a generation of Christians who believe God calls them to seek shalom in their cities. (Continue reading…)