William Stringfellow on the City
In this culture it is literally impossible to flee from the city’s dominance..–as all those White suburbanites have discovered–and, in my belief, the city is the central theological symbol of society. This is not only the contemporary reality in America, it is the biblical insight as well. Biblically, the city is the scene of both doomsday and salvation. There is Babylon, but there is also Jerusalem. The city is the epitome of the Fall, yet the city is the sign of the Eschaton. These connotations of death and life associated with the city empirically and theologically mean that the city cannot be escaped and that the city must not be rejected by human beings, as it seems to be by the utopian hippies and their commune movement, for example, and least of all can it be repudiated by professed Christians. (Billy Graham, if he were more attentive to the Bible, might realise this and cease his facile preaching against the city as a realm of sin and give up his proclamation of a pastoral image of salvation generally identified with the hinterland of the American South or Midwest).