Taking the (Inner) City for God

Omri Elisha

in Moral Ambition

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267503
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950542 | DOI:
Taking the (Inner) City for God

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  • Anthropology of Religion


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The chapter explores the religious and cultural significance of the inner city for white suburban and socially engaged evangelicals, linking it to coterminous evangelical concerns regarding the status of “the city” as an outpost of the Kingdom of God on Earth, and the importance (and difficulty) of achieving racial reconciliation, social harmony, and urban community development as markers of the kingdom. It begins with a discussion of the essential yet polysemic concept of the Kingdom of God, and the ways that evangelicals imagine its social implications while trying to work with and around its ambiguous temporal connotations. Furthermore, it discusses the sense of exilic consciousness expressed among suburban evangelicals in relation to the city, that is, their complicated sense of being exiles from the urban center, with its moral and social dysfunction, and how this informs their belief that they are all the more spiritually obliged, and qualified, to advance the welfare of the inner city.

Keywords: city; social harmony; suburban evangelicals; social dysfunction; Kingdom of God; inner city

Chapter.  12527 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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