Sometimes, when people hear of my interest in the theology of city, they assume I mean cities are good and everything else is less good. But as I’ve tried to make clear, the point isn’t cities themselves but that cities are the result of cooperation with God. The opposite of a godly city is not a godly farm, but a godless city; a city left to ruin, a society turned into a cesspool. The thing that makes it perverse is not the “city” part but the “godless” part. The opposite of a godly garden is not a skatepark, but an overgrown thicket populated by rats.

The virtue lies in cooperation. The opposite of human cooperation can be both lack of cooperation and/or cooperation with an aberrant god. Some cities, rather than giving themselves to God, have given themselves over to a false or foreign deity, whether something ancient like Ashtoreth or Baal, or something contemporary like Relevance or Fame.

Our efforts to cooperate with God matter regardless of the form they take. You can work with God as a hairdresser or a garbage collector, cooperating to heal the world as a doula or a dentist. The specifics matter less than the intent, such that we all get to celebrate our work for God regardless of what that work might be

Adapted from the Garden-City Epistles, Page 125-126