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03.09.2011 / D.O.

Knowing and Loving the City

There is something incredibly appealing to me about people who love their cities; and more broadly, the idea of loving a city at all. Not in a haughty sense — the way people from Houston get when speaking with people from Dallas — but in a genuine, “I know and love my city” sense.

Every time my friends in New York City tweet about their rooftop parties or life in Brooklyn, or when I hear Ryan Adams reference his old apartment on Avenue A or pausing on 5th Ave to look at east and west Central Park — not to mention listening to the greatness that is Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” — it adds a layer to the romanticism I’ve placed on The City for years.

I love nearly all expressions of love for one’s city: Eminem’s representing Detroit in a Chrysler commercial during the Super Bowl; when Sleeping at Last changes the Silver Bells line “it’s Christmas time in the city” to “it’s Christmas time in Chicago” on their Christmas EP; when my friend Brian calls me from Dallas while I’m visiting his hometown Portland to offer countless options of things to do/see/eat in town. I love all of it.

Knowing and loving a city is a beautiful thing, and if my limited experience is any indication, it isn’t something that just happens upon arrival.

For example, nobody shows up to Dallas knowing that people are referring to 635 when they say “LBJ”, and they certainly don’t know to avoid that highway like the plague if it is even remotely close to rush hour. And while I’m sure a handful of people arrive in Dallas and immediately love it, my story looked nothing like that — nor did the stories of a lot of my Dallas friends.

I lived in Dallas for nearly three years before I could even say I liked it. But when that happened (by a ton of grace), it wasn’t long before I would proudly — and much to the dismay of most my friends — claim that I loved that city. And in the process of falling out of hate and into love with Dallas, I grew to know it. I knew the best coffee shops, who had the best burger, the best pizza, and how to best maneuver the not-bike-friendly city on a bike. This knowledge of the city helped my forward progress on the hate-love continuum.

Now, as we gear up to make one last visit to each of our potential planting cities next week (Missoula, MT; Spokane, WA; Bellingham, WA), and in a few months to move to the city to which the Lord leads us, I can’t help but long for the day when I feel as strongly about it as Ryan Adams and Jay-Z do about NYC, as Brian feels about Portland, and as I grew to feel about Dallas.

I realize it may take time. It will be a process, but I pray the Lord expedites the process as much as is possible.


  • For discernment in hearing the Lord’s voice as we travel to these cities next week
  • For safety as we travel (lots of driving in a short period of time)
  • That the Lord would pour out his heart for our team, and that we’d walk in it.

One Comment

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  1. Dad / Mar 9 2011 8:03 pm

    Is this the same young man that couldn’t wait to get out of Texas because there was nothing he liked here? Does my heart good to know that you are homesick. Our prayers are with you and the team. Be still, He will answer!

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