Got the latest Covenant Theological Seminary magazine in the mail today. There was an interesting Alumni Profile called "When Grace Comes to Town". It's about a pastor in Washington D.C. I really appreciated two paragraphs in the article.
"Glenn prefers emphasizing place instead of city because sometimes the call to love the city is wrongly elevated as a more righteous thing than to love a small town. "Cities pump me up, " Glenn explains. "They are strategic and important, but Jesus used a bunch of fisherman from a small town. He was from a small town. Anytime we try to pin God down with our view of strategic, He tends to blow away our expectations.
"I think the deeper issue is taking space and place more seriously. We are all prone to make our own idols. For city pastors, it can be idolatry of city ministry. As believers, we need to step back any time we start finding a form of righteousness in anything other than Christ. And we need to develop a more consistent view of place. The late Francis Schaeffer, a theologian and pastor, talked about no little people and no little places--and that's the greater value that people need to learn."
On a related note Eugune Peterson says in his book The Jesus Way, "what I want to insist upon in this is that Jesus did not work out his way of life in the intensely personal and God-oriented small towns of Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida simply because he didn't know any better, because that was the only world he knew. No, he chose them. He had equal access to Sepphoris and Tiberias and, over the coast, Caesarea, where the Herod way set the tone for how the people intended to live." page 206
And this small town boy (populations 3,000 growing up) said "Amen" and another "Amen" just in case the first one came out like a whisper.
Speaking of speaking up. I saw a bumper sticker a month or so ago that really helped me (that's saying a lot for a bumper sticker). Somewhere in the last few years I gained a fear of public speaking. I never was real comfortable with it, but the fear and nervousness grew. Anyway, the bumper sticker said "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes". I have no idea what the background of the saying is, but it was encouraging to me.