Helping the Church
/ eksiˈjēsis / noun
critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture.
Our city as a text.
“Exegesis” comes from the theological world, referring to the task of engaging scripture on its own terms, within its own historical and cultural context, to discern meaning and interpretation for today. Thinking metaphorically of the city as a text, we can apply the same kind of active respect and curiosity to the place we live. Not unlike a marriage or friendship, such an endeavor reflects devotion to the relationship, and a desire to understand one’s place in the larger story. Therefore, exegeting the urban context is a way a local congregation takes seriously her gospel presence in one's neighborhood and city. Reading San Francisco as a text is what sfexegesis.com is all about.
What San Francisco neighborhoods have you ʻread’ lately?
Explore the past...
To understand a city is to delve into its history. How did it all begin? What were the critical events that led to her birth? What clues can we find from San Francisco’s past that explain her charm and complexity today?
Google over a hundred books written about San Francisco history.
Join and learn from others who regularly indulge San Francisco history.
When was the last time you took a leisurely walk in San Francisco? Have you taken time to meet and learn from someone who's lived in the 'hood for a long time? What vistas have you heard about, but never taken in yourself?
Take a self-guided tour, or learn with others through experienced docents.
Visit galleries and organizations that offer instruction and camera outings.
How is the global economy changing the face of San Francisco? What are the city's contested grounds, and how are the battle lines being drawn? Who will be the "winners" and "losers?" Why does it matter?
Read what the politicians, newspapers and local bloggers are saying.
Use census tools and existing research to track neighborhood and city trends.
What does it mean to be the Church in the city?
The genesis of this project resides in the work of Grace Urban Ministries, a nonprofit organization that served in San Francisco's Mission District from 1996 to 2014 as a partner to Grace Fellowship Community Church. Originally known as The GRIDD, its online presence existed to serve, and foster collaboration among, congregational partners, including Redeemer Community Church, San Francisco Christian Center, Church of the Sojourners, Mission Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and others. While we were very different congregations one from the other, we shared a common passion to take seriously our sense of "place" and what it means to be the Church in our particular urban contexts, whether that of neighborhood or the city at-large. Therefore, The GRIDD sought to provide tools to learn the city together, and to foster dialogue about church and mission, both theologically and bodily. Much of this partnership and passion continues to this day.
Beyond one particular ecclesial community, however, it is our hope that this evolving resource can be of service to all San Francisco congregations and, in fact, anyone who wants to learn...and learn to love...our amazingly complex and ever-changing city. Thank you for taking time to get acquainted with SFEXEGESIS.COM !
- Craig Wong, Editor