We know why God loves cities: They are places where millions of people created in His image congregate, and what could be more beautiful than that? We also know why God hated Sodom and hates the sin found everywhere but clustered more in cities: They are often places where we worship the idols we create rather than the God who created us.
The stories that follow are all based in a love for cities: Savannah, planted in a way that still bears fruit; New Orleans, drenched in unique habits; Detroit, where amid the ruin of man's plans Christians still push up boldly like flowers through sidewalk cracks; Brooklyn, trying to redevelop prime spaces without falling into edifice complexes; and devastated Port-au-Prince, which at least has the opportunity to start anew.
Sixteen centuries ago Augustine, in his book De Civitate Dei, laid out the conflict between The City of God and The City of Man. The battle remains most intense in cities. Because they are strategic centers, usually determining the cultural direction of entire countries, forces of darkness push hard there. Happily, Christians are now pushing back across America and throughout the world. The battle is both enthralling and exhausting, and WORLD will continue to cover it.
• Savannah, Georgia: How an Old World planner created one of the country's most enduring cities > full story
• New Orleans, Louisiana: New Orleans is anything but a nonplace > full story
• Detroit, Michigan: The Motor City is facing hard times, but there's more to Detroit than decay > full story
• Brooklyn, New York: Post-Kelo laws haven't stopped the use of eminent domain by developers > full story
• Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Port-au-Prince is a city desperately seeking turnaround-and that's before the earthquake > full story