By Tanwin Tanoto

Continuing the momentum from Collective last November, this month I’m reviewing a book by keynote speaker Karina Kreminski. 

Urban Spirituality – Embodying God’s Mission in the Neighbourhood is a contemporary expression of Jeremiah 29:7 to seek the welfare of the city that we are in. In an age of shallow quick-fixes and spectacularly driven church programs, this book gives a real sense of mission for churches in the city.

Kreminski focuses on the city because she argues that “the urban story shapes other stories in our broader society” and “urban culture has impacted suburban spaces”.

In other words, suburban culture is being formed and shaped by the culture of its cities. After living in Sydney CBD for five years and the inner suburbs for the past 15 years, I found this observation to be true. We cannot diminish the importance of urban living even though we are living in the suburbs.

Kreminski does not give us methodology or how-to guides. Instead she emphasises formation. She firmly believes that “spiritual formation is something that we need to pay attention to today”.

Therefore, the book focuses on three main areas: (1) Community: How to form a community by embracing the trinitarian theology. (2) Place-Making: How Christ’s incarnation gives us a template on how to be present in our community. (3) Discernment: How the Spirit of God leads us as we navigate our communities in our daily lives.

By expanding these ideas from theological grounds, I find this book to be thought-provoking. So instead of rushing to copy the how-to guides, Kreminski forces us to stop, think, and plan how to apply these thoughts in our own context.

Doing mission in 21st-century, highly diverse city like Sydney is not easy. However, Kreminski provides us with a framework on how we can still be an impact in our community.

The fact that she lives in Surry Hills, I find her insights to this unique city of Sydney and its and suburbs to be relevant and personal. Whether you minister in the city or the suburbs, I find this book to be helpful in shaping our thoughts on what urban spirituality looks like and how we can embody God’s mission in our neighbourhood.

Read another of Tanwin’s reviews HERE.