Human Flourishing in Cities with Guest Eric Swanson

What does a renewed city look like?

When God has the chance to build a city from scratch—the new Jerusalem (Isaiah 65:17-25) what kind of city does he build? What is his blueprint? What kind of city promotes the well-being of all people? What is God’s view of human flourishing? The city is a place of:

  • Forward looking people (v. 17)
  • Gladness, delight, joy and well-being (vv. 18-19)
  • Physical health and longevity (v. 20)
  • Housing and food security (v. 21)
  • Meaningful, enjoyable and rewarding work (v. 22)
  • Upward generational mobility (v.23)
  • Strong, intergenerational family structure (v. 23)
  • Child welfare (v. 23)
  • Spiritual community (v.24)
  • Reconciliation (v.25)
  • Absence of violence and peace (v. 25)

What if Isaiah 65 served as the metrics and outcomes in Evansville or your city? In Evansville, we as a city movement are focusing on five of the ones that we think are most important for 2020. We imagine the other ones will follow.

  • Housing
  • Child welfare
  • Racial unity
  • Mental wellness
  • Economic capacity
  • What can the church of Evansville do?

In 2016 Harvard University founded their Human Flourishing Program to discover and promote the factors that lead to human flourishing. Led by Dr. Tyler VanderWeele, they discovered human flourishing consists of six characteristics:

  • Happiness and life satisfaction
  • Physical and mental health
  • Meaning and purpose
  • Character and virtue
  • Close social relationships
  • Financial and material stability
  • They look a bit like Isaiah 65, don’t they?

VanderWeele defines flourishing as “A state in which all aspects of a person’s life are good.” He and his colleagues discovered the “prominent pathways to human flourishing” are:

  • Family
  • Work
  • Education
  • Religious Community

VanderWeele notes that “if efforts to support, improve, and promote participation in these pathways, the consequences for human flourishing would be substantial.”

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