Cities vibrate, shine, resonate. They are vibrant, tourist brochures tell us – lively, that is, interesting for those who seek for good food, nightlife, and entertainment. But much more than that, public life is vibrating. What do these vibrations mean? What kind of vibrations are we feeling? Which ones are we systematically closing our senses to? Cities are both precious and precarious. They represent the precious: creativity, mobility, sound, colour, construction, organization, interaction. But they also feature the precarious: poverty, traffic jams, noise, smog, destruction, chaos, exclusion. A diversity of publics, of interests, of beliefs, of needs, of longings and belongings emerge from the cities. Thus, by amplifying our understanding on publics and theologies, by appreciating the preciousness and discovering the precariousness, by realizing that there is preciousness in what is considered precarious, and that there is precarity in what is regarded as precious, we believe that there may be a more complete analysis of cities’ ambiguities and the critical and constructive role public theology can play in this context.
These are some of the issues the upcoming GNPT Consultation intends to address. Alongside panels and lectures, our Working Groups will help us think through current challenges and possibilities for public theologies in vibrating cities.