Philadelphia is a great city for a lot of reasons and not just because I live here. I should, however, be clear that I actually live in a suburb called Fort Washington. Founded as “the city of Brotherly Love”, it is some times called “the city of brotherly shove” by those of us who live here. So here are some of the reasons that I love Philly with all of it’s contradictions.
1. It is a place that people are from, not a place that people that people move to and then move one. People from Philly have often lived here for decades and have extended family nearby. It is not uncommon for people to host their family reunions in Philly because so many of the family still live here.
2. It is a city of neighborhoods and diverse ethnicities. Driving around Philly is like driving from one small country to the next with Polish next to Irish next to African American next to Italian. Immigrants are a part of the life blood of the city and change their place of origin with each successive wave coming from some new place.
3. What’s not to like about a place known for Cheese Steak, Pretzels and Water Ice.
4. Philadelphia has the most dedicated fans in all of sports period and now the current World Series Champs
5. Their are more than 5,000 churches to worship God in on any given Sunday with all types of formats from Pentacostal to Presbyterian.
6. Philadelphia has the largest park (Fairmont Park) contained within the city limits of any city in America, even bigger than Central Park in NYC.
7. Philly has the largest mural arts program in the country with hundreds of beautiful murals adorning the sides of buildings throughout the city.
8. You can see just about as much of the city as you want by taking a drive (or a really long walk) down Broad Street from Cheltenham Avenue to the stadium complex. It is well worth the time to see the “real’ Philly this way.
9. Our nation was born here – yeah it really was.
10. God is alive and well in Philly transforming hearts and lives on a daily basis. He is in the process of restoring wholeness where things have been broken. We may even be on the cusp of real racial reconciliation taking place as various ethnic groups come to embrace the richness of each others heritage.
I live, work and minister in a city that stole my heart as a child and still has it to this day. I still get goose bumps when I fly back into Philly and see the Skyline once again. It really is good to be from someplace and to know where you belong even if our journey on this earth is a short one.