“I’ll never forget the first time Paul Sparks gave me a tour of Zoe Livable Church. He showed me community gardens, coffee shops, a bakery, a holistic health center, nonprofit offices, an intentional community, murals galore, and an expansive library. He told me about Zoe members organizing farmer’s markets, block parties, and yarn-bombings. I was astonished by the hundreds of buildings, dozens of acres, and 6,000 residents within the purview of the church.

“Most impressive about the scene is that Zoe’s membership tallies about 25 in total.

“The campus, of course, is not a church campus at all. Nor is any of it “theirs.” It’s downtown Tacoma, a brick-laden, three-quarter-square-mile quiltwork of splendid theaters, postwar offices, colorful antique stores, and drab parking lots, all steeply sloping some 300 feet toward Commencement Bay.”

A Long Obedience