Berkeley of the Midwest.
Babylon on the Kaw.
Blue dot in an overwhelmingly "red" state.
A haven for latte-sipping, Birkenstock-wearing, Democrat-voting, gay-loving, pot-smoking, hybrid-car-driving, tree-hugging, pagan-worshipping LIBERALS.
That's the image many Kansans have of Lawrence, Kansas University - heck, all of Douglas County.
In other words, the perfect place for the Rev. Bill Hurlbutt, a conservative, evangelical pastor, to preach the Gospel.
"It means I'm living in the right part of the state," says Hurlbutt, laughing, "because it's the greatest opportunity to share my views and my values and to share my beliefs about the word of God."
In fact, Hurlbutt - senior pastor of Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive - says Lawrence is the best place he's done ministry.
"This is my third church. I was in southern Pennsylvania, right in the middle of the Bible Belt. I was in West Virginia, and then here," he says. "If you want to preach to the choir, come to southern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. They're great, but this is the place where your message can really have an impact."
Hurlbutt isn't alone in this view.
Many of his colleagues - theologically conservative, Bible-believing pastors - see liberal Lawrence and its supposedly "anything goes" inhabitants as an opportunity, not an obstacle, to serving as a shepherd and spreading the word of Jesus Christ.
"I don't like opposition - there's no doubt about that," says the Rev. Scott Hanks, pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, 1781 E. 800 Road. "But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else because I know this is where the Lord wants us."
A handful of Lawrence's prominent, conservative Christian leaders seem to agree that the city has earned its reputation as a bastion of liberality in a state that leans heavily to the right.
And while they might personally lament that situation, they don't let it interfere with their ministry.
"Lawrence is a city filled with wonderful people who are very caring and really are giving and want to help those in need. But it's also liberal in other areas that Jesus was conservative in," says the Rev. Paul Gray, senior pastor of Heartland Community Church, 619 Vt.
"So for me, being in a town full of very caring, giving people, that's a wide open door to talk to them about God. While people would label Lawrence as liberal, I certainly don't think it is anti-God or anti-spiritual."
The Rev. Leo Barbee Jr. has been a pastor in Lawrence for nearly 30 years, and he thinks the city deserves its label as a liberal enclave in conservative territory.
"I'm not surprised, but saddened that we're the only county in the state that voted against the marriage amendment (banning gay unions in Kansas), and I think that's a sad commentary on us," says Barbee, pastor of Victory Bible Church, 1942 Mass.
He has been an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, and, at times, a lightning rod for criticism on controversial issues in the community.
"I'm not saying I'm preaching AGAINST something, I think I'm preaching FOR right and righteousness, and of course, when you say 'this is where I stand' you become a target as far as your beliefs are concerned," Barbee says.
"But I'm thankful to be here. I really am. It's a tremendous opportunity."
Place of opportunity
Lawrence isn't the easiest environment in which to preach a back-to-the-basics gospel message - the wider culture doesn't seem much interested.
But conservative pastors here shrug their shoulders and say it comes with the territory.
"When Jesus was on Earth, he had opposition. And as long as you stand for right, you're going to have opposition no matter where you are. So Lawrence is no different than any other place," says the Rev. William Dulin, pastor of Calvary Church of God in Christ, 646 Ala.
It can be frustrating, trying to reach those who may not want to listen.
"I'm not going to say I enjoy it, but it's just part of the ministry you have to deal with. It'd be lovely if everyone would turn and do the principles of what Jesus taught, but they're not going to do that," Dulin says.
Hanks, of Heritage Baptist Church, agrees.
"I think the opposition might be greater here, but the challenge is still everywhere. In every community, you're going to have people who do not want to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ," he says.
But Hanks, a harsh critic of homosexuality, sees only opportunity.
"Well, I look at it this way: The darker the night, the brighter the light. And the darker the community, the church that takes a stand for right will be brighter and will stand out from the rest," he says.
So is Lawrence - hotbed of liberalism - a decent place for a conservative pastor to preach?
"Well, ain't nobody shot me yet," Dulin says, laughing.