Saturday, April 15, 2006

Founded in Christ and the Church as a Steward in a Certain Place

A friend of mine once described people in our culture as “Modern Nomads.” His comment of 6 years ago has only gained accuracy. More and more, it has become the norm to shake and move and jump from place to place, job to job, and relationship to relationship. I don’t know what drives us more—fear or lust? Fear that someone will really know who we are beneath the masks we wear or lust for the next new and better thing? Either way, I believe we are missing something fundamental to the human experience designed by our King.

What is His design? Well, I think it is clear that humans are relational beings, that we have both the capacity and the desire to know and be known by others. I believe that there are ways of life that are conducive to this and that there are ways of life that prevent the depth of relationship that we so desire. One of the most significant hinges that this door of relationship hangs upon is that of place, locale. If there is no consistency in place, then how can we expect to have consistency in relationship? And, if we have no consistency in relationship, than how can we expect to be known and to know others? So, basic reason would have it that to be located in a certain place, to live in a certain area, among certain people gives way to a closer resemblance of what our Creator had in mind when He designed us as relational beings.

What would it look like if Christians chose to be rooted in a certain place? What would it look like to commit yourself to the betterment of a certain city, a certain neighborhood? What would it look like if over time people were involved in service in one public square, one marketplace, one school system, one church, one agricultural community, one soccer league? I think it would be revolutionary, especially in today’s world. It would mean depth and fullness. It would be a not so casual way to remind people of who our God has created us to be, and I think that it would force people to reckon with the transient life-style that has become standard. It would provide form to our lives founded in Christ as Stewards, and ultimately meaning.

Perhaps I am too “conservative” in my understanding of the Creational order, and human design. Perhaps this idea of locating oneself in a specific community over time is limiting and, dare I say, boring. I disagree. I think it is good and healthy. I think it is radical and revolutionary. And, ultimately, I think it resembles more closely the Eden we’ve come from and the New Jerusalem toward which we travel.

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