The posting below was on the blog SoulGardeners. I have thought along these lines many times, especially when I see or hear about churches trying to move out from a neighborhood that has become “run-down”. Living here in an area that has the extremes of multi-million dollar houses and immigrant apartments within miles of each other, I wonder where Jesus might dwell, as both classes are spiritually needy. Currently, we are looking for more permanent housing for the year. We have been touring our options and crunching the budget. We also are praying that we would choose a place in which Jesus just might want to show up in a new way in our lives and use us to show Him up in the lives of others in that particular community. Your location and the sub-culture within it has a way of forming you over time and even your image of God and your understanding of how He operates. In all of our moves and travels I have noticed that one becomes more and more like the attitudes, expectations, expressions and even climate of where one lives. There is great gravity in location. In this truth, let us stay alert and never be so comfortable and molded that we keep Him and ourselves, caged.
“I wonder what would happen to our Christology if we form it in the desolate and dangerous places. It’s a pity that most of our middle-class theology happens in the safe confines of suburbia. It would be naive to think that our coffee shops, malls and technology have no effect on how we see Jesus. The invitation of Matthew 16.13-20 is to answer the ‘who is Jesus?’ question in different locations. Christ took his followers to the pagan city rebuilt by Philip (Herod’s son) – a place notorious for its Baal worship, veneration of the Emperor and for the cave of Pan (a place thought to be the gate(s) of Hades.
One of my friends have a wonderful habit. Whenever he speaks in a city for the first time he asks the hosts to take him to the most desolate place in town. Then he immerses himself in the people and the place. Soaked with this, he then proceeds to talk about Jesus. So I wonder where these placed would be for me and for you? For us it has become the squatter camps on the edge of Johannesburg and the dangers of suburbia.”
Where is it for you?