Waiting in line

August 22, 2012

When we moved down to southern Illinois I looked up how many Starbucks existed and how far I would be living from each. I discovered that in all of southern Illinois there were no “real” Starbucks.

While some would consider this a silly thing to get wrapped up in I find it to be an indication of the culture that we were about to enter.

In reality there is no third place that people congregate to find community, because there family is their third place. While this can look like a positive thing it really creates a divided community.

The reason I believe it creates a divided community is because the family life is a very closed system. If you are not related by blood than you are not really welcome into the community.

The challenge becomes how do you infiltrate that third place to incorporate ideas like; teaching teens how to use birth control/abstinence, teaching how to stop being racist, how to explain faith within an ongoing story, or how to interact with those dreaded homosexuals.

When the third place is the family, the thinking that has been passed on for generations, becomes truth.

Which is why one of our elders used the term queers in Sunday School, and why one of our other elders uses racist terms. While I could easily criticize them for their sin, I recognize that this thinking is passed to them as truth rather than as a generational perspective.

As I wait in line I am wondering how to help this very relational culture open their arms to people who don’t think, look, smell, or act like them. My only conclusion is that we must make the church that third place for all people, so that there is a safety net for all people, not just for the people who give the most, or who’s family has been there the longest.

This third place has to be transcendent to the cultural families, but be immanent amongst the culture. I guess that’s what the Holy Spirit is for?

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