There is an association between the layout and architecture of a town and the values of the people.
Have you ever thought about that statement before?
In the past I would have never guessed that there is a connection between the two. When we normally try to get to know a community we pull out demographic or census reports and figure we know enough. But there’s a vast amount that we can learn from what the town looks like and from walking around.
In theology, this often is referred to as a theology of the “built environment.” Timothy Gorringe in his book, Theology of the Built Environment, says that the built environment “reflects conscious decisions which in turn reflect ideologies and class positions.” In other words, what things look like are a reflection of the values of the people who built them.
He even suggests that one can learn more from the style of buildings in a town than one can from the “smoothed out texts” that describe what the town is actually like. A building or how a community is laid out, then, becomes an open book to better understand what the people are like.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever seen a vibrant, healthy, growing church that is led by a dictator, who is full of himself?
The reality is that leaders that consider themselves irreplaceable stunt the growth of the church. The reason why it’s important that we stay away from an anthropocentric style of “doing church” is because it results in the following negative results.
1. Blocks God’s blessings from God’s people.
One of the fastest ways of stopping your church momentum and failing to receive all God has intended to give, is to believe your own press clippings. When we take credit that belongs to God, even if it is disguised in pious statements, will result in grave consequences. God will not share his glory with us.
What does it look like to be a missionary in the western world? That’s the question I’ve had for a long time. I’ve read a lot of books on the subject, but to be honest, it’s sometimes difficult to understand what it looks like.
Until I read this book.
This book tells the story of Gregory Boyle whom assumes the leadership of a church in the most gang-infested corner of Los Angeles. He says:
If Los Angeles was the gang capital of the world, our little postage-stamp-size area on the map was the gang capital of LA.