Archives For Rodlie Ortiz
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.
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.
The first Christians consistently described themselves as citizens of an altera civitas, another city, with a population garnered from every tribe and language, people and nation…There was from the beginning one major difference between the pilgrim city of Christ and all others. This parallel polis, unlike every other city, had no walls, for it had no territory to defend. Its assembly (ekklesia) of citizens was not gathered together in one place, but was dispersed throughout the empire and beyond.