For several years now, I have been describing the work of local church communities in their particular places as catalyzing local culture. However, I could only provide some barebones images and stories of what that might look like.
This week, however, I discovered the new book Making Healthy Places from Island Press and edited by Andrew Danneberg, Howard Frumkin and Richard Jackson. The authors whose work is offered in this volume call us to a vision of healthy community not unlike what the Old Testament prophets called shalom. They likewise are deeply aware of the complexities — legal, institutional, economic and those of the built environment — that impede the progress of such health and well-being. I have pasted an excerpt from this book below.
Making Healthy Places got me thinking, however, what if churches would immerse themselves wholly and sacrificially in this quest for the health and well-being of their places — utilizing the gifts and skills God has provided among their members and neighbors? Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Architects, Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Ecologists, Farmers, Historians, Community Organizers, and so on, there is a role for everyone in this mission. What if we raised our children in a way that they were formed and prepared to commit themselves to carrying on this work? I think this is the sort of work that we at Englewood Christian Church are beginning to explore. We’re only in the very early stages and we’re moving slowly, but we have had a taste of this work and have found that when we seek God’s shalom in these ways alongside our neighbors, God begins to transform our neighborhood in radical ways.
Browse the book below and let me know what you think. Is the sort of healing work that the authors describe in line with the Mission of God? Are you or have you been part of a church community that is exploring a life together oriented in this direction?