Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sacred spaces and places

I was reading a chapter out of a book by James Jordan (the title of which I cannot remember off hand). The chapter was called "God's Hospitality and Holistic Evangelism". Jordan always has a good, healthy mixture of things that I think are absolutely insightful and right on the money and things that I think are absolutely goofy and unfounded. He is unlike most scholars in that regard: his errors (as I see them) aren't cushioned behind clever rhetoric meant to make you think one thing when he is saying another. He's obvious proud of all he writes and thinks, even if he changes his mind later (of which he freely admits).

One of the things he brings up in this chapter is about how it is easier to bring a "stranger" (an unbeliever) into your house for meal evangelism than it is to do door-to-door methods. He looks on it this way: your house (if you are a Christian) is sacred space belonging to the Lord God, since your house (everything you have) is dedicated to God. An unbeliever's house is dedicated, consciously or not, to some other god/idol/demon. The spiritual warfare is more intense when you don't have home-field advantage, but relatively easier when you are in a place consecrated by God's creative Spirit.

What about "neutral ground" though? Many people think of places like coffeeshoops, bars, shopping malls, etc. However, if we believe the gospel, there are no "neutral" spaces in the world. All spaces and places are the scenes of Spiritual conflict, where the people of God are to be pressing the crown rights of Jesus the Messiah. Every coffeeshop, mall, or whatever is dedicated, whether consciously or not, to some divinity, whether it is a "secular" deity such as positivistic rationalism or a "religious" deity such as modern pantheism. It gives me impetus to be praying for the visitors, outsiders, and strangers who visit my coffeeshop, that they may catch a glimpse of God's recreative activities through Jesus and his people.

Makes me want to reread Zechariah 14.

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