It’s New Humanity Month among the Circle of Hope community in Philadelphia. This is a time when the community takes a hard look at their vision for being a church that is as diverse as the kingdom of God. During the month of January every year (coinciding with MLK, Jr. Day) they talk about this aspect of the dream for God’s kingdom in their Public Meetings and cell groups, but more importantly they work at it throughout the month too in a variety of ways. Some of it happens, I’m sure, through the efforts of Circle Thrift, the non-profit community thrift store they started a few years back. Of course, much of this work happens no doubt simply by being who they are- a community that believes that justice, not to mention the gospel- is something you do. Multi-cultural worship, for example, has long been valued and there is an intentional effort to sing songs in Spanish, for example, even with few, if any, Spanish speakers around- yet. Also, because they’re determined to love and serve where the people are and where the need for God’s kingdom to come is so, so very great, they’re intentional about planting themselves in the city. They live there, work there, and worship there- where the "action" is. Of course, choosing to be in the city means choosing not to be in vanilla suburbia; so they don’t have to go looking for diversity because it’s all around them. They just have to be ready to meet it, embrace it, and embody the gospel in light of it.
Anyway, obviously I find myself missing all of the above these days and lamenting the racist (intentional or no), backwards-thinking, culturally regressive white ghetto that I now find myself living in. Perhaps I’m putting it a bit strongly, but that’s what I’m feeling these days. I can’t help but wonder, too- where have all the Christians gone? Where are my fellow refugees from consumer christianity, my fellow escapees from cultural christendom? Where are those, who-like me- yearn to be free of the chains of unmitigated consumer capitalism? Where are those who loathe the atomizing individualism of our culture? (If you haven’t seen The Breakfast Club or read Amusing Ourselves to Death, this next question probably won’t make sense-) If John Bender can be said to be a Jesus-figure, where are those who will stand up with him and risk what seems like anarchy if it means railing against a system that has dominated/amused us nearly to death? Where, indeed?