The Limits and Benefits of Place
Congratulations on your new home! I had to laugh when I read how you searched for the right light switch. I remembered that same challenge when we moved to our home nearly ten years ago. Your thoughts about space and place and the “scandal of particularity” were so interesting because I have been thinking of the word particularity ever since I listened to an interview on The Habit with Kelly Kapic. All you say here does have universal appeal because of particularity.
I often think about how much I am influenced in my response to life in general because of the particularity of where I was born and when. I view all of life with a western mindset whether I wish to or not, and I am also a product of the times in which I was born. We are shaped by the culture in which we are born and in which we live. The danger comes when we view the Christian message through our “culture informed” eyes. I became so aware of this when I visited the Holy Land in 2019. I suddenly was shocked to see just how small the Sea of Galilee was. In fact, all of the places where Jesus walked were so small, yet the events that happened there changed all of history. I always had my theology right on the Jesus being God/Man, but I never fully connected to him as man, a human, until I was able to visit his home territory.
Hooray!! 🎉 🎉🎉 Happy new home, and “place-making”” - and thank you for welcoming us into this new chapter of your life with these beautiful reflections. (LOVE the pic!!) 🏡💕
What wonderful questions you ask at the end of this, Charity. Place affects us.
I grew up in a not-at-all-fancy neighborhood. We knew our neighbors, and if I got ornery on my childhood adventures between the road and the alley, all the adults were certainly allowed to tell me what to do. It has had an impact.
I tend to get a little uncomfortable in fancy neighborhoods (even as I'm envious of the swimming pools). I'm comfortable in neighborhoods that, while not necessarily rundown, have the character that comes with not being high-class or governed by strict covenants (though I would wholeheartedly support a covenant for pet-owners to walk their dogs regularly and pick up the messes they leave).
I wonder: If I had grown up in a rich neighborhood, would that be the kind of environment I would have always wanted to stay in?
Where I grew up stays with me all the time (even as I realize I'm a bit stuck up about it). :)