The theology of place

I have held to what I call a “theology of place.” I minister in a physical place. I don’t minister in theory. I try to minister in reality. That has to do with where I am. 

“Everything Jesus said and did was done in a place, just as everything we do is done in a place. All living is local: this land, this neighborhood, these trees and streets and houses, this workplace, these people. One of the seductions that interfere with mature Christian living in the construction of utopias, ideal places where we can live the good life totally without inconvenience. The imagining and then attempted construction of such utopias is an old habit of our kind. But it always turns out that we can’t actually do it. Utopia is literally ‘no place.’ We can only live our lives in an actual place, not in an imagined or fantasized place. ” — Eugene Peters, As Kingfishers Catch Fire 

This is what I have embraced the past 20 years. I love the place where I minister. It’s not anywhere else. I can wish for longer days in the bitter winters, but I still love this place. I love the city where I live. I thrive on the people who are around me. When I minister, I want to pastor the place. I don’t pastor where I wish to be. I love where I am… and go from there.

Embrace the theology of place. Dear pastors, love where you are! Love the people God has given you! Quit looking for the next thing, which you think might be better. Embrace where you are until God says it’s time to move to the next place. But love where God has you in this time.

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