Is it REALLY a beautiful day in the neighborhood?

Post contributed by Kyle Reese, Pastor


I am fascinated by the work of theologian David Leong. Leong is doing insightful work regarding the intersection of theology and the way we live together in our neighborhoods and cities. He poses an interesting question as he thinks about our travels outside of our own neighborhood: “Where is the place closest to you that you feel you don’t belong?” Leong does not leave the question unanswered. Rather, he encourages those with the willingness to reach outside their own neighborhood and comfort zone to explore why they feel uncomfortable. 

Is it the people? Change in the socioeconomic demographic? Simply outside of one’s normal path and travels? It occurs to me that Leong’s question serves us well as we examine all of the “neighborhoods” we inhabit. How far outside of your religious “neighborhood” do you have to travel in order to feel discomfort? How far outside your political “neighborhood” do you have to explore before you feel as though you don’t belong? Finally, Leong encourages those with the willingness to explore outside the boundaries of their particular neighborhoods. For the courageous, community can be formed in new and creative ways. For the willing, unexpected gifts and people can be discovered and appreciated. It’s difficult to move outside the “neighborhoods” we inhabit. Despite the difficulty, we must explore because surely wherever we go, there God is.