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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Locatedness: A vow?


Each year 14% of the population moves (almost 20 million in 2007). A generous understanding of that statistic suggests that a whole neighborhood turns over every 7 years. Our cities and neighborhoods are constantly recycling residents.

There is a faith-community in San Francisco that has actually made a written vow to their city. I was told that the founders of REIMAGINE made a 15 year vow to their neighborhood. A vow to their locatedness. A vow to the restaurants, the coffee shop, the dry cleaner...you get the picture. They refuse to be a part of the resident recycling.

I am not sure that I am ready to make a commitment like that. But isn't that the point? Isn't a vow more of a discipline than a well-calculated decision? Right, married men?!

I kid, I kid.

But not really. Marriage is a great example. I do not know who Taryn will be 25 years from now. I am not certain that her hair will still be as curly or that her ears so cute and tiny. But I have committed. I have made a vow to her. Forever.

So what does this look like when considering our place-ology? Who are you making the vow to? The people? The place? The city? The state? The neighborhood?

Again, I do not feel comfortable making a vow to any city at this time. But perhaps we should. After all, I believe place matters for community. True community can only be cultivated and grown with a dedication to a place. Commitment and time are essential if we desire growth in community. Yes I know we live in a video chat world. Yes I know I can hop on a plane and be eating dinner with my friends in LA in less than 6 hours. Yet, our souls are often hard and littered with distrust. Sure there are times that we are open to intimacy with others immediately. We call this love at first site. But more often than not there is long drawn out drama because relationship takes time.

A vow to a city may seem odd. But it is with such a vow that the drama subsides and we experience relationships with people, cultures, and communities that we did not know were possible. Look no further than the vow of marriage. While my sample size is small, my nearly three year commitment to Taryn has yielded intimacy that I never could have imagined. Without the time and commitment (marked by our marriage vows), I am certain our relationship would be different.

So why not make a vow to a city?

Just another thing to consider.

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E. B. Bauman said...

I think it's time for you to decide.

Jarrod said...

I think you are impatient.

:::No Longer Mute said...

i like the idea of vowing to a city because my experience of great transience in my own neighborhood makes me a skeptic. i wonder who took my trash can, who wrote the anonymous note about my dog barking and who i could count on to watch my children in a time of crisis. i think i am willing to vow to a city, if there are others who will join me.


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