Faith in a Culture of Displacement

I’ve had Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian Walsh’s Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement sitting on my bookshelf since early fall, but haven’t gotten around to cracking it until now. If the rest of the book is as good as the two paragraphs below, I’ll be kicking myself for waiting so long:

Displacement. To be displaced. To be disconnected from place. To “diss” place. That’s our current place. We in North America live in a culture of displacement. “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through” is no longer the sentiment of a certain kind of dualistic pietism; it is a culture-wide attitude. Whether we are talking about the upwardly mobile who view each place as a rung in the ladder that goes up to who knows where, or the postmodern nomad with no roots in any place or any tradition of place, or the average consumer who doesn’t know anything about the place where she lives or the places her food comes from, the reality is the same — we are a culture of displacement.

Christian faith is a faith that is always placed. Places in a good creation. Placed in time. An incarnational faith. A faith rooted in one who took flesh in a particular place. And it continues to be a faith of embodied presence. The church is the body of Christ, and bodies can only exist in place. Moreover, this is a faith with a placed hope  a new heavens and a (re)new(ed) earth. This is not a faith about passing through this world, but a faith that declares this world  this blue-green planet so battered and bruised, yet lovely — as our home.

Steven Bouma-Prediger & Brian J. Walsh, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), xii.

5 responses to “Faith in a Culture of Displacement”

  1. ah, so eloquently written! i love it!
    it also connects to what reiger was saying yesterday morning about the future peeking through into the now. the heaven on earth mentality of renewal. we’ve lost so much of the wonder and mystery of where we are and the treasure to be found in the deep rootedness of life. i long to be rooted…as you know.

    thanks for sharing that tidbit.


  2. exciting.

    interesting to see Walsh back in the game after the “biblical faith in a postmodern whatever” a few years back. can we expect more from him in this release? Perhaps it was middleton who made the last book (opinion inbound) so lacking in any interesting conclusions.

    Coincidentally, Middleton will be doing a reflection at a Haueras/Wink conference that Zach, Walter, Matt F. and I are going to next weekend. I’ll try to imagine you’re there!

  3. @joel mason Walsh has also co-written a commentary on Colossians (Colossians Remixed) with his wife Sylvia that reads it through an anti-empire lens. I’ve heard excellent things about it. I know little about Middleton, so I can’t say if he was the driver of that enterprise. In any case, I think that their “Truth is Stranger Than It Used To Be” isn’t quite as bad as your inbound opinion, but they certainly were trying too hard to “defend the faith” in a grim and humourless manner…

    As for your remarks about the conference, I shall refrain from paying any attention to the fact that it exists, lest I be tempted to envy. ;)

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