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.