If you read my previous post about Tradecraft, you understand that I’m excited about the book, and the whole mapping process, for hard-wired map- and data-geek reasons. The pure thrill of gathering data, organizing it on a map, and letting it tell me about this place I’ve called home for a couple of decades would motivate me to do the work and blog about it. But, even more significant than that motivation is the idea that this Tradecraft mapping project can serve as a catalyst for significant interconnection and vitalization of the Church here in Corvallis.
I have the strong conviction that the fragmented church is a weak and ineffectual church. Or, at least weaker and less effectual than a cohesive church.
I’ll write more about this in a future blog post, but I think the New Testament paints a picture of a church in a place that looks like something. It’s visible and alive, and it’s not marked by signs in front of buildings, or titles on doors, or weekly meetings. The picture I see of church in the New Testament is a bunch of people who are interacting in real life based on a common trusting submission to God in Jesus, and organized primarily on geography.
Our tendency is, and has been for a long while, to do it all backwards. We organize based on preferences, often living far from those we meet with so that there is no real-life interaction. The world sees many separate groups, each claiming allegiance to the Christ but having little interaction with the others. Christians in a neighborhood are likely to minimize their common faith if they are affiliated with different organizations. The opportunity to affect the larger community is lost. The opportunity to build one-another up is lost.
In response to this great lack that I observe, I hope that the process of mapping my city can be part of the process of engaging the Church in my city. I hope to see ties established and strengthened, and eyes opened to both the larger community, and to the other believers around them.
So, let me start my mapping exercise with a idealized map of Some Place. What do you think?