{moving in}

I am sometimes in awe at the strangeness of my neighborhood.  A huge, Victorian style home with an art gallery on the first floor and some sort of commune going on upstairs.   A Pilgrim Holiness church complete with women who only wear skirts – no pants.  A car door stuck perpendicular in a front yard [a decorative piece of yard art, perhaps?].  A yard sale that seems to have lasted longer than a week [maybe they’ve set up a retail business?].  An occasional gun shot, usually at night.  A professional looking young woman walking down the street midday on a Sunday, searching for her lost cat, Milton.  A normal family next door.  A man that struts around nude across the street.  Prostitutes soliciting on various Saturdays.  I could go on.   
While on the subject of strangeness, I took an odd phone call at work today.  I won’t go into all the details, but the man on the other line stated that in his retirement, he plans to relocate to Lexington [where I live and work] and work in inner city youth ministry.  He also mentioned he wants to live in the proximity of where he’s ministering, not on the outskirts [meaning he’d have to drive in].  While that is not an earth shattering declaration for someone to make, it strikes me as rather interesting because I come across many, and I stress many, people who want to be involved in ministry, even inner city type stuff, but do not want to live in the proximity of where they’re ministering.  They want to return to safety, to clean cut grass and no risk of someone knocking on their door asking for a pain reliever.   So, best wishes to the man on the line. Here’s hoping it works out and by the end of the summer I’ve entered his info into our volunteer database.  Who knows, he might even end up living on my street……..
It seems faddish now to be {missional}.  There’s lots of talk and hub bub around the idea of getting a group of folks together and {moving in} as opposed to out.  I liken it to the mega churches of America waking up and realizing perhaps it is time to try something different.  Years ago they moved out of the city into the suburbs.  Maybe it’s time to try the reverse.  Only they just send in a few, a select group who seem to find downtowns cool and know all the trendy places to eat.  While I’m not an expert on the whole {missional experience}, I am somewhat knowledgeable on the concept of {moving in}. 
I {moved in} with my husband, son and daughter.  We didn’t come as a large group.  {Moving in} was risky.  It involved giving up a lot of enjoyable comforts.  A local YMCA with an outdoor pool.  A garden in my backyard.   A relatively safe school district with relatively high academic standards.  A library I could ride my bike to if I desired and had the energy. 
Truthfully, we could have chosen {ministering in} as opposed to {moving in}.  We’d done a bit [actually a lot] of work with inner city folks, homeless folks, addicted folks.  We could have stayed on that path, driving home each evening.  But we decided to {dive in}.  We chose to {move}.  And I honestly feel {immersion} is the way to go.  Stop and think about it much and you’ll talk yourself out of it.  You’ll reason with yourself that you of all people have no business anywhere but where middle income, educated offspring of a two parent home belong. 
I realize I’m critical of the missional-ers, at least those who aren’t completely sold out on the {move in} philosophy.  I believe the only way to learn to deal with it is to {dive in}.  {Dive in and deal with it}.  Again, {immersion}.  {Moving in, whole-heartedly}.  No intense studies or reading books by so called professionals.  {Moving in} and immediately beginning to observe your community. 
{Moving in}, not because the real estate is reasonably priced.  {Moving in} because you want to help redeem the broken.  {Moving in}, not because it’s trendy.  {Moving in} because you want your kids to experience life beyond the easy. 
I’m grateful for the guy on the phone this morning.  And I’m grateful for my neighborhood, even though it’s strange.

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