Monday, April 24, 2006


I came across this Cornell West audio a couple of weeks ago. It is recorded by two "at risk" urban teenagers who take a road trip to hear Dr. West speak at a youth conference.

In this segment- Cornell speaks about the difference in "The Hood" and "A Neighborhood". For him the difference lies in the extreme individualism of the hood where survival depends on an "every person for themself" attitude; versus the communal nature of the neighborhood where children were rooted in traditions and family. Although there may not have been much in material posessions there was a deep sense of connectedness.

I wonder if these two metaphors have something to say to the church of today. Are some churches living a "hood" mentality:
1. embodying individualism,
2. entertainment/"feed me" based (the attitude of "I want to come to church to sit and be fed"),
3. salvation is individualistic: faith based darwinianism's survival of the fittest (It's just me and Jesus)
4. Nominal and noncommitted to building an ecclesial community or "neigbhorhood" (Church is convienient to my schedule)

vs the
"neighborhood metaphor:
1. embodies community to shape the indivdual
2. participation based (we're all in this together, everyone participates in the life of the church)
3. salvation is communal (the process of salvation happens over a period of time and is shaped by participating in the life of the community and becoming more and more like the image of Christ)
4. highly committed to building a life together and embodying that life in one's day to day life.

those are my thoughts today.

in the recording I doctored it up and added the music for a good vibe.

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