A Resurrected Community

Have been watching the news tonight which has been full of Trevor Phillips’ talk about racial divisions running deep within our cities throughout the UK. His arguments that many inner city areas are becoming ghettos of various ethnic minorities, engulfed in their own inner politics, language, values and rapidly creating a gulf between themselves and mainstream Britain.

Looking around where we live in Waterloo, and having lived in various SE London locations I can see exactly what he is talking about. Areas of London feel like ghettos, where due to a lack of foresight by the government when an influx of immigrants occurred after the 2nd world war. Whole areas are dominated by a few ethnic groups resulting in massive social tensions and resulting in communities that are severely isolated from each other. It is difficult to see how this can change in the short term.

This fragmentation in society, most pronounced in the cities, and perhaps most of all in London, is something that is on the very doorstep of moot. Where within 100 yards you have the riches and white upper class MP’s and people of power and influence right next to council estates full of ethnic minorities, which have massive unemployment and social issues. Yards apart, yet worlds apart.

One of the many challenges facing the emerging church is that it confronts this problem and becomes something truly ‘other’ within society. An image of community where all are welcome, and all are invited regardless of creed, colour, ideology, age or race. Where the ideology of the self is confronted by the reality of the other, the outsider, the have not’s, the fringe, the uncool, the technofobes, the eldery, the young forcing a reconfiguration of the self, the self deconstructed and reconstructed on transcendent principles.

The eucharist is a central act in the self’s reconstruction. It is a surrender of self to the way of Christ; a desire to follow Christ into the same table-fellowshipping that got him in so much trouble. Where prostitutes sat with the rich ruling classes, invading their private space with their perfumes, love language and femininity. Forcing boundaries to be torn up, old binaries collapsing into a new humanity, a resurrected humanity. Formed on the basis of loving God and loving your neighbour as yourself.

At the moment the emerging church is accused by some quarters of being a white, middle-class, and male. A response to boredom with the traditional church; a place full of ipods, vj’s and a penchant for all things mac. Although this is an unfair caricature it does contain elements of truth. My hope and dream for moot is that it would truly be a community of a resurrected humanity, perhaps not a perfect representation of the breadth, width and depth of humanity but at least a glimpse of it.


POSTED 23.09.05 BY: paulabbott | Comments (3)

3 Responses to “A Resurrected Community”

  1. On September 23rd, 2005 at 10:36 pm Ian said:

    Well said Gareth. I have been reflecting, though how much my life has become more ghetto’d. When I was at school it was truly multi-cultural with lots of Asian and Black friends, but as I got older I have increasingly become white ghettoised. In Streatham it is more mixed – but far more about tolerance in living near each other than being truly mixed. I challenged my housemate JB to say how many of his friends where non-white – and he couldn’t name one – as I cannot name one….so how did that happen? The only part of my life that is truly multicultural is my hospital job which is multi-cultural and multi-faith – the rest of my life is a ghetto, so where you begin with that regarding church, I am not sure – as alt worship as one example is very much a white thang….how to move forward is a real challenge that I am not clear how to do…

  2. On September 24th, 2005 at 7:22 am Michael Radcliffe said:

    Yeh, I’d definately agree with all of this.

    Where I live now, I’d say that I, as the white person, am in the minority, something which is slowly chipping away at the ghettoization that has been part of my life as well.

    However I suspect that if I were to move up the property ladder a notch I would at some level choose, consciously or unconsciously, something that would decrease my contact with the other very significantly.

    It’s a constant frustration of mine that these sorts of conversations are good at making us correct our thinking, but don’t often make a lot of difference to the way we actually live.
    Our boundaries between race, creed and ideology, etc. remain, and the other remains unencountered, or at best, tolerated.

    I don’t really know what the solution to this is.

  3. On September 24th, 2005 at 7:57 am gareth said:

    I hope that moots exploration of doing things in public spaces may change that… We just need to choose the right public spaces.

    With the various ghettos on our doorstep it should be easy to find the right space but a lot harder to do something contextual in it that will make all people feel welcome and included…