One way to love your neighbor
Tomorrow evening some of us will be gathering at the elementary school across the street from the church to help them celebrate some of the progress they're making on their school grounds, and I'll be able to participate by talking a bit about what a joy it is to have this school as our neighbor.
Everyone has different views of church building projects and expansion, and I know that we're swimming upstream against all emergent church trends by building a new sanctuary. But the irony is that our building project has brought our two communities together, with the result that we're working jointly for the good of the Green Lake neighborhood where we both reside, and seeking to help each other reach our goals through mutually beneficial partnerships. You can read about our partnership with Bagley on their website here, if you scroll down towards the bottom of the page.
I find this whole thing encouraging for at least two reasons:
1. We're actually trying to love our neighbor and work for the good of city in which we live. These are both practices the Bible encourages, and our involvement with our neighbors in this project has led to wonderful opportunities to do the very thing we say we're about: share life. We've gained opportunities to tutor young people, help support families at Christmas, and I'm certain that in the future we'll be sharing the use of our facilities with our friends from Bagley when they have events that their school can't quite accommodate in their own buildings.
2. At a time when there is so much animosity between church and state, it has been incredibly refreshing (for both sides I believe) to be able to join together and work on a common project as neighbors, learning that indeed, we share common concerns - about children having access to quality education - about families finding the support they need in the hard work of raising kids - about the well being of the neighborhood, whether economically, aesthetically, or otherwise.
It's good to love our neighbors with no strings attached - no agenda.