This past weekend we continued our series, “Postures” talking through the different postures we want to embody as a community seeking to follow Jesus more closely. We shared our 4th posture which is to be a community “Rooted in the Neighborhood” and introduced this chart from the book, Art of Neighboring. I, along with the authors of the Art of Neighboring, have affectionately come to call this tool, the “chart of shame” – and this exercise may be a little convicting – but the point isn’t to bring shame but to help us move this idea of being rooted in our neighborhoods from theory to actuality.
To start – imagine the middle box is your home, your apartment or your dorm. All the other boxes are the eight houses or residences nearest you. In the middle of your chart write your name…and in the other boxes begin to try and fill out 3 sub-points…
- Write the names of the people who live in that house, apartment, dorm room, etc
- Write down some relevant information about each person. Something you couldn’t just know by standing and observing from your front porch or creepily peaking out your window
- Write down some in-depth information you would know after connecting with people. (Career plans, dreams, hopes for their life, etc)
Now here’s why this is called the chart of shame: We are a people -who throughout scriptures are told – build homes, build a life here, pray for your city, seek the good of it, love your neighbors, welcome the strangers, yet as the creators of this experiment, Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon point out,
“About 10% of people can fill out the names of all 8 neighbors. About 3% can fill out line b. Less than 1% can fill out line c.”
But here’s my hope – that each of us would spend time working on this chart over the next few months. That we don’t let this become a chart of shame but, like this series has called us to, we let it reorient our lives. We allow this chart to help us create a new posture. One rooted in the neighborhood. One that helps us commit to the place God has planted us and begin to know our neighbors, to know their needs, to love them well and to seek the welfare of our city. I believe God has sent you to this city for a reason and if we would commit to praying for our city, rooting ourselves in our neighborhoods, and sharing the love of Jesus in tangible ways – I beleive not only will this city prosper, but God’s kingdom will flourish…