Ecclesiology & Economics: Practical Theology of Land Use
Rev. Mandy McDow
As Christians, we learn that the two greatest commandments are these: 1. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, and with all of your soul. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. As a pastor, my work has historically centered on teaching congregations about God’s love for each of them, and providing resources to encourage one’s personal faith. But, churches do not exist in isolation. Each church is located in a specific place: a neighborhood, a city, a home. Place defines who attends worship, certainly. But, we are not sent to minister to the people in our congregations, exclusively. We are sent to care for people – in a specific place. My church is houseless. We own land, which is an incredibly valuable resource, but we do not have a building. What has been our greatest perceived weakness is actually our strength. We have no choice but to serve our community, and our houseless neighbors. Our worship, typically set outdoors in the parking lot under tents, is truly open to all.It is our hope that we can maximize the value of the land, not for profit, but for generosity. Acts 2 and Acts 4 teach us that the early Christian communities sold what they had and distributed the proceeds as any had need. Our hope is that in loving God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, we can demonstrate our love for our neighbor as we create a co-housing community with permanent supportive housing, workforce housing, and market rate housing on site. The cost of living affordably is living in intentional community, in which the church can be the entity which teaches the residents–in the building and in the surrounding areas - how best to love God and our neighbors.