Saturday, 12 November 2011

Jamison Galt on Place

Jamison Galt, ‘Christ and the Cubicle: A Meditation on Place’, Comment (11 November 2011).

In part a review of Craig Bartholomew’s recent and (I think) excellent book, Where Mortals Dwell: A Christian View of Place for Today (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011), and in part a mediation, Jamison Galt reflects on ‘space’ and the work of ‘placemaking’ for displaced people.

‘Much of our experience of this world is marked by architectural blandness, urban destitution, strip-mall ennui, shrapnel in poppy fields, the cog-in-a-wheel cubicle, gulags, tenements, the home as consumer product, threatening wilderness, or simply what Walker Percy refers to as the malaise of an ordinary Wednesday afternoon. Too often we find ourselves fractured from place, alienated from home and with no sense that where we are has a modicum of meaning.’

Of Bartholomew’s book, he writes:

‘Bartholomew sets forth the whole world as God’s home, and it’s fair to say that he explores nearly every nook and cranny, bringing forth from this storehouse treasures new and old. The exploration involves rigorous biblical-theological work, discourse with the history of philosophy, as well as theories of and challenges to contemporary placemaking. The discovery is a blueprint for the rehabilitation of God’s house, and the surprise that even the desk in front of you is a newfound treasure.’

Galt hopes that ‘if we are attentive to the nuance and import of place – in history – we will be better attuned to God’s efforts of redemptive place-making in this world’.

‘It is in such efforts, engaged in each and every place, that the kingdom of this world is revealed as the very kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. And each of us priests of our own little cubicle, preparing this world to become for us and for God truly and finally, home.’

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