I watched the movie Life as a House for the second time this weekend. This go around my attention was drawn more to how broken and down right f'ed up the character's lives were. Sexual brokenness, addiction, unloving fathers, illness, crappy marriages, homosexuality, etc plagued the lives of the different characters. One man's realization of his brokenness and his quest to redeem his life through building a house, transformed his life and everyone around him. By inviting others into the process of redeeming his brokenness others were changed, grew, and became new.
Is this not what we do as followers of Christ? As readers of the Gospel we are acutely aware of how broken and incomplete
this world is. We also know just how shattered the individual can become in this broken world. So really ... are Christians anything more than people that have a more realistic view on ourselves and this world that we live in and know someone (God) that is in the process (with or without us) of redeeming and reconciling the brokenness of the entire creation? With humility, hope, and patience we enter into a relationship with the creator who is redeeming the world. Knowing that while working to redeem this world alongside God that God will in fact redeem us, and by working on our own brokenness we will also join in the process of redeeming creation. Kind a vis versa or paradox concept.
Last night, we celebrated and remembered Jon and Annie Houghton's house they have lived in for the past 6 or 7 years. Unlike other people, their lives were not their own, the house was not their own, their family even was not their own, food, couch, tv, etc was not their own. And because they were aware of their brokenness and knew the creator that was redeeming them they invited literally thousands of young people to come into their home ask questions, laugh, cry, and pray all in the hopes that they themselves would be offering a safe place or a sanctuary for young kids to come to move forward and out of their brokenness. Praise God for their willingness to sacrifice privacy, comfort, and quiet for all some many lives to be transformed.
A house is never just a house. It is not inherently anything. The people living in that house get to decide what it becomes. And how powerful of a thing for a family to realize that their house has the potential to become a direct tool for ministry. To offer a place for questions to be raised, maybe answered, for hope to be created, and for love and grace to be poured out on those that walk through the door.
A few year ago I wrote this piece during my internships as a community organizer in urban Indianapolis. Also called Life as a House, but with a different perspective.