Responded to an apartment fire the other night where the occupants of 16 apartments were displaced due to fire, smoke and water damage. Fortunately, no one was injured--neither residents or firefighters. One upstairs apartment was completely destroyed by fire and if not for the quick response of the fire department the whole complex would have gone up in flames.
The displaced residents, several of whom were families with small children, were all standing around besides themselves watching the firefighters do overhaul after the fire was knocked down. I was tasked with engaging the residents, collecting names and identifying which apartment they belonged to. There were dozens of other residents from the neighboring complexes standing around as well so I had to wander about asking who was displaced from the fire.
I couldn't help but wonder how it must have felt to be all safe and secure one minute and in a flash, running out of your home without a thing. Nothing. No wallet, no keys and for many, no phone! Displaced. Yet at the same time they
found themselves in a community of loving and caring people who wanted to help. In my book, USED TO GO TO CHURCH, I write about people who are displaced from the organized church. Many run away because of the flames of guilt, shame, sin management, church politics and being un-surrounded by a loving community when they have trouble or "sin" in their lives.
Maybe it is easy to run away when a church seldom ushers people into the mysterious realm of spirituality where an encounter with God might actually happen in some sort of supernatural experience. When a church community, and I mean the living organism of community not the static organization, lives together in freedom with leaders who point the way into the mystery allowing people to live in the uncertainty and doubt as life's flames lick at our heals, then no one is displaced out of the fellowship.