Apr 042012

Southland Christian Center’s shopping mall odyssey

By Andrew Battista

When I read the New Testament, I always pay attention to the questions people ask Jesus.  For example, there is a famous conversation in which a Torah scholar asks Jesus what one must do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus tells him, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” a core tenant of the Jewish Law.  The scholar asks in return, “Who is my neighbor?”  This question obviously has a layered meaning.  The scholar isn’t asking who literally lives next to him; rather, he is trying to find out how far the ethic of justice suggested by the Law should extend.  The story Jesus tells to answer this question, known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, seems to imply an infinite hospitality.  Everyone is our neighbor, even our most despised social enemies.  There are no limits to the deference and love we should show to others, whether or not their property is adjacent to us.

Spring on the Southland Christian collection pond. Photo by Danny Mayer.

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Jul 282010

A response to “Mall of God”

By Jake Caldwell

I am writing in response to the recent article in North of Center, “Mall of God.” I first want to tell you how much I have appreciated the work that you and your volunteer staff have poured into North of Center. I believe it is a much needed service to the Lexington community and the articles have been consistently well written and critically incisive.

Before I offer my response to “Mall of God,” however, a disclosure of my self-interests is in order. I am a minister on the staff of Central Christian Church, the congregation that Andrew Battista criticizes for acquiring property from the Windstream Corporation at below market value. Like almost all of the ministers I know, my work routinely positions me to see the shortcomings of my own congregation, which is to say that I do not, as a minister, labor under any pretensions about the church being above or immune from criticism. And like most ministers I know in mainline Protestant traditions, I agree whole heartedly with the issues Andrew raises with the way mega church strategy and polity parrots consumer trends. Continue reading »