13 Ways Being Rooted and Linked is Empowering

by Mark Votava

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As I have lived in community in my local context for quite some time now, I am finding that being rooted in a particular place as well as being linked to other places is important to my way of life.  How my imagination grows as I am exposed to different contexts where people are embodying love, grace, peace, justice, humility and compassion.  It is a mysterious thing to encounter the body of Christ in other places that strengthens my own expression of love where I live and share life together with others.

Here are 13 ways that being rooted and linked can empower us.

1. Will bring about a parish imagination

A movement of locality that is rooted and linked will bring about the parish imagination.  We must inhabit our neighborhood as a counterculture together.  We must experience locality as a movement working within us, shaping us, guiding us, leading us in the parish.

2. Is a protest against the empire of America  

This movement of locality is subversive toward the empire that we live under.  Corporate power loses its grip on us as we embrace this locality movement.  Living locally is a protest, in a way, against the empire of America.

3. We stop believing in the dominant framing story

If we banded together to live locally and became rooted and linked, over time, we could rise to become a holistic counterculture that would quietly threaten the powerful empire before us.  We would stop believing in the dominant framing story of the empire and seek an alternative parish imagination in our local community.  We would live by a different narrative that is much more holistic than the one that has dominated us for so long.

4. We live out the teachings of Christ together  

The teachings of Christ will only be lived out locally together.  Christ’s teachings are always about what is before us locally and relationally.  We cannot separate the teachings of Christ from the local, everyday life of daily living together in the parish.

5. Is essential to partnership with God in the world

Christianity was meant to be a movement among us of the parish imagination.  So being rooted and linked is essential to partnership with God in the world.  God works through the parish imagination as a movement of locality.

6. We become a radical, troubling alternative to the power imbalances  

Michael Frost in his book Exiles says, “The Christian movement must be the living, breathing promise to society that it is possible to live out the values of Christ – that is, to be a radical, troubling alternative to the power imbalances in the empire…”

7. Teaches us the wisdom of shared life together

It is possible to live our lives authentically together in our local context.  The parish imagination is leading us to this.  The parish imagination does not fear empire.  Being rooted and linked will teach us the wisdom of the parish imagination as the body of Christ in everyday life together.

8. We become practitioners that resist what is impersonal and abstract

We need to resist the abstract by becoming practitioners in our local community.  The parish imagination resists what is impersonal and abstract.  A movement of locality will cause us to become practitioners who are rooted and linked.  This embodies our love into the local context we find ourselves in.  This causes us to listen deeply in the parish.

9. We make our lives more intimate, local, connected and authentic

Robert Inchausti says in his fascinating book Subversive Orthodoxy, “Will we make our lives more impersonal, global, abstract, and artificial or more intimate, local, connected, and authentic?…” 

A movement of locality causes us to become more connected and authentic in everyday life.  The abstract will get us nowhere.  The abstract will lead us to noplace.

10. Keeps us from deconstruction without imagination

The abstract will lead us to dislocation.  Being rooted and linked through a movement of locality will help us not to get trapped in the box of the abstract.  The abstract will only lead us to deconstruction without imagination.

We don’t need anymore of that!  We need more of a parish imagination that is rooted and linked.  We need a movement of locality that spreads throughout the land with great imagination!

11. We repent of the kind of Christianity we have created

I believe we need to repent of the kind of Christianity we have created that has abandoned the practice of shared life in our local community.  We have abandoned a movement of locality and turned Christianity into something that is abhorred and distorted.

We have seen no need for the parish imagination.  We have ignored being rooted and linked.  We have a Christianity without Christ who had real face-to-face relationships with his neighbors in a local context.

Brian D. McLaren says, “…we are beginning to reassess and repent of the actual versions and formulations of the faith we have created…” 

12. We create something that is embodied and authentic

We have created this, but we can create something much different into the future that is more authentic.  We can create something together that is much more relational in the parish.  We can create together a Christianity that embodies the parish imagination.

13. Loving our neighbors becomes important to our practice

We can create a Christianity together where loving our neighbors is important in the local context of the parish.  We can create together a Christianity where being rooted and linked is important to us in everyday life.  I hope for the day that this becomes a reality!

What is your perspective on being rooted and linked?