This is John.
I work with an organization called Church Army USA as a Street Pastor in Beaver Falls, PA. My work is made possible through the generous support of local churches, non profits, friends, and family.
I love the work I do.
On the front page I said a Street Pastor helps lead the marginalized back into the church, and the church out to the marginalized.
There are many kinds of marginalized folks. But the common experience of the marginalized is this: they are people the world has turned its face from. They are the people we look away from.
We, ourselves, are afraid of becoming the marginalized.
And try to change so the world will turn its face toward us.
But Christ’s logic is different.
Christ turns his face toward us so we might be changed.
We see in the scriptures that people were not just healed by Christ. They were seen by Christ.
And they were healed as they were seen.
The Cross is the place where Christ has turned his face toward us that we might be changed. And offers Himself to us that we might be changed.
It is there that a different kind wound is healed. Our shame. The wound of being unwanted.
At Church Army, we bear witness to this Christ by exercising a ministry of prayerful regard and creative hospitality to the marginalized. Believing that people are healed as they are seen.
We do this especially through the cultivation of third spaces.
A third space is an outpost of creative hospitality, a table in the wilderness. A place where the people on the margins are safe and welcome and regarded.
They are also thresholds, portals, safe passage where the church can be led out to see the marginalized, and the marginalized to can be led into the life of ministry of the church.