In the movie District 9, an alien spaceship stalls in the skies above Johannesburg. After three months with no communication, South Africans decide to board the ship, only to find a million aliens who need rescuing. They move them to District 9, an area that’s a cross between a township and a refugee camp.
Unlike the synoptics, the evangelist John reports a three-year ministry
for Jesus, marking his time through the passage of three Passovers. But
Jesus also observes three other Jewish feasts in the course of John’s
I live and work with a lot of folks who believe that God has given up on
them. They are convinced that their failures are so great that there is
no way that God can use them to bring hope or healing to others. Many
have lives that are controlled by the memory of some past failure. Many
of them throw in the towel and decide that the way life has been is the
way it always will be.
At a church leadership retreat, a tall man with a mustache and red suspenders stands up and says, “Several of us here find ourselves wondering if our church is still God-centered. It seems to us something’s missing.” At another retreat, a woman blurts out, “But what do we believe?
By one estimate 7,000 churches close down each year in the United States. A 2012 study predicted that 20 percent of the churches in Philadelphia would close within ten years. Many of these churches are architectural gems. Razing these buildings can be very expensive. A more satisfactory solution is to repurpose them, turning them into art and culture centers or housing units. The Mount Airy Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia is having 20 condominiums built on its property. The sanctuary will be leased back to the congregation for its continued use (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 4).