When one looks at a classic painting of an idyllic town, it’s usually not difficult to spot the church. The steeple pierces the sky and soars above the homes and other buildings.

It isn’t just the architecture that has set the church apart. We have attended church on Sunday, offering up the first hours of the week. We have dressed up, making sure that our children are scrubbed and shiny. All of these things have allowed us to bring our best selves before God—our first fruits to that sacred space.

But when Jeff Richards imagines a church in downtown Sacramento, Cal­i­fornia, he describes a different scene. The church doesn’t tower over the other buildings; instead, it inhabits them. For Richards, church should not be segregated by a certain hour, enfolded by four walls. God should not have a house, where we call upon the divine presence once a week, fulfilling some duty, like visiting an ailing aunt. Instead, church should infuse our whole lives, seeping into every place we breathe and influencing everything we do.