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Uprooted and replanted: when stability becomes a vice

October 4th, 2011 by isaac · 2 Comments

I preached a sermon about the vice of stability. Here is part of it:

I guess, with all this talk of movement, of shifted from place to place, I’m pushing against a conversation that is happening a lot these days in some Christian circles. There’s lots of talk of the need for stability, of staying put, of sending down roots, of being planted, of sticking to a place. Now, don’t get me wrong: I do think there’s something really important about stability — about caring for a piece of land, about sticking with a community even when you can’t stand the people around you. But I think the language of stability — the virtue of stability, a vow of stability — causes just as many problems as it attempt to solve.

For one thing, all this talk of the need for stability just sounds so Southern to me, Southern in the bad sense: people should stay where they belong, stay in their place, for the sake of stability, in order to keep the peace, so we can all sip sweet tea on our porches, just like our people have done for generations.

When I hear this, this talk of the virtue of stability, I think about the lives of migrant workers, who move with the seasons, with the rhythms of nature; they are wanderers, like Israel, uprooted and replanted by a desire to provide for their families; they are like birds, following the seasons, building and abandoning nests along the way.

Immigrants also expose the underside of communities who prize stability above all else, because migrant families are such an unstable population, uncommitted to notions of civic engagement or building for the future or investing in sustainability — those values are for the landed classes, people with roots, with investments, stable owners not nomadic renters.


 

For the rest of it, click here: “Uprooted and replanted.”

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Tags: sermons

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jason // Oct 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Great sermon, one of my favorites in a while. I just finished The Wisdom of Stability and this provides a great counterpoint. Especially enjoyed hearing how your story intersects with it all.

  • 2 isaac // Oct 31, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Yeah, I had Jonathan’s book in the back of my mind.