I recently moved to a new house off of Broadway near downtown Denver. It is a wonderful old building that must have been built sometime in the early 1800ss. There’s nothing like the make of an old house. This house has red brick walls in the kitchen as well as beautiful stained glass windows in some of the bedrooms. But before you are run away in your head with a vision of a well-manicured house I must tell you about my basement.
First of all, on the door leading down to my basement in fluorescent letters is the word BEWARE! This was written when the last tenants had a crazy party and someone ended up thinking that the basement door was the bathroom door. Needless to say when he stumbled down the stairs of the basement he realized how mistaken and how hurt he really was. Upon opening the door you would understand the danger. Rickety wooden stairs with no railing lead down to a dirt floor. Straight ahead as you head down you can see a gray brick wall, with gaping holes displaying the underground.
And I recently noticed that outside my house, on the back door on the bottom right hand side is a small label that says, “WARNING, protected by a Radio Shack security system”. When I first saw that thing I laughed. How is that supposed to make me feel safe? No one is going to buy that, and even if they did Radio Shack doesn’t sound like a threatening name to have for a security system.
This led to me question mine and my roommates sense of well-being. Will we be safe here? Upon investigation we learned that yes, we will be safe. Crime rates are low and a police station is nearby. Yet sometimes, even inside my house, especially in the basement, I feel unnerved and even unsafe. This led me to realize that most people think of being safe in only one way; as long as there’s no potential for bodily harm both now and in the future in you’re surrounding area, then you are safe. For most people, safety is only relative to themselves and if they will be OK.
While I agree that this definition is a necessary mindset in most instances (the majority of people don’t willingly put themselves in danger), there also should be room to think about and question safety in different ways. Specifically I would challenge you to ask yourself; Am I safe from myself? Because while personal well-being is very important, it shouldn’t be the only focus that we have. What I am trying to say is that if we really want to see change in this world, in our lifetime, we need to start making this world safe by caring about the safety of others; mind, body, and soul. This is what community is really about.
As a Christian I am saddened by the way Christianity has been misrepresented. The way it has been interpreted is that Christians view the eternal safety of others to the point where they themselves draw the line for those who are “saved” or not. It is not our duty to determine who is going to heaven and who is not. I want Christianity to be redeemed as what it truly is: a group of people loving and following God by loving and helping others. This does include holding up warning signs to other people, but in the right way. Instead of primarily speaking through our words we must show others through our actions so they will be able to see the wonderful alternative of living a life in a God-centered community. This way they will be able to deviate themselves, with our help, from falling down a set of unstable stairs into a dungeon basement (metaphorically speaking of course, unless you live with me).
It is still early in the year yet never too early to set a new goal for yourself. What would happen if you and others made it a goal to look after the safety of each other? The world will never be a Utopia, but there’s nothing like a little Heaven on Earth.