The paper says residents of the Lakeview section of New Orleans fear “mansionization.” As flooded, ruined homes are demolished, some people are buying up two or three adjacent lots and building large estates on the property. In most cases, homeowners would welcome that in their neighborhoods. All it does is skyrocket the values of existing homes. Problem is, say the Lakeviewers, the character of our beloved neighborhood would be changed. We want the casual middle-class neighborliness we had before.
And down in St. Bernard Parish, authorities are still trying to keep homeowners from renting to anyone except family members. We don’t want to lose the identity of our neighborhoods, they say. They fear outsiders buying up large sections of the city, then renting out to whoever.
Change is difficult, particularly change that involves our homes and the surrounding community. And our churches.
Every church in metro New Orleans is in the midst of monumental change. Some are embracing the change, some are fighting it, some denying it and some sleeping through it. To paraphrase II Corinthians 5:17 slightly and use it out of context completely, “Old things have passed away and everything is becoming new.” Churches are losing pastors, staffs, key leadership, Sunday School teachers, and financial supporters as they decide to move closer to family or relocate for their jobs or simply get out of Dodge.
Meanwhile, their communities are being transformed as longtime residents move away and outsiders flow in, many of them speaking Spanish or Asian tongues. New pastors are arriving, bringing new ideas and new perspectives on our situation.
There has never been a time or place when the Lord’s teachings on new wine/new wineskins were more applicable than here and now.
“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out and the skins be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” (Luke 5:37-38)