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Life in the Margins

Jason Evans was one of the first bloggers I read way back when Blogger was independent and less reliable than an investment in General Motors.  I was surfing the web the other day and writing a blog post that will never see the light of day.

The story of the Ecclesia Collective and the Hawthorn House is a story of a commitment to those marginalized places.

We live in a unique region. San Diego–a city of beauty, affluence and distraction-borders Tijuana, a city rife with crime, poverty and pollution. Few places in the world have the extremes we do in one region. Truly, we are “Siamese twins” as author Mike Davis has written; dependent upon each other, for the good and bad we each reciprocate. But these labels are not limited to each of these cities. In the shadows of San Diego, are the invisible poor and Tijuana has a beauty all to it’s own. We are a region almost completely without the change of seasons. We are the endless summer. It breeds transients and a non-committal posture in those of us that call this place “home”. The high cost of living here causes selfish lifestyles, always looking out for ourselves, rather than our community. As if there is never enough.

But amidst all of the challenges that exist in San Diego and Tijuana there are those that are choosing to live differently, that are working together for a different kind of region. In a transient culture we seek to lay deep roots within our neighborhoods. In a shallow, externally-based culture we desire to learn how to value what is inside each of us. In a fast-paced, non-stop culture we are looking for rhythms that balance our lives, giving us a livable pace. In a city committed to holding up what divides, we will stand for what unites us. In a culture that functions on scarcity we desire to function on abundance. In a region with an unsatiable appetite for sprawl and the negligence of the natural world, we desire to reconnect with the created world and work for it’s healing. In a culture where the market effects all, we seek to create spaces outside of the market where truth, humanity, beauty and creativity are celebrated without being commodified. We are a group of people that are desirous of a more equitable, sustainable and peaceful San Diego.

Why San Diego? Because, as Earl Pomery said, “San Diego hoped more, or longer, than the others.” San Diego is the gateway of El Norte: the land of hopeful future for the poor from the South. We are a land of possibility. That is why we are here. Hope.

Not a lot of church mission or statements make me consider packing up and moving to a different country but this one does.  If you are going to exist, exist for a reason that matters.

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