Vacant Lot Spirituality

Vacant land is the common bi-product of shrinking populations.  These vacant lots can be places of blight and despair or affordable ways to make a positive impact in the neighborhood

Pontiac’s population is on a slow decline.  As people leave the city their houses often sit empty, to be reclaimed by nature or torched by squatters.  Eventually, the city comes in and will level the house, leaving only a vacant lot.  The city owns many of these, the county owns others and they are looking to unload them for reasonable prices.

The Micah 6 house is actually located next door to one of these lots.  The house was recently demolished and folks have begun using it as a place to dump their garbage.

A few curious phone calls led us to the Oakland county treasurer who informed us that we could purchase the lot –for $150! It wasn’t long until a generous donor called who was interested in purchasing the lot on our behalf.

And just like that, a piece of land which was full of garbage and was a real eye-sore to the community was purchased by people who want nothing more than to redeem it.  A piece of land which was filthy will now be cleaned and used to grow vegetables, build relationships and be a bright spot in the community.

I don’t like to think of who I used to be.

People at work know me as a nice enough guy who really would do anything for anyone.  Many of them are shocked to hear some of the stories about me from Jr High and High School–bullying, meanness and just a strong history of unkindness towards many undeserving people.

People who are close to me hear stories about who I was in high school and are shocked.

Luckily, someone spent some real time on me and dedicated some serious resources to helping me become a person better than I thought possible.  One thing I take solace in is this: the person I was before Jesus is dead, and I am glad because he sucked.

I know there were people who looked at me, shook their heads and walked on.  I was a trashed lot.  I was bringing down those around me, was at best neutral, at worst a blight spot. I wasn’t anything positive.

But there is potential in all people, just like there is potential in all vacant lots to be redeemed for good instead of ill, or even neutrality.

There are hundreds of vacant lots in our city just like this one.  Each has the potential to be a force for ill or good on its block, neighborhood and community.  These can be seen as unfortunate situations or awesome opportunities, just like any of us.

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About coleyoakum

My name is Coleman Yoakum. I am formerly a student at Harding University. Today you can find me in Detroit Michigan doing what I can to expand the Kingdom of God and preparing to start an intentional community in Pontiac. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, music and politics. I am sure that all of these things will find their way to this blog from time to time. Twitter: coleyoakum Facebook: Coleman Yoakum Email: coleyoakum@gmail.com Flickr: flickr.com/photos/coleyoakum/

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