Edge of Faith May 2017 - Page 14

you sort of move in close enough so that you just see the stores, you realize that if you just saw a picture of that, you wouldn’t know where you were in the United States. You could be anywhere and in that sense it is a “placeless place.” Space isn’t bad. The wilderness is kind of space and there is a lot of great stuff in Scripture about people going out into the wilderness to have an encounter with God. There is a lot of good aspects of space, but a lot of what we’ve built in the post-war era has been better described as placeless places. They are not space, they are crowded with something, but that something they’re crowded with doesn’t hold our memories very well. It’s generic, it’s disposable. That Walmart is not any different from any other Walmart so it is not the kind of thing that you are going to get nostalgic about; going and visiting it when you’re an old man, to come back to that Walmart to remember something. This lack of meaningful place is causing us to feel disconnected with our environment. Ultimately our identity feels less secure where we don’t know how we are connected to the space in which we live, the place in which we live. It is important to be aware of that as we interact with our environment. potential. Then you move in there. You start to put posters up on the wall, you put a special blanket on the bed, you start to fill the room with sound and what-not. As you live out some time there, it starts to accumulate the stuff of your life. I like to think of it as inscribing your identity on its walls. Then it becomes a place, and place is sometimes called “storied space.” It is space once it gets our stories on it. That dorm room example is interior space, but you then start to think about how our neighborhoods or the public realm becomes “place.” A lot of what we see outside of our front door does not effectively become place. It does not hold our memories very well, and a lot of it is because of that building development, that post-war building pattern, not so much because things were separated by zoning, or because they were automobile-orientated, but because of standardized building practices that made neighbor- hoods where all the houses looked identical. Consider the ubiquitous big-box strip mall, wher