The Caleb Center is a developing compassionate ministry center that is embracing the community of Maryvale which is on the west side of Phoenix.
Maryvale is the epicenter for much of the hot spots or “red zones” in Phoenix. It is an area of great spiritual poverty that leads to broken homes, physical poverty and homelessness, etc.
But within this community are a number of wonderful individuals and organizations that are working to make a difference.
The Caleb Center is one such place offering compassion, truth, and tangible help.
True compassion is a response to God’s call and invitation to join him on mission; to enter the suffering of another with him. It is not about me or my cause or about getting credit as a philanthropist. Compassion is voluntary displacement – willingly participating in the life and mission of Christ.
The Flourishing of the City: “Rootedness”
God at work in our community
In American cities you see great contrasts:
You can see all that can go wrong with human beings in the starkest ways. You see not just relative poverty, but actual 3rd world poverty — people on the street who are not able to find a viable way to live.
Simultaneously you see not just affluence, but the ultimate pinnacle of wealth. You see the ultimate ability to create one’s own world of wealth and to live in tremendous privilege. In cities you see the contrasts and they often live side by side and pass each other each day.
You can also see the extraordinary division of tasks and labor and opportunities. There are so many kinds of relationships and such diversity of talent that heightens the level of experience.
In a city you can see all the possibilities for human beings at their very best in promoting the common good. And you see people at their worst in addictions, crime and brokenness.
And while cities concentrate our productivity, they also concentrate our waste; they concentrate our commerce and our unemployed. Cities can be places that despoil the world—that turn the world into a kind of a parody of what it was meant to be. Or they can be a flourishing integrated world of beauty pulsating with healthy lives.
The Bible sets forth a vision of believers – Christians building thriving communities by exercising their gifts.
Proverbs 11:10 “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices” and a glorious restoration comes that gives us a glimpse of the Kingdom of God with true justice and peace.
Jesus invites us to an amazing, comprehensive mission of bringing about the renewal of all things. Everyone has the opportunity to participate with God in this work of renewal. One crucial way we do this is through forming long-term partnerships.
In Prov 11:10 The word “righteous” in Hebrew is tsaddiqim. The concept of tsaddiqim, is a people who are radically sold out for the kingdom of God, and who are willing to disadvantage themselves and work with others for the common good. They seek solutions to problems rather than chasing a dream that life is better elsewhere.
Christ’s disciples are to be about doing (not just talking about) the mission of God in the world. Our role is to recognize the broken-ness of the world and the desperate need to advance justice and shalom. Jesus has a full mission of cultural renewal and the restoration of all things.
The restoration to which we aspire is inseparable from the rootedness of staying in one place.
Stability of place begins with the humble acknowledgment that our life depends on others. The trouble for most of us is that we don’t value rootedness – deep lifelong working relationships. We idealize and aspire to a life on the move, spending what resources we have on acquiring skills that make us more marketable (that is, more mobile). We want to “move up in the world,” which almost always means closer to a highway, an airport, or a shopping mall.
We cannot ignore the fact that this has been a contributing factor in the unraveling of community. When neighborhoods are abandoned and left to people without resources, they become a prime staging ground for the drug and poverty epidemic.