Thursday, September 08, 2005

Third Space

In my travels of late I was introduced to a term or phrase that articulates well what has been eating at me when it comes to my life and which has encouraged a great deal of inspection with regards to the body of Christ.

The problem, (if i may be so bold) as I see it is that the church exists largely outside of the real lives of real people and it probably shouldn't be that way...

The term I am referring to is "third Space". A simple google will give you lots of reading material on the matter but I thought I'd include this from

third place (THURD plays; TH as in thin) n. A place other than home or work where a person can go to relax and feel part of the community.
—third-place adj.

Example Citation:
There's no place like third place.

I'm not talking about winning and losing here, or races or sports or politics, but something far more important: the simple art of living your life in the real world. In that world, as someone has pointed out, all communities — and therefore all members of communities — need a "third place." It's not your home. It's not where you work. Those are the first two places. No, it's the place where you go to, um, be.
—Stephen Hunter, "Shear Gladness," The Washington Post, September 13, 2002

The term third place was invented by sociologist Ray Oldenburg and first appeared in his 1990 book The Great Good Place, a celebration of the places where people can regularly go to take it easy and commune with friends, neighbors, and just whoever shows up. The subtitle says it all: "Cafes, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts and How They Get You Through the Day."


"They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers."

I like to image that verse is speaking of living the life in the real world.

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