Location. Location. Location.
After house hunting for a while, I'm really tired of that word. The reality of the real estate market is that location is more valuable than the land upon which a house sits, the quality of the structure, or the cost of the materials and amenities in the home.
On the surface, this makes some sense. We want to live in good neighborhoods that have access to good schools. We want a location convenient to our work, necessities, and hobbies. Location does matter.
But let's be honest: We mean something much more negative when we talk about location. That value comes just as much about what, or who, is not around, than any positive attributes.
Property values rise when marks of poverty are completely out of sight. A great house in a lower income neighborhood costs less than the same house in a location with high average earnings. The value, then, has nothing to do with the house, but with the people around the house.
What does that say about our culture? Foremost, that we have a dysfunctional view of value. The real estate market places values on people based on how much money they make, and sells homes based upon that metric. But let's not depersonalize this. We constitute that market. We, human beings, judge other human beings as more or less worthy to live with, and pay accordingly when we purchase a home.
We need a reformation here. We need to repent of this. Why?
Because God became incarnate in a Bethlehem stable rather than a Jerusalem temple. Because living water appeared in Samaria rather than Israel. Because God left the security of heaven to take on the insecurity of earth. Our value ultimately comes from God's presence with us, from God's choice to invert real estate economics and instead place the divine image in all humanity, regardless of cash flow or earning potential. Location does matter because God brought the kingdom to this land and all lands, to this place and all places. All locations have value, all locations have an equitable worth, because God chose to be with all of us.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.