Your Neighborhood is an Ecosystem
Have you ever thought about your neighborhood as an ecosystem? Yes, an ecosystem, thats a word many of us havent heard since high school biology, isnt it? Here is what the dictionary says about ecosystems, a localized group of interdependent organisms together with the environment that they inhabit and depend on.
Does that sound like your neighborhood?
Another source explains ecosystems this way, The entire array of organisms inhabiting a particular ecosystem is called a community.
Your neighborhood is a community. It is an ecosystem. So here is my real question. Do you remember what happens when you bring something new into an ecosystem?
What we all learned in school was that if you introduce change into an ecosystem, that change either is beneficial or detrimental to the system. You cannot bring something into an ecosystem and have the system stay the same. You will either harm or help the system around you. This makes total sense when we look at the forest around us. Hunters and campers are not part of the natural ecosystem that exists, and we all realize however careful they are, they will leave an impact behind. Whether that impact is positive or negative is a debate for another forum.
So lets go back to your neighborhood. To your ecosystem. To your community. Do you make a positive or negative impact on your ecosystem? Remember the answer is never, I make no impact.
How about your neighborhood group? What sort of impact do they have on the neighborhood in which you meet? At the very least, you are creating more traffic and less places to park other cars during the night you meet. Let me tell you a secret your neighbors notice the cars and the traffic, and they dont particularly care for it.
But what if your neighborhood group made your ecosystem better? What if instead of meeting every Tuesday with bibles tucked under your arms, you went down the street to the older couple who need their gutters cleaned out before winter fully hits? Wouldnt your neighbor notice that too, and start to realize the cars and increase in traffic bring some good to your neighborhood? What if your group brought about positive change? You see your group has either a positive or negative effect upon its community.
The next two months we have some incredible opportunities in front of us as a church as a neighbors. Your group could host an Operation Christmas Child party. Pick up a ridiculous number of boxes this weekend and invite all your neighbors who arent involved in a church and pack the boxes together while sampling each others best Christmas cookies and hot chocolate. You could ring bells together with the Salvation Army on December 3rd. You could take an extra child from the Angel Tree and invite your ecosystem to help you acquire gifts for a child in need of love this Christmas. You could go door to door and ask your neighbors to give canned food for the Northern Arizona Food Bank.
All of these events are not to do anything but help bring positive change to the ecosystem of Flagstaff. I believe they will also help bring positive change to the hearts of those who see and receive these acts of kindness.
This world, this country and this community have very big and real issues. The question is who will begin the effort of bringing the positive change that will address them? If you and I arent bringing about positive change into our systems then we are bringing negative change. Neutral is not an option.