Why people of faith need to show up at public hearings

2 min readMay 24, 2023


The following is theologian Willie James Jennings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_James_Jennings. on why people of faith should show up at zoning meetings. It was delivered at Fuller Seminary, an evangelical seminary, when the overall topic was how do we get diverse people to come to church. Jennings said, people of faith need to go out to the meetings where segregated, unjust zoning decisions on housing, bus routes, and sidewalks are decided. It starts at 22 minutes into this video.

This is a sidebar to the public testimony story, which itself is a sidebar to the Buncombe Decides story.

“When they decide price points on zoning and housing valuations, these are deep moral issues and we (the Christian Church) are not there that’s a problem. I would much prefer to talk about Christians going to those meetings than talk about what we did in the church. If we are not in those meetings I don’t care what you do in church, because you are not making any difference. If you are not talking about where busses run, where sidewalks are. and where they are not, I don’t care what you are talking about in church, because you are not making any difference to people who can ONLY ride busses.

You are not in the room (where the decisions that effect them are made) but you want to bring them into your church and you are not there in those meetings? I want Christians to find out when your commissioners are discussing bus routes, housing, price points. I want every Christian to go to those meetings and find out how your cities function.

I want you to push against the segregation that’s built inside economic segregation, to fight and argue about where people are allowed to live, where people can’t live. When you are there, pushing as hard as you can, you will start to address whiteness.:

“Everywhere where private property has become a new reality, everywhere where people are talk to look at their world through calculation and commodification, they are losing their world.if you are inside those calculations and they are being mapped on top of old forms of segregation, the question of discipleship is not simply how you should live, but where you should live, and how you should rethink your life in a place.

“Think about the placement of discipleship. If the incarnation teaches us anything it’s that God cares about place. It is not inconsequential, and unfortunately I think for so many people it has become inconsequential for us. “