THE SISTER'S PERSPECTIVE On The Relationship between Poverty, Dislocation and Gentrification



There is a relationship between poverty, dislocation and gentrification. This relationship has contributed to the negative image of gentrification as being something that alters a community in favor of high income residents. My ministerial background, motivates me to look for biblical examples of how each relates in order to illustrate the what I believe is critical to minimizing the level of dislocation in the wake of gentrification in any community.

The story of Moses creates the earliest example of economic and political impact by illustrating the beginning of generational poverty and gentrification. Isaiah 65 provides another example of the cycles of gentrification where God’s investment in a community leads to displacement of those who are disobedient to His call. Divine response could also be paralleled with John’s vision of a New Jerusalem as chronicled in Revelations 21. Explanations and theological expressions of gentrification can also be found in the writings of Witness Lee’s God’s Economy[1].

Each of these biblical texts could serve as a foundation of Sunday morning pastoral messages encouraging parishioners/community residents to take ownership of what happens in their communities. By taking ownership, they take control of the direction the economy will grow. The notion of major investors engaging an economy and its impact on housing in particular is an ongoing argument in many cities. However, one could argue that God’s blessing of a new heaven and new earth are in reach through diligence and commitment of residents the result of which is in essence, God’s economy.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.” [2]

The scripture event could be paralleled with a phase of revitalization, as listed by Clay, raises an ethical question relative to the spirituality of current residents and the work of Witness Lee but gives theological significance to the subject of this work.

[1] Lee, Witness. The Economy of God. Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 2005.


[2] Bible Gateway. December 15, 2017. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+65&version=NRSV (accessed October 11, 2017).