• friendsofthecity

In Between Spaces

I’ve never understood what a privilege space is until I moved into a slum. And I’ve grown even more aware of what a privilege space is for those who are poor and living in the inner city of Bangkok. Space is not a given, space is not a right. Space must be sought after, bought, fought for, claimed. But it’s a basic human need, space is. We need shelter in order to live.

Here in the inner-city of Bangkok space is used up. From high rises to slums, roads and bridges, subway stations, restaurants, markets, malls - every inch of this city feels like it has already been used up. It makes sense - Bangkok is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the world. People travel in and out of this city everyday in search of opportunities. And the inner-city surrounding our ministry’s new home district of Bang Rak is the hub.

We’ve been learning a lot about this part of Bangkok over the last six months. The districts bordering Bang Rak are home to some big business. First you have the economic district just a few blocks away. You have one of the city’s largest red light districts to one side. A couple of major universities come right to the border of Bang Rak. Sky scrapers line the streets. And in between some of those high rises are these 15 little slum communities. Almost as if the slums fill up some of the in between spaces of the city. Most don’t even know they’re there. Most don’t realize it when they walk by a street that down that street is a slum. They’re both hidden and at the same time can be blatantly obvious. Isn’t that true of in between spaces?

One particular slum in Bang Rak is in the middle of being demolished to make room for a condo. “They kick out the poor and make way for the rich,” one of the residents told me. She feels overlooked. That space others saw as “in between” them and a profit is her home, her family’s home, her business’s home. Yes, those “in between” spaces of this city are home to so many.

One thing I know for sure - God loves the poor and God loves those living in the slums of Bang Rak. In between all the chaos in the city, in between the high rises and the banks and the businesses and the bars and the brothels is a God who sees all the cracks, sees all the in between, sees all those society seems to look over.

I urge you, wherever you call home, to see these spaces with me. See the “in between” spaces of our world, of your own world. Understand these spaces. Enter them. Know them. Pray for them. They are there we just don’t always see them. They are home to so many.

Lord, let us not look over our brothers and sisters living in the “in between” anymore.


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