There are many formal and informal nicknames for Fort Thomas, Kentucky, where I have lived for 35 years—“City of Beautiful Homes,” “City of Trees,” and even, according to Cris Collinsworth, “Mayberry, USA.” All are true descriptors.
The city is safe day and night. My husband jogs or walks before daybreak without fear. I walk later in the day; others jog in the evening darkness with confidence. We don’t lock our house when we’ll be gone a short time; some people never lock their doors. “Oh, this is Fort Thomas!” they say with pride, though occasionally it is unfounded.
School transportation is not furnished to the students, so they either walk or are driven. Children can safely walk to school unescorted, but it’s the kind of town where parents enjoy walking their children to school.
We only feel desperate when our health is threatened, because that’s something that even living in Fort Thomas can’t forestall. When health or financial problems arise, the community rallies around, taking food, child-sitting, working on the house, sponsoring fundraisers.
There are many churches in the town and Sunday morning is still left free of scheduled sports activities or meetings. Almost everyone seems to be connected to a church in some sense or another. Our churches sponsor effective outreach programs to poorer areas in nearby cities.
But there is a downside to all this peace and safety. The people here live in a bubble of unquestioned security. There is rarely a need to feel desperate for God and his strength and love and mercy. Our lives are not affected by third-world poverty or the persecution of Christians worldwide. We are too safe, too secure, too dependent on ourselves.
I don’t want a disaster to turn us more to God, but I do want us to awaken to the needs of the rest of the world. I keep recalling Jesus’ words in Luke 12:15: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” I’m trying to remind myself of this more and more. How can I reorder my priorities to be in line with those of Jesus Christ?