Sunday, March 26, 2006

the sssuburbsss

My mind tonight is racing with thoughts on community life, christianity and the world we live in.
I spent the evening reconnecting with some long lost friends. I went with a little fear. Mostly because, I had no idea what they were like anymore. They had no clue who I was anymore. Turned out that I think we are pretty similiar in many ways.
But it got me thinking again of living and breathing our faith. What does it mean to be a christian in this day and age? So many Christians are up and moving to the burbs, for what ever reason, it appears that maybe that is safer than living in poorer areas of town. They put their kids in private Christians schools...again, safer for their children. So they in turn isolate themselves in a world away from reality. Have a nice home, a couple of cars, good jobs, mortgages and big box stores now their life. So what does this all mean for me?
I am angry. I am frustrated with the look good Christian. "I am a christian, therefore, I am to live a prosperous life...appearances are everything"
That is crap. When I read in the New Testiment about being a believer, a follower of Christ, I don't get the impression that this is how we are to live.
Remember it is harder for a rich man to enter into the kingdom. Why?
If we are blessed with a good job...what does that mean? We move or build a bigger home, to again fill it with stuff? Or does it mean we are to be more giving to those who do not have? Just some of the questions that are moving around in my head. How does moving to the burbs help our city?
Why not stay and build a stronger west end or North End? I guess, I am an idealist. Maybe, I think that we could make a difference if we were not so scared. But what are we scared about? Losing our life? Losing our stuff? It isn't ours anyway. We have to die to self and take up the cross. Our earthy possessions...they do not belong to us anyway. Maybe when I see the prostitute in my back lane and the johns driving by, I could get worried, especially if I had a wife and children, but then I realize that I would want to expose them to that, so they could see the hurt out there. That they could feel Christ's heart for them. That, we are no different than the prostitute. That Christ loves us just the same.
Ah, my needs to slow down right now....on a different note.
I do have to say that tonight was a first for a long time. I have been back in Winnipeg for almost a year. Tonight, I got a hug! From a guy...! I think it was the first one that I have had since being back in Winnipeg...that did not come from a relative...or from someone who wanted sex. Insane? Why do men not hug? Why do christian men not hug? Do they think that they might be gay if they do hug? Another pondering question?


Jude said...

I know that you already apologized for this post, but I still feel like commenting, as ones who will be moving further away from inner city life soon.

I hear what you're saying, and I respect it, but I've also got to say that things look different when you have kids. For the last few months for one of my projects I have been talking to many people about safety in the north end, hearing stories of guns in the street, crack houses across from school yards, children getting propositioned by johns and grabbed by men in cars. This is not the totality of life in the north end, but it is a part of it. I want to protect my kids, not from seeing sin, but being a victim of it.

Yet, I wrestle, because as you said, we are a lot alike and in my mind I know that real community change happens when people care for their communities, and caring people in communities can only help. So I value what many people are doing in moving to the NE and WE. I don't think I'm strong enough.

kenny said...

A question I pose to you then is this. Is this our home? Is this our children's home? Part of the reason that I apologized is that I realize that sometimes, private schools can give to children something that public school cannot. Part of living in the burbs is the fact that we need christians in the burbs too. I understand the dangers of living in the west end...just half a block away a young man was shot to death. In my back lane, I see the prostitutes. Do I really want to raise my family here, if I have one? Part of me screams nnnooo! But the other part of me says, Kenn, what are you afraid of? I will be an overprotective parent and husband, but I also think, if I believe that this is not my home, I have to trust God. I have to fully place that trust in him. To know that He will direct me where to go. Maybe it is standing up against the injustices around me, trying to get the women off the streets, or trying to get the crack houses closed down. Getting the johns away from the schools. It is petitioning for justice and protection. I do not want my children or anyones children to be a victim of crime. But reality is, what is life like for so many children in the west and north end. Who is standing up for them. Now I am not saying you have to by any means, but then I? I heard a story of a man, who has raised his kids in the west end and who put signs up advertising where the crack houses are and his kids were scared...the father taught them that God is their protection and that their home is not here. Wow! That is heavy, probably not easy to say, but in a sense risky. Putting yourself out there, ready to die for justice. So ya, not trying to say your thoughts are wrong by any means, but this is just my thoughts and conviction...and am sharing it with you.

kenny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jude said...

I'll be honest with you - putting my faith totally in God is something I'm having a lot of difficulty with right now. I've been questioning issues of faith for a long time and feeling like how can one KNOW anything. How can I know that God is truly calling me anywhere? How can I know if that thought in my head or feeling in my heart is from the Holy Spirit or just a product of all the occurences of my life so far? My house and my children seem much more real than a heaven I've never seen. When I pray, I hear silence.

So I struggle, I wrestle. I want my faith to be strong but it's not. God have mercy on me.

kenny said...

Hey Jude...thanks for your honesty and transparency in telling it like it is. I appreciate that so much, you have no idea...or maybe you do.

I struggle some days with that concept of "hearing the voice of God" or "was that just me making that up?"

What I do know is this...that I am nothing without God. I have tried it. It just doesn't work. That God has spoken to me. That he continues to speak to me through people of all sorts. Do I hear an audible voice or does am I sure the voice is his? Well, I think of it this way. God will never speak to me about not giving, being selfish, thinking of just me. But when voices come in and tell me to give, love, have faith, I know that to be the voice of God. If the HS is living in us, does not our voice become his voice? We are a reflection of Christ.

Hey, just me thinking...again, I love your honesty. Have you read Blue Like Jazz? It is a good one.
I enjoyed the Raggamuffin Gospel as well. Shalom my friend!