Monday, March 31, 2008

In the city and in the Word: But did Anything Change?

During the past 3 weeks we've hosted more than 120 college students from around the country here in Chicago.  My M.O. is to get pretty wrapped up in issues that connect a Biblically informed vision of what life should look like and then connect that to the issues facing urban America.   We discuss and explore these topics experientially together in the city and in the Word. 

(What does God's call to uphold justice have to do with the fact that we have a drop out rate in Woodlawn that exceeds 50%?  What does God's call for us to love mercy have to do with those homeless folks who put us in awkward moments on the el? What does discipleship have to do with our resources beyond our money?  What does an ambassador of Christ have to do with infant mortality, the working poor, or predatory lending?)  

This week I am wrestling with how our work to raise funds connects with this overall vision of seeing  Christians live out Micah 6:8 in relation to the inner-city.   It is critical that those in relationship with Sunshine see the connection as a commitment to the cause of the Kingdom rather than an emotional (short lived) response.  

So for those who have been with us in the past or were here this month,  I just want to ask two questions here and invite you to respond. 

1.  Is it likely that anything actually changed in your life as a result of your week with us?

2.  Our desire is not to lead you to partner with us through pity or emotion but by leading through our values.  Did this happen with you and if so, what values did you perceive we hold most dear?


6 comments:

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

Joel,
Man I just want you to know that you are "fighting the good fight!!"

What Sunshine is doing is great and I am very hopeful that Bridge Builders will fulfill it's mission which is to bring the urban and suburban/rural church together as well as change the way that the evangelical church looks at justice, the poor, and our mandate to be a voice for the "least of these."

I cannot wait to get back to Chicago with folks from our church. We will benefit greatly from a Bridge Builders week.

Keep pressing and being honest in your dialogue here on this blog because I know it is helping folks process their life and the world in which they live. And even better all this within the context of the gospel.

Peace to you and your family!

PS. 120!!! That is tight!

Kyle said...

1. Is it likely that anything actually changed in your life as a result of your week with us?

Joel,
Maybe I'm naive, but I'm positive that some things actually changed in my life and in the lives of students here at Taylor. I've seen the change begin (and I'm realistic with change after doing multiple short term missions experiences). I've seen students approaching their minority roommate with a whole different perspective. I've heard about tough conversations. I've seen our students already pursue opportunities to share what they are learning in a variety of contexts.

Me. I view the world different. Will I sway from this at times. Yes, probably so. But, my eyes have been renewed. I view all situations through a varied lens. A lens, I believe, that is a little more like the lens Jesus uses. My perspective is more eternal than it was 12 days ago. Thank you for being faithful in communicating and sharing what God has laid on your heart. I know it can get tiring and seem hopeless, but you have done a good work.

We most definitely saw compassion and peace modeled. You shared a tough message gracefully. You challenged us not out of guilt but solely out of a shift in worldview, a worldview shaped by the word of the almighty God. Your values were clear. Live justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly as we seek to see the poor and different than us the way God views them. This conversation will continue but I must work on my homework. Thanks Sunshine for sharing your time and your heart and your unique (sadly) view of the City from a Godly perspective.

Kyle Lantz
Taylor University

Sarah Scott said...

I'd really like to think that something has changed in my life. I know that as I continue with school work the real test will begin. Anyway, some of the things I learned were already on my heart before coming to Sunshine, but they were pressed even harder while I was there. And I think that I am beginning to see things through both lenses and more eternally, even here in the cornfields of Indiana. Thank you for your ministry and what you are doing.

-Sarah Scott
Taylor University

hammerdad said...

Sarah and Kyle~

Thanks for being with us you guys!! I hope our paths will cross again. . .

Praying for Micah 6:8 in our veins~
Joel.

educate06 said...

I agree with Sarah that some of that was on my heart before I came and the bridge builders week deffinitely helped it sink in.
I think the greatest change in perspective that I got that week was to see the beauty in places such as the inner city, etc. instead of just the needs. We don't have to fix everything, but the greatest thing we can do is get into the lives and form relationships with people from other cultures. I was overwhelmed with the huge need that I saw and learned about but I also learned that the greatest thing we can do is become part of their life.
After that week, I'm even more sure that God is calling me to teach in the city...even if I don't "change the world", I can still make a difference in some people's lives and broaden my perspective by living in a culture different from what I'm used to.