Knowing (and Loving) Our Neighbors

"How can we LOVE our neighbors, if we don't KNOW our neighbors?"

"How can we be Salt and Light, if we keep ourselves insulated from the world?"

"How can we imitate Jesus if our doors remain shut and we don't allow anyone in?"

"How can we LOVE our neighbors, if we view certain people as 'the other' or unworthy?"

Love is hard! It takes effort! It takes time! Love is governed by freedom, not by law! It embraces things that are difficult. Love means stepping into situations we'd rather avoid. It involves forgiveness. Love requires movement! It means going! Love takes courage! It means embracing those we'd rather turn our backs on! Love helps us conquer our fears.

If we don't know our neighbors, I believe we can't truly love our neighbors the way we should or could!
Love goes way beyond typing "I love you" on a keyboard, it means getting out from behind that screen and going deep into the trenches. It requires gett…

Songs about homelessness and gentrification.

Here are a few songs that address injustice, homelessness, poverty, and gentrification...
Living Colour singing about gentrification... Whereas this song stems out of New York City's East Village, it speaks to the lasting and traumatic effects of gentrification everywhere. This song is extremely relevant because I have seen the painful consequences of gentrification in Uptown, causing me to address and mourn over it repeatedly on this blog: see Uptown: Choose Love "Open Letter (To A Landlord)"
Now you can tear a building down But you can't erase a memory These houses may look all run down But they have a value you can't see... This is my neighborhood This is where I come from I call this place my home You call this place a slum You want to run all the people out This what you're all about Treat poor people just like trash Turn around and make big cash Prophets of Rage singing about tent cities, homelessness and inequality... “‘Living on the 110’ is a song that speaks to the i…

UPTOWN: Choose Love, Not Hate!

I felt stirred to write something after recently listening to a podcast by April Diaz called The Global FringeDr. Daniel White Hodgewas being interviewed. He was speaking about living a profane faith (which is the name of his own podcast) in this jacked-up world, and in it, he made a very thought-provoking and sad statement about Uptown! I live in Uptown, so this comment was very real and challenging for me... The Comment and Challenge!"...what disturbs me the most, are honestly, white liberals and white progressives, I neverknow where they stand. Never! I hate going into Bucktown or Uptown, here in Chicago. Because I'm like, man, all the little white progressives, all that "I stand with her!" They'll be the first to curse me out! They'll be the first to call the cops on me. They'll be the first! So, at least I know where right-wingers stand. I know exactly where an alt-right person stands. I know exactlywhere a neo-nazi stands. And so I never know that…

In The Midst!

I am writing this to encourage those of us who have a loved one struggling in the midst of a storm, and there's nothing we can do or say to stop them from being swept under...
I am writing this because when we're in the midst of the storm, it's hard to find hope and know the end of the story. All we often see or get caught in is the tragedy of NOW.

I am writing this to encourage us not to give in or get caught in the NOW, but rather, to keep moving on the path by continuing to love, forgive, and show compassion to those in need. 

I am writing this to encourage us to keep on planting seeds. We don't know when or if these seeds will sprout, how big the tree will become, or how many birds of the air will come and find rest in her branches.  
This story I'm about to tell has been adapted from a sermon I delivered at The Bridge last week (see below). I am not using his real name...Sam is African; from Ghana, I believe. I don’t know all the ins and outs of his story. I don&#…

Kingdom Love: Confronting the Empire!

Almost 22 years ago I flew into Chicago and landed in Uptown. It was winter, and I remember that on most nights the hallway into my house was occupied by people huddled under piles of blankets trying to get a little sleep on the cold hard floor. I spent quite a few hours chatting with and getting to know these neighbors, realizing how it was only a couple degrees warmer than outside, but a blessed escape from the harsh Chicago wind. Some of these men and women I still have the pleasure of knowing today!

It was while my fingers, nose, and toes were freezing in this cold hallway I found myself being challenged in new ways. Seeing and feeling a reality is very different from reading or knowing about it! My thought process and empathy increased, and even more so when I started working in CCO soon after. 

I was getting to know my neighbors, and it caused me to notice the injustice and ask many questions. Why should they not have a warm bed to climb into, like I do? Even though they're do…