Networking And Collaboration!

It's pretty simple and logical: 
If we don't network and collaborate, successful movement quickly becomes stagnant. 
If we don't work with others, positive movement and progress won't happen!
If we don't come together, those who need protection and encouragement will continue to be victims of people's self-centered motives!

We ALL need each other! 
We ALL bring different gifts and talents!
We ALL have resources and assets we can bring to the table!
TOGETHER; good things happen when people unite together and fight for a common cause!

I know most of the people who live in Uptown's Tent Cities. I know them well! I know their drama, their struggles, their addictions, their backgrounds and their failures. I also know their faith, their hopes, their dreams, their successes and how they continually fight to overcome and conquer whatever obstacles stand in the way. 

Just as I needed people to get to where I am today, so does everyone else!
Just as I need people to keep on moving, so does everybody else!
This isn't about the poor being "moochers", this IS about humans needing other humans to survive and move forward. Just as the affluent often take plenty of handouts, loans and inheritances from various acquaintances to go to college, start their own businesses or buy a home, people experiencing homelessness also need others to come together for them. Those doused with privilege always have other privileged people networking and collaborating together for them, so why shouldn't those who are poor and experiencing homelessness receive assistance also?

Don't believe the hype, no one does it on their own! It's a myth that people just need to be motivated enough to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. People who promote and proclaim this, live in denial, because these very people often take advantage of the tons of resources and folks available to them; resources that are often denied or very difficult to get when someone is struggling in poverty. 

Even though everybody needs and uses others, what angers me is that there is a group of callous folks who seem to enjoy coming together to ridicule, humiliate and harass people who live in tents under bridges, live in homeless shelters and basically anyone who doesn't fit into their boxes. They seem to love using their power, privileges and prosperity to stomp on people struggling to rise. They use the Internet, the authorities and other resources to make life so much harder for these poor individuals. Too many folks living in my neighborhood think their properties, their dogs and their views have more value than the human beings living outside their doors on the cold hard pavement!

This negative force is strong, angry and full of hate, and this is one of the reasons why the forces for good need to unite strongly together! The power of love, compassion and hope needs to drown out and shame the power of evil. We live in a society where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and those in power love to blame those at the bottom. We live in a society that loves to blame the victims, so the love of Jesus, His compassionate actions and the grace of God's Kingdom must be seen and overpower everything else in this neighborhood! Those Jesus calls the "Least of These" need to be recipients of those who are courageous enough to show God's Love.

To see successful movement among those with less privileges, less resources and less assets, people need to rally together with and for them. We will only see those living in homeless shelters, tents under Lake Shore Drive and in uninhabitable places move into housing, when caseworkers, activists, outreach workers, churches, neighbors and so forth come together to make more resources and opportunities happen.

Networking and collaboration must happen and it does happen! It's a powerful force here in Uptown. I've written about how that happens here: ("We Just Can't Do It On Our Own!")
This post is to challenge stereotypes. 
This post is to challenge the lies! 
This post is to challenge how our thinking has been distorted by propaganda. 
This is a post to encourage us to rally together.

Jesus stood up for the victim. Jesus didn't blame the poor. He would never mock those who live in tents. Jesus called his followers to love in both words and deeds, by loving those in prisons, hospitals and shelters. In His mercy and grace, Jesus went beyond and elevated those who society has taken pleasure in degrading and has given them places of honor in His Kingdom. Jesus loved with a love so powerful, that it took Him to the Cross. If we claim to follow Jesus, we need to do likewise.

When Jesus met the needs of the poor, He was hated and ridiculed, but that didn't stop Him. He kept on going and rallied His troops (His disciples) to love the "least of these". There will always be haters when we aim to live like Jesus, therefore we need to rally together with a common cause and goal. The whole New Testament echoes this sentiment....

In John 5, Jesus healed a man who'd been disabled for 38 long years. In summary, this guy wanted to walk again, so every day he waited by this pool that had healing power, but he could never get into the pool when the angel came and stirred up the water. Finally, Jesus came by and healed him, and then, in a sad and predictable turn of events, the elitist thugs of the day didn't celebrate, but bullied and made life difficult for Jesus and this man. 

Not much has changed since then, history repeats itself over and over again, and that's why there's a few lessons we can learn from this story. 
  • We need to keep on fighting when all the odds seem against us. Even though no one seemed to care, this guy somehow made it to that pool every day, seeking hope.
  • This guy could have been healed years earlier if people had rallied together for him and carried him into that pool at the right time. There are always opportunities to help our neighbors.
  • We can't assume there's only one option, we must be open to God's grace and creativity. Jesus didn't help him get into the pool, He used other means, because He had the power to heal him.
  • Even when good happens, there will be opposition and haters, but we must not give in. We must stay connected! We need to keep doing what we know is right! We need to stay focused!
...and this is why we need to network and collaborate together; there's too much hate in this world and it needs the love and compassion of Jesus. 

...and this is why we need to network and collaborate together; in a world that loves to squash the weak, we can give them a chance to rise!

...and this is why we need to network and collaborate together; those who are told there's no hope, will be given hope!

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