Engaging Our Communities – They’re Showing Up Here!
Key Bible Verse: If you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin. – James 2:9
Bonus Reading: Deuteronomy 10:17-19
Over 25 years Mile High Ministries had done a remarkable job of cleaning up Denver’s roughest neighborhood, and now they were beginning to work in Aurora, the edge city to which many of the poor were migrating. Director Jeff Johnsen had assumed that Aurora’s mayor, an active Christian, would be pleased to have his ministry’s support. But that wasn’t the case.
“The poor aren’t coming here,” the mayor told Jeff as they drove together toward Aurora’s poorer side. Jeff knew better. His staff was spending time and gas money shuttling folks back and forth from Aurora to their Denver center. To tactfully correct the mayor’s misperception, Jeff pointed out apartment complexes and cheap motels the migrants were moving into.
“You misunderstood me,” the mayor interrupted. “The poor are not coming here!” It was his duty, he told Jeff, to keep his city safe and prosperous. “As a Christian, I love what you’re doing. But as a public official, there’s no way I can support your bringing this kind of thing to my city.” He wanted no services that would make the masses, inclined to vice and lawlessness, feel more welcome in Aurora.
—Robert Lupton in Renewing the City
My Response: Do I keep my Christian ideals separate from my expectations as a citizen?
Thought to Apply: Justice can be secured in Athens only if those who are not injured feel as indignant as those who are.—Solon (Athenian statesman)
Adapted from Renewing the City (InterVarsity, 2005)