first, i want to acknowledge that it is a privilege that my family was in a position to “choose” to live in the inner city. many families don’t have the luxury to chose. i realize that for reasons beyond my control or my effort, i was born into the family and circumstances that helped set up this privilege. i believe that what i do with this privilege makes all the difference.
secondly, i am a follower of Jesus. this means that for reasons beyond my control or my effort, Jesus called me to follow Him and wants me to follow in His steps (John 6:44, Luke 9:23, John 13:15 , Matthew 29:18-20). Jesus left the BEST neighborhood to move into our neighborhood in order to live among us, to know our pain, and to love us. we are not perfect and we certainly have no power to save people…but we can follow in His steps and point others to the One who does save. Jesus said that if we love someone who is suffering and in need we are loving Him (Matthew 25:34-40).
my wife and I were both introduced to the inner city as educators. we were wondering if what we were doing was making a difference. we worked with the poor in the inner city, lived in another city, and went to church in yet another city. in the fall of 2010 a friend brought up the idea that for inner city schools to change the middle class needed to move into the inner cities…not to gentrify but to reconcile…to share resources. it sounded like a great crazy idea…for someone else’s family. but God wouldn’t let us shake that conversation and soon we began praying about it. by june of 2011 we moved into an inner city neighborhood with a church we found in that same neighborhood.
these are the scriptures that helped guide our thoughts and decisions:
1) Jesus has led us to love the city by setting our roots in the city and seeking its wholeness (Jer 29:4-7)
3) Jesus has led us to to share in His redemptive suffering as citizens of the city that is to come (Heb 13:11-14)
we have learned so much and still have so much to learn. we pray that God will continually fill us with His love to love our neighbors, no matter how challenging, because He has loved us through every challenge.