La Villita

March 17, 2008

It’s becoming more and more clear to me that there are more than just people like me living in this world.  When we went to Chicago last week I saw this face to face.  I guess when you live someplace it’s easy to write people off.  I guess that there have always been people who are hurting and starving right in my back yard, but I have just never noticed them before.  I mean in the past year or less I have see that all the people that I have marginalized are just as important, just as meaningful as I am.  And even as I say this, I still struggle with it.  I mean has it really gotten to my heart yet?  While we were in Chicago I saw something that I have never seen before: gangs.  I know, I know.  I’m just a white country boy and I’ve never been to town.  But I thought that it was interesting that this was a way of life.  Part of my group’s ministry while on the trip was to hand out fliers for a local church in a Hispanic neighborhood called Little Village (La Villita).  As we ran across different people from the community they would take the fliers and read them over.  We had several people tell us that they were not allowed to go to the church because it was on the other gang’s turf.  It has taken me a while to wrap my mind around the fact that people hate each other so much that they would be willing to kill someone for walking to church on a piece of land that they don’t even own.  There are so many ways that I can learn from this.  Who am I keeping off of my turf?  It’s so easy for me to want to leave the hurting, and the poor, and the broken people where they are.  I won’t cross the gang line if they don’t.  Then I will come on here or go to my friends and do one of two things: talk about how bad they are, or talk about how much I love them and want their injustice to be solved.  But even when I do the latter, how often do I actually get my hands dirty and go get them and bring them to the table of Christ.  A place where they can be healed, filled and fixed.  What is it going to take for me to believe that these people need Jesus?  Mark 2:3-5 is the perfect example of people getting their hands dirty, associating themselves with people who are different, and carrying someone to Jesus. 

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