Help!

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

I live in a gentrifying section of Chicago. We still have our problems. This past week there was a gang shooting three blocks from my home. While that doesn’t happen as often as other parts of the city, it is still a part of my community.

In this TED Talk, Jeffrey Brown a Baptist minister from Boston asks a timely question for me and anyone else interested in bringing “Good News” to their world: “Who do you include in your definition of community?” I suspect if you are like me and reading this blog, you probably don’t include gangbangers, prostitutes and “people of the night”.

Reverend Brown further challenges us to stop preaching and start listening. Read what he and a number of local concerned clergy found when they started listening to kids described as “cold and heartless and uncharacteristically bold in their violence”:

…What we found out was the exact opposite. Most of the young people who were out there on the streets are just trying to make it on the streets. And we also found out that some of the most intelligent and creative and magnificent and wise people that we’ve ever met were on the street, engaged in a struggle. And I know some of them call it survival, but I call them overcomers,

Finally and I believe most importantly, Reverend Brown tells us what we as simple community members can do:

Find those people [people willing to help]. They’re there. Bring them together with law enforcement, the private sector, and the city, with the one aim of reducing violence, but make sure that that community component is strong. Because the old adage that comes from Burundi is right: that you do for me, without me, you do to me.

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Author: CPP

We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.

4 thoughts on “Help!”

  1. Dan, so sad to hear of the shootings in your community. My heart goes out to those involved in the shooting and those in the community. I’ve lived a very sheltered and pampered life. I can only imagine how you feel. Yes, people have to get involved in their communities and be concerned about the people who live nearby. I hope this is a non repeated occurance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with the idea that most of the people in my community are much like me: white, female, educated and Catholic. However, the older I get and the longer I work with and walk with others, I find my community looks many hued, some times male, not College graduated and often has no religion at all or has left the Catholic faith for another.

    This brings up in my mind stereotypes of who do I can my friends, and how do I choose my friends? Again, the older I get, I find I don’t always choose my friends, the are sent from God to me to teach me things outside of my comfort zone and re-define the term unconditional love.

    In Chicago, I work at Misericordia, a residentail facilty for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. In the 10+ years of my employment, I have found that these special people/people with special needs are far more open and accepting of others than my educated associates. They are friendly, non-judgmental, funny and very sincere when the share their own life story. Truly they remind me daily to stop and smell the roses, listen before responding and to know and be grateful for the gifts I take for granted.

    In our society we are so quick draw conclusions and defend our personal view…but how often do we really give time to hear another view or rationale for doing something?

    So, Let us take a que from Dan’s article and from the folks with special needs and remember to be there for someone else is just to be there for them unconditionally and with no strings attached.

    Nancy Kremer CPP

    Like

  3. I agree with the idea that most of the people in my community are much like me: white, female, educated and Catholic. However, the older I get and the longer I work with and walk with others, I find my community looks many hued, some times male, not College graduated and often has no religion at all or has left the Catholic faith for another.

    This brings up in my mind stereotypes of who do I can my friends, and how do I choose my friends? Again, the older I get, I find I don’t always choose my friends, the are sent from God to me to teach me things outside of my comfort zone and re-define the term unconditional love.

    In Chicago, I work at Misericordia, a residentail facilty for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. In the 10+ years of my employment, I have found that these special people/people with special needs are far more open and accepting of others than my educated associates. They are friendly, non-judgmental, funny and very sincere when the share their own life story. Truly they remind me daily to stop and smell the roses, listen before responding and to know and be grateful for the gifts I take for granted.

    In our society we are so quick draw conclusions and defend our personal view…but how often do we really give time to hear another view or rationale for doing something?

    So, Let us take a que from Dan’s article and from the folks with special needs and remember to be there for someone else is just to be there for them unconditionally and with no strings attached.

    Nancy Kremer

    CPP

    Liked by 1 person

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