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.
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.