Author Topic: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?  (Read 6771 times)

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2017, 12:04:55 PM »

Synod: More of this stuff the deaconess was talking about. On top of that synod also needs (and I'm speaking from no inside knowledge here so forgive me) to trust local districts and leaders on the ground. City ministry is not cookie cutter. For example, it is true that city ministries tend towards the liturgical, but they don't all need to be replicating DS 3 as if it were being done in just any other location. Another thing synod should be careful about is not primarily focusing on the city as a wild west of drugs and prostitution. We aren't sending people to the city to save the city, there is much good about the city (and the good are not just people who get out). The end of history is a city, so we should act like the city is something we are all moving towards instead of something we are trying to save people from.

Synod leadership for Mission Field: USA works in conjunction with districts to carry out their work.  Also, I can state emphatically that the guy overseeing Synod's work in the city sees individual souls in need of healing and could care less about stereotypes of gangs, violence, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc.  I've been reading on social media some pretty scathing things out of the mouths of LCMS pastors and laity about single mothers, and it saddens me that we have to stereotype in seemingly hateful ways instead of looking deeper at the causes of single parenthood and the fractured family and respond with compassion to their plight.  It's all many know, and education is key to bringing stability back to the family.

As for moving towards the city, well, the church should be moving where the people are moving (pp. 4-16) . . . and it's to the city!  Plus, multiple people groups are concentrated more and more within the city . . . what an opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 12:10:19 PM by Buckeye Deaconess »

Dave Benke

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2017, 12:40:39 PM »

Synod: More of this stuff the deaconess was talking about. On top of that synod also needs (and I'm speaking from no inside knowledge here so forgive me) to trust local districts and leaders on the ground. City ministry is not cookie cutter. For example, it is true that city ministries tend towards the liturgical, but they don't all need to be replicating DS 3 as if it were being done in just any other location. Another thing synod should be careful about is not primarily focusing on the city as a wild west of drugs and prostitution. We aren't sending people to the city to save the city, there is much good about the city (and the good are not just people who get out). The end of history is a city, so we should act like the city is something we are all moving towards instead of something we are trying to save people from.

Synod leadership for Mission Field: USA works in conjunction with districts to carry out their work.  Also, I can state emphatically that the guy overseeing Synod's work in the city sees individual souls in need of healing and could care less about stereotypes of gangs, violence, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc.  I've been reading on social media some pretty scathing things out of the mouths of LCMS pastors and laity about single mothers, and it saddens me that we have to stereotype in seemingly hateful ways instead of looking deeper at the causes of single parenthood and the fractured family and respond with compassion to their plight.  It's all many know, and education is key to bringing stability back to the family.

As for moving towards the city, well, the church should be moving where the people are moving (pp. 4-16) . . . and it's to the city!  Plus, multiple people groups are concentrated more and more within the city . . . what an opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ.

This is hopeful news indeed.  Long-time colleague and friend Carlos Hernandez, still out there with the "Gospel Seeds" program, has understood the value of community organizing as training that equips pastors and lay leaders for vibrant urban service, because it gets at not only the area of mercy, but also addresses systemic change necessary for long-term neighborhood and city health.

This comment strikes a chord: If we didn't have congregational polity a lot of these things wouild go more smoothly. Everybody could just be enraged at the bishop for closing this or that church and uniting with that one, but amid the anger the thing would happen. Not so for us. Congregational polity is a blessing and a curse, but it comes down on the curse side when it comes to unified efforts to minister in the inner cities.   

With a non-hierarchical structure, the power of the bishop/supervisor is primarily the power of persuasion.  When I was on top of my game, that was usually sufficient.  But not always.  And the result in urban church work is that many places just dwindle down to nothing because they can't decide to change and would rather be chaplained into hospice care.

Dave Benke

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2017, 12:44:41 PM »
As one who once was a missionary-at-large called by the district and who now leads a church that has the wherewithal, in the form of a large endowment fund, to help struggling inner city congregations should we so choose, I can see the money issue from both sides of the standard disagreement.

When one is the recipient of money, one resents the idea that the money is purchasing results. I can't guarantee converts/new members/growth etc. All I can do is bring the Gospel and see what the Holy Spirit does with it. It is hard to fit the idea of results into the equation. But when one is sending money, it is hard not to fit results into the equation. Nobody in the "sending" congregation will get on board with sending good money after bad to keep a dying congregation alive for a little while unless there is some sense that the congregation isn't just waiting it out and looking for ways to pay the bills until the lights go out and the doors close.

This also brings up natural rivalries. Many congregations were founded back when they needed to be closer together. Now there is less need for so many congregations, but lots of people are pretty heavily (and understandably and in a sense rightfully) invested in wanting their congregation to be the one that survives. As the congregations mutually struggle, a natural sorting occurs, with people naturally preferring to attend and raise their children in a healthy congregation. That means the "big" church usually has a lot of people in it who were formerly members of the "dying" churches, and the remaining members of the dying churches know it. Certain tipping points (Can we still afford two pastors? What about a youth director? Is there more than one service? Is the pastor full time? Does it have an adult choir? What about a Sunday school?) can cause a fairly healthy congregation to rapidly tank. The big box churches are full of people who are tired of trying to make it work and seeming to fail bit by bit.

So a church like mine, founded in Hammond (where A Christmas Story was set, btw), a town which struggles with many urban problems but which has two LCMS churches still in it (one a daughter congregation of our congregation from back in the day) could, if we choose, from our position in Munster, step in and prevent those churches from closing their doors, at least for a while, with financial contributions. But does that make the most sense? What about the churches that have closed on the south side (also just around the corner from us) or which are closed in every sense but the legal and technical in Gary? We could mail them a check. But what would that do? From the perspective of the people who gave to the endowment fund, we want to send that money to something with a future. From the perspective of those who receive it, how can there be a future without money?

If we didn't have congregational polity a lot of these things wouild go more smoothly. Everybody could just be enraged at the bishop for closing this or that church and uniting with that one, but amid the anger the thing would happen. Not so for us. Congregational polity is a blessing and a curse, but it comes down on the curse side when it comes to unified efforts to minister in the inner cities.

I don't think this point about congregationalism can be stated enough.  We spent 5 years trying to build a city mission.  In three different iterations.  The seed money came from the large church because, well, that is who has the money and connections to get the money.  So the first two iterations were simply, what do you want to do large church?  When those failed rather obviously, there was almost enough for one more shot. And we had a bunch of knowledge.  We hired the right person.  We set about doing the right things.  We had a story.  And as I said in the beginning, the small churches in the suburbs would help, but it would take a story that wasn't just "we're keeping your lights on", because well, we have enough problems of our own with that sometimes.  And just as we were getting to where a sustainable funding would have to be (roughly 50% from the many small congregations and 50% from the one large), the one large decided they were tired of this particular ministry.  Keeping 15 congregations on the same page was tough.  It took a lot of communications work.  And the big dog still gets to call the shot.  In our case, we're tired of this, and indirectly of working with the rest of you.  In the lack of a strong central voice, or a kairos type event, it is tough.

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2017, 01:04:07 PM »

Synod: More of this stuff the deaconess was talking about. On top of that synod also needs (and I'm speaking from no inside knowledge here so forgive me) to trust local districts and leaders on the ground. City ministry is not cookie cutter. For example, it is true that city ministries tend towards the liturgical, but they don't all need to be replicating DS 3 as if it were being done in just any other location. Another thing synod should be careful about is not primarily focusing on the city as a wild west of drugs and prostitution. We aren't sending people to the city to save the city, there is much good about the city (and the good are not just people who get out). The end of history is a city, so we should act like the city is something we are all moving towards instead of something we are trying to save people from.

Synod leadership for Mission Field: USA works in conjunction with districts to carry out their work.  Also, I can state emphatically that the guy overseeing Synod's work in the city sees individual souls in need of healing and could care less about stereotypes of gangs, violence, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc.  I've been reading on social media some pretty scathing things out of the mouths of LCMS pastors and laity about single mothers, and it saddens me that we have to stereotype in seemingly hateful ways instead of looking deeper at the causes of single parenthood and the fractured family and respond with compassion to their plight.  It's all many know, and education is key to bringing stability back to the family.

As for moving towards the city, well, the church should be moving where the people are moving (pp. 4-16) . . . and it's to the city!  Plus, multiple people groups are concentrated more and more within the city . . . what an opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ.
My guess is that all pastors work with single moms and children from all manner of family structure and degrees of stability. It goes without saying that all of them are treated as children of God without distinction. Compassion is not at issue here unless a pastor or congregation has a problem with compassion generally. What is at issue here is how overtly and confidently we teach, to one and all without distinction, that God's plan/design for the family is the traditional nuclear family. Doing so is not without risks. You have to be willing and able to engage people whose experience (or lack thereof) with the traditional family structure has been uniformly negative, and you have to be able to do it without implicitly condemning them for not coming from such an arrangement. That is hard but necessary. What is easy but not faithful to the catechism or orthodox Christianity generally is just to affirm people in their choices no matter choices regarding sex, marriage, and procreation they make.

Do young people learn, overtly, explicitly from their pastors and church leaders, and not simply through an implied good example, that having sex outside of wedlock is a sin and always an unacceptable choice for them as Christians? Do they see such behavior treated by their churches as just a serious thing as stealing or vandalizing or bullying? If not, they are being mistreated/neglected by their shepherds. Forgiveness is always central and the secong use is always the main use of the law, but our context calls also for a robust first use of the law regarding the 4th and 6th commandments. Pastors who would expect to be roundly condemned themselves for having sex outside of wedlock, yet who fail to teach youngsters to live according to that same expectation, are failing in their vocation. One doesn't set aside grace and mercy and forgiveness to do this. One simply must see value in the first use of the law.

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2017, 02:05:32 PM »
Jesus told us, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

As Christians we have been guilty of ethnic, economic, and social prejudice.
We can criticize people  because they are on food stamps and welfare and do
not have a job.  Yet our religious snobbery fails to understand their individual
circumstances.  Perhaps their job was eliminated  at the factory  or they have
severe health problems and are unable to work at the present time.

Bottom Line:  The Church is commanded to continue the mission of Jesus.
As we repent of our self-righteous pride, then we can reach out to those
who are alienated from God.   We can share the Good News of Jesus with
sinners who need to hear the Gospel message.



Dave Benke

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2017, 02:38:11 PM »
As one who once was a missionary-at-large called by the district and who now leads a church that has the wherewithal, in the form of a large endowment fund, to help struggling inner city congregations should we so choose, I can see the money issue from both sides of the standard disagreement.

When one is the recipient of money, one resents the idea that the money is purchasing results. I can't guarantee converts/new members/growth etc. All I can do is bring the Gospel and see what the Holy Spirit does with it. It is hard to fit the idea of results into the equation. But when one is sending money, it is hard not to fit results into the equation. Nobody in the "sending" congregation will get on board with sending good money after bad to keep a dying congregation alive for a little while unless there is some sense that the congregation isn't just waiting it out and looking for ways to pay the bills until the lights go out and the doors close.

This also brings up natural rivalries. Many congregations were founded back when they needed to be closer together. Now there is less need for so many congregations, but lots of people are pretty heavily (and understandably and in a sense rightfully) invested in wanting their congregation to be the one that survives. As the congregations mutually struggle, a natural sorting occurs, with people naturally preferring to attend and raise their children in a healthy congregation. That means the "big" church usually has a lot of people in it who were formerly members of the "dying" churches, and the remaining members of the dying churches know it. Certain tipping points (Can we still afford two pastors? What about a youth director? Is there more than one service? Is the pastor full time? Does it have an adult choir? What about a Sunday school?) can cause a fairly healthy congregation to rapidly tank. The big box churches are full of people who are tired of trying to make it work and seeming to fail bit by bit.

So a church like mine, founded in Hammond (where A Christmas Story was set, btw), a town which struggles with many urban problems but which has two LCMS churches still in it (one a daughter congregation of our congregation from back in the day) could, if we choose, from our position in Munster, step in and prevent those churches from closing their doors, at least for a while, with financial contributions. But does that make the most sense? What about the churches that have closed on the south side (also just around the corner from us) or which are closed in every sense but the legal and technical in Gary? We could mail them a check. But what would that do? From the perspective of the people who gave to the endowment fund, we want to send that money to something with a future. From the perspective of those who receive it, how can there be a future without money?

If we didn't have congregational polity a lot of these things wouild go more smoothly. Everybody could just be enraged at the bishop for closing this or that church and uniting with that one, but amid the anger the thing would happen. Not so for us. Congregational polity is a blessing and a curse, but it comes down on the curse side when it comes to unified efforts to minister in the inner cities.

I don't think this point about congregationalism can be stated enough.  We spent 5 years trying to build a city mission.  In three different iterations.  The seed money came from the large church because, well, that is who has the money and connections to get the money.  So the first two iterations were simply, what do you want to do large church?  When those failed rather obviously, there was almost enough for one more shot. And we had a bunch of knowledge.  We hired the right person.  We set about doing the right things.  We had a story.  And as I said in the beginning, the small churches in the suburbs would help, but it would take a story that wasn't just "we're keeping your lights on", because well, we have enough problems of our own with that sometimes.  And just as we were getting to where a sustainable funding would have to be (roughly 50% from the many small congregations and 50% from the one large), the one large decided they were tired of this particular ministry.  Keeping 15 congregations on the same page was tough.  It took a lot of communications work.  And the big dog still gets to call the shot.  In our case, we're tired of this, and indirectly of working with the rest of you.  In the lack of a strong central voice, or a kairos type event, it is tough.

The golden rule in effect - the one with the gold rules.

The semi-eternal nature of subsidy is part of the equation.  Overcoming that is always on the screen.  The methodology of a five year period with diminishing amounts in years 3, 4 and 5 seems somehow logical but usually isn't. 

And one of my chief bugaboos was sending the missionary/planter/pastor in the city out to raise funds with a goodly chunk of his time.  I always found that to be counterproductive to the main thing, which was the mission itself.  Keep the guy and the team on the ground where they're doing the work.  Do not pull them away to become salespeople for themselves.  That's a prime irritant to me.  And yet, of course, that's the way the "business plan" has morphed at this end of the age.  I dislike it greatly at every level. 

When we started a Spanish language mission at St. Peter's way back in the day,
a) I had to learn some Spanish  a1) we had to pass it by the church assembly - VERY hard, but it finally went through
b) we started it on a shoestring and it was working ok
c) we got a national grant (!) from the Stamps for Mission program through a guy named Carlos Puig
d) we hired a staff person.  More people came
e) staff person left.
f) we got another grant, from the district
g) associate pastor brought in.  More people came
h) associate pastor left.
i) I took over and promised to preach in Spanish without notes in 6 months.  Made good on promise, with many, many blunders.
j) more people came.

So - internal to a congregation, we utilized outside grants but in bursts as needed, and had the budget and structure and facility to sustain the endeavor.  The best we did, I think, was around $20000 in offerings from the Spanish group.  Which was enough to balance off the whole thing financially.  The key at that time, was the phrase "more people came."  And the key to that was that the pastor (me) lived in the neighborhood and the parishioners were happy to receive the new families some of whom became congregational leaders.  That's a ten year time-frame.

Dave Benke


peter_speckhard

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2017, 02:52:49 PM »
Jesus told us, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

As Christians we have been guilty of ethnic, economic, and social prejudice.
We can criticize people  because they are on food stamps and welfare and do
not have a job.  Yet our religious snobbery fails to understand their individual
circumstances.  Perhaps their job was eliminated  at the factory  or they have
severe health problems and are unable to work at the present time.

Bottom Line:  The Church is commanded to continue the mission of Jesus.
As we repent of our self-righteous pride, then we can reach out to those
who are alienated from God.   We can share the Good News of Jesus with
sinners who need to hear the Gospel message.
True. And no doctor is worse than the one who affirms the sickness instead of treating it with a view toward health in mind.

I may move in different circles online but I haven't heard any Lutheran pastors mocking single mothers or criticizing the unemployed. But even to have proper sympathy for the unemployed you have to understand that in general being employed is better than being unemployed. In other words, there is a reason we refer to it as the "problem" of unemployment. Pretty much everyone (maybe a rare exception here or there) gets that without being told. But if we came across people who didn't understand that unemployment is a problem and were content to simply plan their lives around welfare instead of work, they would need to be taught a better way.

Societally we are at that point, not with how people think about employment but with how they think about the nuclear family. People need to be taught that it is a better way because not everyone simply knows that anymore. The problem isn't even treated as a problem but as a fact of life. This applies across the board; it is in no way an inner-city thing. It is just that the devastation caused by the lack of traditional nuclear families can be papered over by affluence in other settings, so the hurt doesn't show up societally as much.

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2017, 03:40:50 PM »
Peter, what you say:
 But even to have proper sympathy for the unemployed you have to understand that in general being employed is better than being unemployed. In other words, there is a reason we refer to it as the "problem" of unemployment. Pretty much everyone (maybe a rare exception here or there) gets that without being told. But if we came across people who didn't understand that unemployment is a problem and were content to simply plan their lives around welfare instead of work, they would need to be taught a better way.

This may well be academically correct and even workable sometimes and helpful.  But the 95 year old who has cancer may not need to be taught that surgery and radiation will be helpful but allowed to die of cancer with dignity and whatever comfort medical help can allow.  The woman who kept a house that was absolutely filthy by almost every standard and asked me always when visiting to sit in the very furniture she had accidents on (Wangerin and I are classmates in more than story telling) could not be taught to be tidy and I had to learn to sit, wear wash and wear slacks and eat and drink whatever she placed before me most of time no matter how clean the glass or plate looked to my suburban eyes.  And the church willingly and lovingly provided for her medical and rental and food needs-- with joy.  And she loved the Lord and us. 

Understanding is a many splendored and splattered thing. 

We give without seeking reward or eliciting change even as our Lord did without know whether the world or any in it would love him or serve him, much less well and always. 
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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2017, 04:05:46 PM »

Synod leadership for Mission Field: USA works in conjunction with districts to carry out their work.  Also, I can state emphatically that the guy overseeing Synod's work in the city sees individual souls in need of healing and could care less about stereotypes of gangs, violence, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc.  I've been reading on social media some pretty scathing things out of the mouths of LCMS pastors and laity about single mothers, and it saddens me that we have to stereotype in seemingly hateful ways instead of looking deeper at the causes of single parenthood and the fractured family and respond with compassion to their plight.  It's all many know, and education is key to bringing stability back to the family.

As for moving towards the city, well, the church should be moving where the people are moving (pp. 4-16) . . . and it's to the city!  Plus, multiple people groups are concentrated more and more within the city . . . what an opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ.

Thanks for this, Deaconess. Your husband is about some real good work. Prayers for that work ascend.

M. Staneck
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Dave Likeness

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2017, 04:11:51 PM »
Much of the recorded public ministry of Jesus Christ was to the marginalized in society.
Jesus reached out to those who were excluded or rejected by Jewish society and religious
leaders.  These people were given low status and often labeled "sinners".   These social
outcasts included tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes, demon-possessed, Samaritans, widows,
beggars, and women.  Yet, Jesus encountered them and called them to repentance.

There is no doubt that many who live in the inner city are the "marginalized" people of the
21st century America.   However, Christ died on the cross for their sins and rose from the
grave to give eternal life to all who believe in Him.  Christ will be present in the inner city
when we come to them with a Word and Sacrament ministry.   As denominations make the
inner city a priority, we will be sharing the love of Christ with them.

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2017, 05:43:11 PM »
Peter, what you say:
 But even to have proper sympathy for the unemployed you have to understand that in general being employed is better than being unemployed. In other words, there is a reason we refer to it as the "problem" of unemployment. Pretty much everyone (maybe a rare exception here or there) gets that without being told. But if we came across people who didn't understand that unemployment is a problem and were content to simply plan their lives around welfare instead of work, they would need to be taught a better way.


Some years ago (so the amount may be higher today) I visited with an unemployed, single mother of one. She stated that she needed a job that paid at least $13.00/hour with benefits to give her child medical coverage - for her to see the job as being better than welfare. Does she need to be taught a better way - or do businesses? She was able to get a job that met those criteria.

"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2017, 07:08:49 PM »

Some years ago (so the amount may be higher today) I visited with an unemployed, single mother of one. She stated that she needed a job that paid at least $13.00/hour with benefits to give her child medical coverage - for her to see the job as being better than welfare. Does she need to be taught a better way - or do businesses? She was able to get a job that met those criteria.

Sociologists will say what she really needs for the welfare of her child is to be married to its father.  Which is, interestingly enough, what most people expect the church to teach, too.

Pax, Steven+
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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2017, 07:24:05 PM »

Synod leadership for Mission Field: USA works in conjunction with districts to carry out their work.  Also, I can state emphatically that the guy overseeing Synod's work in the city sees individual souls in need of healing and could care less about stereotypes of gangs, violence, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc.  I've been reading on social media some pretty scathing things out of the mouths of LCMS pastors and laity about single mothers, and it saddens me that we have to stereotype in seemingly hateful ways instead of looking deeper at the causes of single parenthood and the fractured family and respond with compassion to their plight.  It's all many know, and education is key to bringing stability back to the family.

As for moving towards the city, well, the church should be moving where the people are moving (pp. 4-16) . . . and it's to the city!  Plus, multiple people groups are concentrated more and more within the city . . . what an opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ.

Thanks for this, Deaconess. Your husband is about some real good work. Prayers for that work ascend.

M. Staneck

This post and your post, Pastor Staneck, were filled with a lot of promise.  Thank you!

To move slightly away from this, I perceive - and I don't think it is intentional - a sense of looking at the single mother as contributing to the breakdown of the nuclear family.   What about fathers?

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2017, 08:04:43 PM »
Much of the recorded public ministry of Jesus Christ was to the marginalized in society.
Jesus reached out to those who were excluded or rejected by Jewish society and religious
leaders.  These people were given low status and often labeled "sinners".   These social
outcasts included tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes, demon-possessed, Samaritans, widows,
beggars, and women.  Yet, Jesus encountered them and called them to repentance.

There is no doubt that many who live in the inner city are the "marginalized" people of the
21st century America.   However, Christ died on the cross for their sins and rose from the
grave to give eternal life to all who believe in Him.  Christ will be present in the inner city
when we come to them with a Word and Sacrament ministry.   As denominations make the
inner city a priority, we will be sharing the love of Christ with them.

Thank you for this.  There should be much more of this kind of talk in our church body over and above putting down people who are making choices based on the only lifestyle they've ever known.  The church can show them a better way.  In no way do we dismiss un-Godly behavior . . . we find inroads to catechize individuals in ways that avoid self-righteous and sanctimonious behavior.  Nothing shuts down a conversation (and potential educational opportunity) more quickly than a judgmental and condescending attitude.  Jesus modeled a better way, one that we can emulate.  One can stand firm on the tenets of the faith, apply the Law and Gospel as needed, and still exhibit love towards one's neighbor.

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: The Church in the Inner-City - Can We Keep that Presence?
« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2017, 08:12:51 PM »
To move slightly away from this, I perceive - and I don't think it is intentional - a sense of looking at the single mother as contributing to the breakdown of the nuclear family.   What about fathers?

My comment was intentional towards single mothers because it's a sore spot with me at the moment.   ;D  I've seen some atrocious comments made publicly on social media (um, if you choose to use a profile picture of you wearing a collar, please represent your church better) lately about women living in poverty in "ghettos".  It's clear people who do so do not have a solid grasp of the plight of those living under these conditions.  Once you understand the condition, you can more effectively minister to them.  But I get it that for some it's easier to sit behind a computer screen and pass judgement rather than rolling up their sleeves and contributing to the solution.  Bless those of you who do so regularly.