Friday, August 29, 2008

Six Blocks

For several years my wife and I lived near 47th and Oak in Kansas City, Missouri. I would often go out for walks. If I walked three blocks to the west I would pass Mercedes and Porches along the curb. If I walked three blocks east, I would pass old sofas and refrigerators along the curb.

The contrast could not be more startling. Without leaving my zip code, I could see people in the highest social-economic and the lowest social-economic situations. Within in a few blocks there were people who appeared to be completely oblivious to the other group’s situation; and they certainly didn’t understand each other.

To the impartial observer like me, who cannot really relate to either group, it is clearly not a matter of opportunity in the geographical sense, but possibly lack of opportunity in the culture sense.

If your culture says that talking to the police makes you a snitch, you will live in a high crime neighborhood. If your culture tells you that excelling in school makes you uncool, you will have no education. If your culture tells you that having to be at work at 8:00 takes away your freedom, you will not have job.

If your culture tells you that dropping 100 grand on a car makes you important, you will do whatever it takes to get the wheels. If your culture tells you that a 10,000 square foot house is the definition of success, you will sacrifice your friends to get it.

Jesus came to free the captives from this culture of poverty and also from the culture of more is better. As Christians we need to find ways to point people to the truth that there is a better way to live.

To change the culture, don’t write laws – write songs.