“It is true that we serve a king — King Jesus — who right now is enthroned in heaven. Right now. Ruling all things. And as an expression of his reign sends light and wind on the righteous and on the wicked alike. He’s giving gifts to people who are opposed to him. And what that means is, if that’s true of him, if we seek to inhabit his kingdom, where we seek the good not simply of ourselves, but of our neighbors… We are not trying to win; we are trying to love. Because of this, as we think about what it means to engage the city…, we have to remember that our goal is not cultural conquest; it is to seek the common good.”
— Greg Thompson
As we prepare to move fully into our new space on Medina Street, our desire and our prayer is to be good neighbors in the community in which our building is situated. Our desire is not to use or dominate the neighborhood, but rather to inhabit it as agents of God’s love in Christ. This requires that we become students of the neighborhood, learning its history, hearing its concerns, experiencing first-hand both its triumphs and its troubles. There are many of our neighbors here who have already long been laboring for the common good in the neighborhood, and who long for someone to join them.
This past Wednesday evening I attended the monthly meeting of the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Contact Team, which has been meeting since 1999. These meeting are held at the Terrazas Branch Library (on Cesar Chavez across the street from Cenote) and are open to the public; aside from the Neighborhood Contact Team itself, there were 30 or so residents, business owners, and officials in attendance. (I sat on a similar board for four years in Kansas City, and I don’t recall ever seeing that many neighbors present.) My goal was simply to listen and observe, and it was interesting to hear the concerns of the community that were expressed as potential developments were presented, new officers were voted in, and other issues were discussed.
You can read a quick introduction to the neighborhood on their website at http://eastcesarchavez.org/neighborhood-character/