OK This is Amazing

Yesterday I got to be part of an AMAZING event called Go Cincinnati. 6500 people from Crossroads and 20 other churches spread out all over Cincinnati and did over 350 service projects for community organizations. My family worked at the City Gospel Mission.

True confessions.

The City Gospel Mission has been in Cincinnati for like 90 years or something. I have been around for roughly half that long and I have never even SEEN the Mission before yesterday. This is significant because 1. my parents, who had a fine drapery business for many years, provided window coverings for the CGM several times over the years. My dad used to take me on installations all the time, yet I never helped install at the Mission; 2. I have visited the beautiful Music Hall approximately 40 times in my life. The City Gospel Mission is THREE buildings away from Music Hall. How did I not realize this?, and 3. CGM is located in a part of town called Over-the-Rhine. This is not a part of town I have ever felt comfortable in. There is crime there. Crime, I tell you.

Lest any of my sensitive and caring readers think I am about to embark upon a self-flagellating tangent, that is not the point of this post.

There’s been a lot of change happening in my heart over the past four months, and my experience yesterday was another part of that change. I haven’t wanted to be anywhere near the city, gospel mission or not. It scares me. I have known all my life there are needs in the city — homeless people, hungry people — we all know about the needs in the city. But my fear has ruled. I haven’t taken the time or effort to press through that fear, to understand better about poverty and what it does to people. I have been guiltily content to stress about the admittedly small bumps in my daily life.

I got a taste yesterday of what the city is like when a lot of people come together in love to make a difference in their city. And since I received the grace to act in spite of the fear, I was so so so blessed.

I saw this guy sitting in his apartment, smoking a cigarette, with the window open, talking to a couple of guys on the sidewalk outside. No screen on the window. That tableau sort of epitomized for me what it might be like for someone to live in a city. You’re kind of always part of whatever’s going on.

I wouldn’t say I want to live in the city. But I would say that I’m feeling quite grateful that I got the glimpse yesterday that I got. Following Christ is going to be more religion than revolution if I just stay cloistered in my safe, warm, comfortable, luxurious life. I’ve had enough of religion and I’m going for the revolution.

4 thoughts on “OK This is Amazing

  1. Dear Siouxsie Sioux:

    Amazing article. Please see below…

    “I’ve had enough of religion and I’m going for the revolution.”

    I will never be a believer in god and have never seen any evidence that any of the characters in the bible ever existed historically. Jesus is a cool literary character. I see him as the Abbie Hoffman type who wanders around *sticking it to the man*.

    The power of the idea of Christ is evident in people like you, who use it for radical transformation of themselves and the world around them. Listening to other friends of mine have illuminated the process of Christianity as something equatable to psychoanalysis. It is a way to know oneself, and through the knowing, the Christian is catalyzed to make a contribution to the wider world.

    In some sense, it has been interesting to get old. All my peers, who took such different roads, and who were left behind so many years ago, are suddenly appearing in my life doing exactly the same things I am. We wandered in different directions, but are coming to the same conclusion; which is the one you’re appreciating in this article.

    Heidegger (the first atheist existentialist) described it as *care*, which is the only thing in his philosophy which can give any legitimate meaning to the things we feeble humans might attempt.

    I give a damn, therefore I am!

    Peace,

    Grégoire

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  2. Gregoire — Thank you for your comment. It has been MANY years since my college philosophy class, so although I recognize Heidegger’s name, I am not conversant in the slightest with his philosophy.

    I found your comments very interesting and I spent some time thinking about what you said.

    In my younger days, I would have hopped right onto “proving” my position. But mainly, I just wanted to be able to have some sort of intelligent response to your over-my-head discussion. 🙂

    Here’s my response. I love hearing that the power of Christ is evident in my life and my prayer is that it will continue to be so.

    Also — love the nickname!

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  3. If my comments seem over your head it’s only because I’m not a very skillful communicator.

    ‘I love hearing that the power of Christ is evident in my life and my prayer is that it will continue to be so.’

    If I were to pray, I’d pray that more people who pray might pray your own prayer, or one like it.

    Heidegger’s idea was that nothing means anything. Because our lives seem meaningless, it is our job to make them mean something. He coined the word authenticity to describe someone (like you) who makes a conscious effort to rise above the mediocre. This, he said, leads to being (dasein) and the act of being leads to caring about the world and one’s fellow man.

    Anyway, I always enjoy reading articles like these when I find them. It’s quite rare to find anyone these days who can care about anything more substantive than the winner of American Idol.

    Peace, G

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