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Houston, TX


Urban Rant

Mark Junkans

If we want urban ministries to succeed,
we must quit looking at the city as a place of consummate evil, doom and gloom;
a place to bulldozed and created anew.

Instead we must view the city as a place where God is present;
where love, beauty and grace do abound;
a place where the seeds of salvation are already planted and need only to be nourished.

Now I am not naïve.
Poverty and misery do exist in the city.
But to view the city as only a place of evil
is to mis-color our perspective and send us down a ministry path
filled with big budget projects of redemption, which usually fail,
as opposed to a ministry path of planting seeds which can grow and survive.

Traditional downtowns and historic neighborhoods frequently are used or lived in by people of color and immigrants. In most circles of power, including the church, this is often interpreted as “urban decay”. This thinking makes it difficult to recognize the value of a place, and even God’s presence, when the dominant user or resident is not white or middle class. It’s only when the community is gentrified with a new white and/or middle class that the community is now considered worthy, good and even "saved."

So what lies before us
is not an easy task.
What may be new
is that we need to rethink our theological foundations,
challenge the theological foundations of our sisters and brothers,
and as part of that challenge create ministries that refuse to succumb
to data collections, quarterly membership reports, big money, one size fits all big program/building projects.
And instead focus on simple, creative, risky, down home, everyday
ministries that builds relationships with people and in so doing transform
neighborhoods into communities filled with the loving grace and presence
that stands as a witness to our God and Savior.

--taken from-