Town Hall Meeting on Violence

Last week, a brand new organization called “Stand Up for Something” hosted a town hall meeting to address the concerns of violence and community safety in the cities of North Chicago, Waukegan, and Zion.  This awareness/activism group was founded in August by Zion resident Ciera McNeal (daughter of two Chicago police officers) in response to an alarming upsurge of violence in these under-resourced communities.  Mayors, police chiefs, state elected officials, political candidates, and community members – including several current and former Trinity students and Faith Alive participants – gathered together.  For two hours, those in attendance presented and listened to several official statements, a brief homily, a commemoration of loved ones who had been murdered, along with many fervent comments and incisive questions.

Those who spoke touched on many themes.  Some dealt with the importance of not being afraid to speak up and report crimes to the police.  Others addressed the destructive enmeshment of gangs, guns, and drugs.  Multiple people repeatedly emphasized the necessity of raising, disciplining, educating, and caring for children so that they don’t get involved in the street life.  In general, people spoke respectfully and gave great honor to the civic leaders present, although the loudest corporate applause and affirmation was reserved for a young woman who passionately called them to task with these words: “You’re our elected officials! So make the right decisions and talk with the people who make the decisions!” Other memorable quotes from the evening included: “This isn’t a black and white thing, it’s a green thing”; “Parents should be the ones to whup their kids, because the police might not know when to stop”; and “Slow and steady pressure will change things in the neighborhood.”

And throughout the evening, a composite picture of brokenness emerged, with each person offering another brushstroke that brought to painful clarity the complex interconnectedness of multiple issues – historic racism and discrimination, falling levels of income and property values, unemployment, inequity in standards of education, the breakdown of the family, gangs, and spiritual principalities and powers.  The general tone was a poignant mix of hopeful optimism (that so many people and organizations were ready to unite for the common purpose to combat violence), vibrant faith (that God is on our side and ready to help us when we turn to him), deep frustration (that justice isn’t being served because people aren’t reporting the information that they know about crime, and that elected officials have not yet discovered the effective means to stop it), and some strong hints of despair – the unspoken questions of “Is this ever going to end? Will our children have a future? When will God act on our behalf?” could be felt.

As we debriefed our time afterwards, several different emotions surfaced – excitement that this meeting was held and that the cathartic expression of perspectives transpired; sobriety at the multifaceted issues that have converged on these beloved communities; and deep sadness at the pain and brokenness that people continue to experience, with no relief in sight.  I was struck by the desperate need that we have for God’s Spirit to move – in our lives, our churches, and our communities – in order for there to be lasting transformation and renewal.  The problems that North Chicago, Waukegan, and Zion face are spiritual, structural, and social; therefore any solutions must address all of these aspects, with God as the primary actor.  But I was also deeply moved by the remembrance of 1 Corinthians 12:26 (If one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it).  I cannot ignore violence, substandard education, poverty, and discrimination simply because they are not part of my background and typical experience.  I must concern myself with these issues because they affect my fellow Christians.  Many of the people who gathered at last week’s meeting were believers, part of the body of Christ.  This part of the body is suffering; am I willing to suffer with it?

By Joshua Beckett

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God at Work in North Chicago Audio

Praise the Lord for this powerful evening of unified worship!  We began the night with corporate worship, prayer and a short devotional from Romans 12. This was a special time.

Jennifer from North Chicago Community Partners set the tone by outlining the needs and joys of the city.  Luke followed by sharing about the new church plant in Waukegan.   Jodi continued by giving a moving account of the importance of relationships in ministry and shared how that has played out through the ministry of Passion Outreach. Pastor Harry concluded by powerfully encouraging us to use the gifts God has given us by seeing with “sacrificial sight” and living lives of compassion.  So from the secular non-profit to the parachurch to the new church plant to the established church, God is at work in North Chicago and Waukegan! Praise the Lord!

“What we’re talking about is souls…On the other end of every conversation is a soul.” -Pastor Harry

Jennifer Grumhaus North Chicago Community Partners

Luke McFadden Waukegan Church Plant

Jodi Wilterdink Passion Outreach

Pastor Harry Stackhouse The Sign of the Dove

May the Lord bless you as you listen! “What do you see?” -Pastor Harry

Posted in evangelism, Faith Alive audio, Jesus, Kingdom, North Chicago, poverty | Leave a comment

Justice in the Christian Life?

This is a great article (thanks for the link Jennifer Aycock!) that examines “the cultural and theological forces behind the new interest in justice.”  Here is one quote I found powerful:

“The greater the church’s action in the world, the deeper the theological and spiritual wisdom needed to undergird it.”  In reading this, I couldn’t help but see the crucial role of TEDS in equipping future pastors and ministry leaders for faithful gospel ministry in word and deed.

Looking forward to your comments!

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God at Work in North Chicago

God is working deeply within Trinity and the community of North Chicago! Faith Alive is hosting several service and ministry leaders as they give testimony to God’s incredible work in North Chicago and the opportunities for Trinity students to use their gifts in this city!  Tuesday, 9/28, 7:30-9:00 pm in the ATO Chapel.

Hosting Pastor Harry Stackhouse (The Sign of the Dove Church), Jennifer Grumhaus (North Chicago Community Partners), Luke McFadden (TEDS grad and Waukegan church planter), and Jodi Wilterdink (Passion Outreach)

Posted in Events, gospel, love | 1 Comment

Dr. Roy speaks on Worship and Justice

In September 2010, Dr. Roy spoke to Faith Alive on the topic of Worship and Justice.  May the Lord bless you as you listen!

Dr Roy Worship and Justice

Director of Publications at Trinity, Rob Moll wrote a blog post on the event

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The Gospel and Social Action

In March 2009, Dr. Carson spoke to Faith Alive on the topic of the Gospel and Social Action. 

Dr Carson Gospel and Social Action

In April 2010, Dr. Fields spoke on the same topic and responded to Dr. Carson’s talk.

Dr. Fields Gospel and Social Action

May the Lord bless you as you listen! Love to hear your thoughts via comments!

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Dr. Cha speaks on Isaiah 58

In January 2009, Dr. Cha spoke to Faith Alive from the Scripture Isaiah 58.  May the Lord bless you as you listen!

Dr Cha – Isaiah58

Posted in Faith Alive audio, justice, mercy, peace | Leave a comment