Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

Dallas, Texas and Detroit, Michigan have a lot in common. Both cities are dominated by minority populations, while the Anglo majority lives in a safe series of suburbs outside the city limits. Both cities are deeply divided by race and class; both live with the anger, pain, and fear those divisions create. For both cities, the 1960's represent a tragic acceleration of those evils which still scar them both.
But for Detroit, the 60's are memories of burned down businesses, blacks and whites murdered in cold blood, whole neighborhoods bulldozed, and hate spewed back and forth across the divisions until the hate talk was the only talking done.
In Dallas, no business (that I know of, correct me if you know more) was burned. The anger, pain and fear drove white flight, but did not erupt into widespread physical violence.
In Detroit, I know a white pastor who walks and prays his neighborhood with his congregation, seeking to love in Christ his neighbors who are not like him. Their ministry of reconciliation in Christ is struggling; he has been threatened at gunpoint for knocking on the wrong door.
As I write this, teams of two are out walking our neighborhood, white and black together. No one has ever been threatened; they will pray with many neighbors today if the past is any predictor. The Lord is blessing the ministry of reconciliation in Christ here, as OCPC grows in numbers and in depth of understanding of Christ's call and commands.
I write this for this reason: the conflicts on the homosexual ordination issue inside the PC(USA) will resolve one day. If the way we fight is with guns and bombs (rhetorical and sometimes all too real), the wounds from this conflict may never heal. While it may seem to many to be betrayal, I believe that a moderated, reconciling response to this conflict is the only Christ-like response to this time in our history in the PC(USA). If we cannot heal this division, let us at least live through the conflict inflicting the least amount of damage possible.

1 comment:

  1. Clay, as we walked the neighborhood this morning praying for and with the neighbors we truly felt the presence of Jesus walking with us. We prayed with young and old, black and white and were welcomed at every door that opened. We never felt threatened. God bless you as you lead us by your example of obeying God's call.

    Pat Clay