“Isn’t that in a bad part of town?”
The little phrase “the bad part of town” needs to be removed from the Christian vocab. Why?
- It’s another phrase we use to rid ourselves of ownership and responsibility for needs of places and people. We can excuse and recuse ourselves so easily by throwing out “the bad part of town” qualifier.
- It speaks of places and people that I’ll go out of my way to avoid. Avoidance of a certain kind of people can usually be traced back to a heart issue. Fear, Racism, Anger. “Jesus had to go through Samaria” (John 4), when others would walk further to go around because of their heart issues.
- It communicates fear and risk that we’re not willing to take. Is there really “a bad part of town” or are they just places that Christians are not willing to go? I’m not ignoring crime rates, etc., but are we who carry the power of God within really supposed to be afraid to carry the Gospel of light somewhere? In my reading of the New Testament, I don’t see fear and risk aversion as part of the DNA of New Testament Christians.
- Is the Gospel only meant for safe neighborhoods? “God, here I am, send me! And here’s the places I’ll be willing to go.” Doesn’t make much sense, does it?
- If it’s so dangerous out there, who’s going to be afraid for the kids growing up there?
- By avoiding and labeling certain parts of town are we condemning people who live there to never have opportunity to change because of our self-protection.
Christianity is about others! And it’s about others with needs. And it’s about transformation. I don’t want to allow any stereotypical statement or mindset to keep me from being a part of what God wants to do in my community. There is no US and THEM. It’s just US. This is our town, our community, our city, our responsibility…
“I am UNDER OBLIGATION both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you… For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:14-16.
- It’s easy to talk about “the bad part of town.” Harder to pick up a hammer or paint brush, mentor a child, volunteer at a school.
- It’s easy to talk about “the bad part of town.” Harder to become a sponsor for an addict, teach a class at the jail, foster a child.