Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 2.18.15 – How Do You Think About Your Neighborhood?

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I’d assume many of my blog’s readers live in the Akron area, if not the Kenmore area of Akron directly. We’re in our fourteenth year of living here in Kenmore. In that time, we’ve come to love it here. You heard me right:

I love living in Kenmore.

Am I ignorant? Am I stupid? Am I crazy? Don’t I know that crazy difficult things happen here? Don’t I know that a lot of people have given up on Kenmore and use it as a punch line?

If you think I don’t know that, you’re the one who’s crazy. Of course I know all that. But I love living here. And no (as far as I know) I’m not crazy.

I want to challenge how you talk about neighborhoods. Your neighborhood, your city. How do you talk about where you live compared to other places? Are other places better, worse? Why? Do certain statistics make certain places better or worse? Why?

These questions bear asking and demand your thinking. My title and brief challenge remain simply this: how do you talk about your neighborhood?

A couple quick thoughts about neighborhoods:

1. If where you live is better than somewhere else, it may not stay that way.

Neighborhoods change. Cities change. Some places prosper or decline based on economics, spirituality, and many other factors. If the place you live in has good things, it will take community support and effort to maintain them.

But unforeseen circumstances may cause the place you live to receive bad press and negative fallout. It happens; read the history books.

2. If you joke about other places, remember this:

Someone cares about the people living there. God does too.

The very worst places on earth that seem like they’re totally God-forsaken have someone who cares about the people living there. And no, I’m not suggesting Kenmore is the worst place on earth.

It would come across as mindless for me to suggest everyone had to live in Kenmore, to feel the same burden I do, to love the people and desire the great things I desire for them. I’ve seen plenty of people come and go from Kenmore, and I’ve remained friends with many as they come and go.

But what gets me is when people talk down on this place or that place based on a random news headline or a crime report and they think they know the heart of the neighborhood. A stretch of bad publicity doesn’t make a neighborhood anymore than it makes a sports franchise (Patriots, anyone?).

People live in neighborhoods. And people in struggling neighborhoods are people – real people with real pasts, problems, needs, personalities, and (drum roll please) . . . gifts! People in the worst neighborhoods have gifts, talents, abilities, hopes, dreams, and desires. They may be buried a bit deeper than in places of higher material success and educational credentials, but they exist.

And God knows those people. And He cares about them. Please think about that as you talk about different places, even the place where you live.

3. Help people see how great your community is, and be a part of it.

My friend Steve and I wrote four articles which will appear in our “Kenmore Connection” newspaper throughout 2015. You can read them here. Steve wrote from his perspective and I wrote from mine. The reason we did this was to help people think of the great things that make up our community. Some of these  get noticed, others don’t. We hope people will think differently about Kenmore.

Will we ever change those bent on negativity and slamming a place like Kenmore because it makes them feel better? Unlikely. But a challenge to the way people think about, talk about, and participate in their local community is always in order. The challenges we wrote to Kenmore could be applied (with a little tweaking) to many communities. Bottom line? Great people can be found anywhere.

Think. Would the majority of people in your community be sad or glad if they found out you had to move tomorrow? Would they even notice?

Act. Read the articles we wrote about our community.and think about the place where you live. How can you contribute to your community instead of simply taking up space?

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