Sunday, December 20, 2009

Disrupt us.

I was asked the other day whether or not it bothered and angered me to be ministering at Wake Forest University- where, inside the gated campus, there is extreme wealth, as well as some of the most highly educated people in the country.

I went to Los Angeles 2 years ago where I spent time with the poorest of the poor. The only gates I can remember were the ones at Nickerson Gardens (the projects), which kept gang members out and kept me alive.

So, how do I go from project-housing and poverty to one of the most prestigious universities in the country, and not get annoyed?

I looked at her and smiled a little bit for asking the question, because it's something that I have definitely thought about. The things I saw and people I interacted with in Los Angeles have been branded onto my heart and I can't help but think about them as I drive onto Wake's campus each day. I had two things to say in response...

First: I'm rich, too. I may not be rich compared to people around me but I am sickeningly rich compared to the majority of the world that lives on less than $2 a day. I've been told that the NUMBER ONE way to determine a person's spiritual life is by THEIR WALLET. So, before I look to the person next to me...what does my own wallet look like?

Second: When I look into the eyes of the students and athletes that I work with everyday, I see the same eyes that stared back at me as I walked on the streets of Skid Row. Same eyes, newer clothes. Same eyes, bigger house. Same eyes, thicker wallet. Same eyes, different lifestyle.

Same eyes...same lostness...same confusion.

Wake Forest is Skid Row with money. Our whole country is Skid Row with money. I love being at Wake just as much as I loved being on Skid Row. It's about the people. All of them are searching. They all want to be known and loved. The poverty doesn't do it, the wealth doesn't do it...only Jesus can give what the souls behind all of those eyes are screaming for. LIFE.

So, how can I NOT love them the same? Rich or poor, every heart is starving.

"I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
I join the oppressors of those who i choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
and that’s not just murder it’s suicide
this too shall be made right..." - Derek Webb ('This too Shall be Made Right')