Thursday, November 11, 2010

Work of The People

As my last post stated, we are moving to the St. Louis area. It feels even more official now. Last weekend we went down to the area to find a place to rent, and instead in a whirlwind decision bought an old 3 story 6 bedroom house, sight unseen. It was a wonderful deal, and a perfect match to our wishes. The house is located in an multi-ethnic under-resourced neighborhood, only about 10 minutes from my family. Boy, does it need A LOT of work!

The house has been closed up for the past three years and is most definitely not ready for occupancy. It needs new floors on the main floor. New bathroom fixtures will be necessary in many places. Our basement, which is currently two of the bedrooms and storage space will have to be gutted and redesigned as 3 bedrooms. At this point we have no plans to address the problems (other than broken pipes if necessary) on the top floor. We have mold to remove, walls to paint, and a kitchen to re-imagine. It is not an understatement to say our work is cut out for us.

Yet, we are inspired. This has been a dream of our for a long time. We believe in the CCDA's 3Rs (Relocation, Redistribution, Reconciliation). We believe our children should be raised in an ethnically heterogeneous environment. Our dream is to be a people of love, grace, and hospitality in the abandoned places of empire.

It did not take long before we heard the "warnings." "Do they know what neighborhood that's in?" "Franklin is a rough school." "That house is in downtown." "Those old houses are nothing but problems." Each comment designed to remind us of how "wrong" this decision is. On one hand, I repeat to myself the quote I recently heard, "If your Christianity doesn't look scandalous you are doing it wrong." On the other, I am such an ingrained part of this I do feel the discontent of walking in a path that is not "safe."

We are comforted, following in the lead of other friends who have walked this path before us. Our friends Will & Lisa Samson inspire us. Others too, have cut a trail that makes this seem much more imaginable, and we are thankful for them.

Two years ago, we started a journey toward Africa, that was not to be at this time. In many ways though that was the first step toward this dream that is swirling in our heads today. It reminded us that we are part of a story not of an empire people but of a wilderness people. We are not a people of ivory towers, but a people of meals, beds, people & dirty hands.

We have work, but we are excited to embrace it!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Moving To St. Louis

For some time now our family has been debating the idea of moving down to St. Louis. Family is very important to me, and a move there puts us much closer to both sets of grandparents while also staying in a major metropolitan area. In St. Louis, where my parents already live, the kids will be immersed in a much more holistic family environment than we are able to provide as a family island here in Chicago. Additionally, we will be able to see my wife's family with much greater regularity being only a few hours from Nashville. So although this is a blessing on many levels for our family, we have not taken the plunge until now. It has for us however become evident we as a family are standing at a crossroads of several events professionally and personally that make it clear, now is the time for action.

So on December 18th a mere 46 days away, we will make the move to the St. Louis area. To tell you the truth, we need your help. Simply speaking, we need friends here in Chicagoland to help us load the truck, and we need friends in St. Louis to help us unload the truck. I need IT consulting work. If you are connected to a small business or non-profit that currently outsources your IT I ask that you would talk to the decision makers about giving my services a chance. I have 9 years experience in small business IT. Working in a small business environment I am proficient both as a web-application developer and as a network / PC technician.

To those of you here in Chicagoland we will leave behind. We will miss you! Many of you are dearly loved and we hope you will make our home a stop on your journey when you are passing through St. Louis. To those in St. Louis I am looking forward to rekindling old friendships and making new ones as well, so I hope you will make time soon to come share our table and see what community we build together.

Blessings and Peace!