I have been a dormant blogger lately, which I apologize for! From a writing standpoint, I have been hard at work on my newest book project with Intervarsity Press, entitled “White Awake.” I am very excited with the progress, and if all goes well it will be out in October 2017.
On the church side, one of the most exciting endeavors over the past couple of years has been the rapid growth of R CITY, our sister, community development corporation. Led by Elizabeth Galik and Brandon Green, this organization is doing incredible work in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood. The vision of R CITY is to bring together the best of our city to build a path for families to walk from cradle to career to the glory of God.
Walking with young ones from cradle to career is no small feat, and we are made daily aware of the spectacular challenges facing many of the families in our community. But we are also daily reminded of the beauty and resiliency of our young people, and are really excited about watching so many of them grow.
We ran a number of programs this summer, one of which was an apprenticeship opportunity for young people looking to develop professional skills. One of the tracks was for apprentices that wanted to work with professional video editors and software coders to document our time together. They designed and coordinated interviews, covered programs, edited for content and length. The video below was created by these apprentices, and serves a double purpose of showcasing their work and celebrating stories of transformed lives in West Humboldt Park!
I’m thankful for all the amazing work happening at R CITY, and truly believe lives are being transformed. If you are looking for an up and coming ministry to invest in as this year comes to a close, I would highly recommend R CITY. You can learn more here.
I am a lifelong Chicagoan, a pastor at River City Community Church, and an author who writes a lot about resisting and confronting white supremacy from a faith lens.
Our church was founded in January of 2003 in the west Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, and is centered on the core values of worship, reconciliation, and neighborhood development. We long to see increased spiritual renewal as well as social and economic justice in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and entire city, demonstrating compassion and alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God. It is also through the gift of this faith community that I have learned to see the profound historical and spiritual impact of the stronghold of white supremacy, and where I have been challenged to broaden and deepen my understanding of discipleship in the hopes of becoming a serious enough Christ follower who is able to meaningfully participate with those who have risen up in defiance of this evil principality.
The lessons learned in this journey have been captured in a pair of books on race. The first, White Awake, explores the barriers that white people tend to face – white Christians specifically – when we attempt to awaken to and understand white supremacy through a faith lens. I spend a lot of time here addressing the internal defenses that are bound to go off when this journey is taken seriously, and I chart out a path for developing a resilient spirit that steadfastly moves towards truth, justice, and equity. The second, White Lies, further builds out the path for the white Christian who longs to actively participate in the resistance and confrontation of white supremacy. I spend a lot of time here exploring why it is so hard to tell the truth about race, as well as expose the lies that sustain it, within white, Christian, Bible-believing environments. I then propose nine practices that position us for engaging in this task.
On the personal front, my career started in the marketplace, as I was part of three dot.com startups in the 90’s. My vocational path shifted when I joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in 1998, and I spent five years working there. I started River City Community Church in January 2003 and have been happily serving here ever since. On the education front, my undergrad was in Business (Purdue University), my graduate degree in theology (Moody Bible Institute), and my doctoral degree in community development (Northern Seminary). On the family front, my wife is a Professor of Psychology, and we have two amazing children (Xander and Gabriella).
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