New Hope Blog
We can learn a lot by reflecting on the patterns that have emerged in our lives. They can reveal our penchants, our likes and dislikes, as well as our strengths and weaknesses. Or, as in my case, they may indicate lessons that we still need to learn.
The initial reason we journey upstream is to get a better understanding of our world. The main benefit, however, is that we gain a better understanding of ourselves.
As we journey upstream, we must remember that everyone is captive to their own experiences. We can only truly know our own world: we merely believe that we understand the experiences of others. Our experiences, in turn, influence our perspectives.
Last time, we journeyed upstream to my boyhood home — Rochester, New York. Like every child, I believed that my hometown was the best city on earth. Many years later, I still believe I was fortunate to have grown up there, but I now have a more nuanced view. In the...
Yes, like all American cities, Rochester had an exceptional past, but it also has some truly ugly stories that have remained carefully untold. Stories that those neighbors and my own dad had never heard. The racial conflicts which spawned “white flight” were symptoms of deeper problems. As a Rochester citizen, Frederick Douglass, once said, “The thing that is worse than the rebellion is the thing that caused the rebellion.”
Kris and I felt led to start New Hope nearly 12 years ago. Early on in our ministry, one of my mentors shared the “River Babies” parable with me. His ministry was similar to ours, providing an after-school tutoring program for under-resourced children living on the...
Think of the individuals who have shaped your life the most. Who were they? Was it a teacher, a coach, a parent or another family member? Although we speak of self-made individuals, the reality is that all of us have been shaped by our past and present relationships: whether for good, or for evil.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus did not forbid us from protesting injustice. It’s how we make our appeal that matters. We may appeal for justice, but we must also love our oppressor.
Why did Jesus die? This question is not meant as a theological question. What was the immediate cause of His death? When speaking of an “immediate cause,” we are looking at the final act in a series of provocations. What was Jesus saying or doing that led to his crucifixion?
With the recent spate of racial protests in many cities, and violence in others, some might think these racial issues are fictions conjured up by politicians or the media. The reality is that in-group bias and racial prejudice are pervasive, and as old as humanity.