Perspective. That is what it is all about. The Awesome Pastor shared a message of perspective today and it struck a chord with me. I have never been interested in seeing Detroit, even when it was thriving. But now, after a force-feeding of bleak images and horror stories in the media, an excursion to Detroit seems like a sad joke. Today, my perspective was challenged and changed. What if we start viewing Detroit not as a sinkhole, but as an opportunity? Not as bankrupt, but as ready to rebuild? Not as a slow death, but as a rebirth?
All the stories of Detroit, and Flint, and Gary, and Dayton, and all the other struggling cities in the derisively named Rust Belt miss one very important detail… people. The recession and poverty that have settled onto these cities hurt and affect people. People who have families, who struggle to feed those families, who struggle to find stable employment, who keep hearing over and over again how they are “moochers” on society for accepting welfare, who make things work in the face of overwhelming challenges, who find love and joy in living life, who take pride in the achievements of their children. These are human beings who laugh and cry and live. And THEY are Detroit. And Flint. And the Pine Creek Reservation. And North Minneapolis. And Gary. And wherever you live. They deserve opportunity and hope as much as you do.
It seems to me that the people who ask, “Why should my taxes go to people who don’t work?”, are asking the wrong question. What they should be asking is, “In the monetarily richest country in the world, why do we still have so many people struggling and unable to feed their families?” The first question is asked from a position where the individual asking the question is at the center. The second question puts the issue at the center, where we can begin to work on it. Perspective is everything.
The Youth Gathering for our church is taking place in Detroit and will provide a huge influx of money and community service while they are there. I pray that they inspire the service to continue in Detroit. Love is there already, God is present there. But the people of Detroit need help, and support, and opportunity. The Youth will be showing us the way, do we have the strength and will to follow?
How can we each work to build up places that are in need of rebirth? What can we do to provide hope to those who need to know there is opportunity where they live? I wish I had an answer, but maybe the most immediate thing we can do is to remember them in our prayers, keep them in our thoughts, consider them when we contribute to charity, in who we support for public office, in what we do for people in need in our own communities. And maybe we can visit our own “Detroit” and find the beauty that we missed there.