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January 21, 2014

Why Do You Love The City?

Can't Skyline of downtown Raleigh, NC
Can't believe it really has been over two months since my last post. Ugh, not good. It's certainly not due to a lack of thought or inspiration. To be honest, this "transition chapter" of my life has been wrought with sloppiness and difficult times. I will share more about that in the next post or two...hopefully. But I need to write. I find this compulsion inside of me to blog all the time. I like to develop rhythms in my life, but whenever that compulsion to write that is within me comes, it's never at a good time. I know then that is exactly the time to write, but I have 2 kids and other life responsibilities that have to be seated in a higher priority. So that's that. Hello again.

So let's talk about "The City." I'll tell you why I love the city, but I really can't do it in one sentence. I love the city (be it Chicago, Portland, Miami, Baltimore, Raleigh or wherever), because of the people and fusing of cultures. I love the hustle n' bustle. I love the crazy antics people will pull off on a street corner. I love the people watching. I love the culture and events that big cities have. I love that there's always someone new to meet. I love hearing the interesting stories of others around me. I love feeling like a small fish in a big pond. I love the energy of big cities. I love street dancers. I love street people. I love the many coffee shops. I love the bars and cool bartenders. I love dancing and nightclubs. I love big beautiful and historic churches. I love tall building and skyline views. I love the nooks and crannies that cities have to offer. I love finding a quiet place in the midst of the the ruckus. I love the city.

Let me be real about some things though. There is plenty about city life that I certainly do not love. I don't like the high cost of parking. I don't like the way people litter the streets of cities. I hate the way police comb the streets looking for parking violations. There is plenty can be overwhelming and unpleasant about city life.

Regardless of what city you might be in, one thing that is true for all cities, a city is nothing without the people who are in it. A city is its people. People are social creatures (with the exception of few nutballs out there) to their core and I like cities for the same reason everyone else does- They like being around other people. Spoiler Alert: If you like "a scene" and being around others, then a city is perfect for you. #ThanksCaptainObvious. 

Big cities, as fantastic as they are, also have big problems. The "elephant in the room" is what to do with all them poor people?!?!  It's an age-old dilemma. IMHO, it's the blending or fusing, if you will, of the poor and rich that make cities so unique and special. It's also IMHO, that the culturally rich festivals and food that we enjoy and love so much also come from those people in the city that are not typically high up on the "high- earners" list.   I don't know about you, but in my expereience I don't find a lot of "good culture" in the rich white suburbs I've been in. And what I mean by "good culture" is that rich, vibrant, "in your face" diverse energy that only big cities have to offer.   One thing is true: You can't buy culture. Cities might have to power to displace the poor, but all they'll be left with is a very bland homogenous people group. What fun is that? #Boring

Some news came out recently in Raleigh's News & Observer about a plan that would drop public housing in Raleigh's Capitol Park. Please go ahead and read the article yourselves, but I was so discouraged at the considerations at dropping and displacing more poor "low earning" folks so that more paying " market rate" people can move in. My objective here is not to retell the article printed in the N&O, but rather to use it to just share my love of the city and why they are so special to me. 

A city does not and will not become more special because of the "market rate" tenants that live in it. Cities are special for their people, all the the different people, all the different cultures, all the different foods, all the different vibes and intangibles that come when different cultures merge into the same space. 

The Lord does not choose between people for the "market value" and neither should we.  I know the city life has it annoying parts, but try to see the beauty in the whole picture. I'm glad this world isn't full of people just like me. I certainly don't want of city of people that all just like me...and that's why I love the city life. I hope Raleigh will find a way to open its loving arms to everyone and to peoples regardless of their market value.

Lord, who art in heaven,
Holy is your name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
In Raleigh as it is in heaven.


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