Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

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And to think we were all looking forward to 2020?!? A new decade? Bring it on, we all seemed to say… 

I live and work a few blocks away from where George Floyd was murdered in May 2020. Add some social unrest along Lake Street (a few blocks away from me in the other direction), four other murders over the following month in the neighborhood, and a global pandemic for good measure, 55407 has seen some things over the past few years, and thats an understatement.

Knowing where I live, people close to me have asked along the way, How has it been for you in your Powderhorn neighborhood? Various responses ensue, but at the heart of all the answers is usually one common theme:

Yes, we grieve.

Yes, we lament the brokenness of our world and the systems of our world.

And, AND, we delight in the reality that our neighbors are closer now than they ever have been. Our neighborhood is more connected now than ever before.

A silver lining of the pandemic has been more space for reflection and Ive thought about my experiences within my neighborhood a lot. Ive worked in Powderhorn since 2009. Ive lived in Powderhorn since 2012.

How is it that I’ve been so present in my neighborhood for so long, yet so disconnected, for so long, from the people and places that hold it together?

Im not alone in this, I know.
In our work with churches, weve seen a similar thing over and over again. Church communities formed generations ago, rooted physically in neighborhoods for so long, now looking around asking, How is it that weve been here for so long yet feel so disconnected to the people and places that hold this neighborhood together?

As we partner alongside churches, the HEART work of our placemaking process helps churches examines their *current* posture towards their neighbors and their presence in the neighborhoodhow their love for their neighbors is expressed through the ways in which they live within the larger ecosystem of their community.

Core to the HEART work is this question:

What is our current understanding and expression of what it means to love our neighbor(hood)?

NOT What do we believe about loving our neighbor?

OR How do we hope to love our neighbor better?

BUT How have we *demonstrated* love for our neighbors?

AND Do our neighbors feel loved by our church?

It can be scary to look in the mirror. The answers and discoveries found along the way might be uncomfortable at best, really hard and painful at worst. But none of us can get to the other side of anything if we refuse to first see where we are. Our HEART work commits itself to unearth, reveal, and reimagine the ways in which we show up in our neighborhood and for our neighbors.

For the Flourishing of us all,