Raising kids in the city is definitely challenging, the system is not for kids in education because CPS is just suffering greatly. We have to want to be here. - Aiyana
Teenage kids having the ability to get anywhere in the city, parental fear yet letting go. In ohio, you had to have a car to sneak out, but it’s so accessible here in the city, so many options.
It accelerates their maturation process,which is good and bad. They are uber capable of getting anywhere and navigating the city, knowing culture well, being aware of diversity. It definitely accelerates that to a great degree. The problem is, it also steals a little bit of their childhood away. You see 15 year old girls riding the train, by themselves, for sometimes an hour a day, and it’s just normal. We drop Elly off at school, but we are not the norm at all, the vast majority of them ride the CTA or the Metra and they’ve done this since they were in Junior High. But they take field trips to the Steppenwolf theater, their whole class got on the CTA and went there- we’re grateful for all of that. Our boy Atticus can’t ride his bike by himself, he rides with me, but we’re on city sidewalks going by the homeless, you know that’s normal. It’s a dichotomy. We wouldn’t change it. I can’t imagine raising a kid in the suburbs. “It’s funny the suburbs make them very uncomfortable”(Aiyana) Our kids are such city elitists, they’ll say things like “this place is weird” normal suburban streets. They say “where is everybody?” or they see a parking lot and say “what a waste of space, what could we do with this space?” They want to go to Sushi. “They love the city”(Aiyana)
Living in Chicago
I think we are really fortunate to live in a place that we love that intersects with our passion. Not everybody gets that, you know? But we happen to love the culture here, we love the city. The cherry on top of that is that, God’s called us here and called us to do life here, it’s a pretty unique.
How would you encourage someone who is feeling doubt about who God is?
I encourage anyone to press into doubt, I think it’s there not to be avoided or disregarded much like pain. We have a propensity to avoid pain, avoid discomfort, avoid doubts. I think that we should be, whenever we have those doubts, I believe it’s God inviting us into an area where he is going to show himself strong and he’s going to prove his faithfulness over and over.
I feel like doubt avoidance is something all of us want to be free of, like I’d love to live in a world without any doubt, like in my head. But think of the result of that, that means we’re no longer displaying the fullness of who God is. We’re on a continual journey of God inviting us into himself. I just don’t want to lose doubt because of that, because I think every time I doubt is a chance for God to show us something about himself that will blow us away. I think we need to pay attention to it, it’s there for a reason.
How does the transience of this city affect you as a pastor in the city of Chicago?
Pastoring people, loving them well, knowing that they may leave.
It’s really hard. I mean just on a personal level, I think we have just gotten to the place in the last five years where we kinda know how to deal with that, how to set up safeguards in our life. It’s hard because we never want to be protective of your own heart, you want to give it away freely but you just can’t always do that, there’s only so much of yourself to give.
True community around us, investing in community around us, investing in people we know we are going to be doing life with is critical for us personally.
The answer for a pastor in my position would be, I think we’re just sending people out. We’re just constantly sending them out, which is great. So we want to equip and send. Which is difficult. I think we’re learning to that it’s a picture of our privilege in a majority culture to be so transient. We have the opportunity to go to the next job, or to seek the next better education, uproot ourselves, disconnect. You look at minority cultures, it’s just not the case. There’s a reason minority cultures, in order to survive, live their lives in close by cities to family, a city for generations. That’s why people from the same family have kids still living together, that’s because survival. It’s neither here nor there, it’s just a really interesting part, we’re only able to have that conversation of transiency because we are a privileged people.