The Urban Grind

The Urban Grind

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Do #BlackLivesMatter?

doblacklivesmatter

Do #BlackLivesMatter? Dumb question - of course they do.  If you're reading this sentence then the title worked.  It grabbed your attention for one reason or another.  Perhaps you answered the question for yourself.  Maybe you were salivating at the opportunity to tear me apart.  Maybe, just maybe, you disagreed... Do me a favor and keep reading. ...

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Standing Between Two Worlds Pt. II | Police & Community

2worlds_2

I stand between two worlds. I stand between black and white, but I also stand between law enforcement and community engagement. I am a recently trained and certified member of the inaugural Chattanooga Police Department Chaplain Corps. I am also pastor to gang members and community residents in a neighborhood where tension, antagonism, and distrust between the two run hig...

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Standing Between Two Worlds Pt. I | Alton Park & St. Elmo

2worlds_1

I stand between two worlds. Nothing new for many people in this country. Refugees, immigrants, and first/second generation children of immigrant parents find themselves in an identical situation. It is fascinating to stand between two worlds. Bilingual communication is necessary and cultural conflict is unavoidable. For those who are born into it the transition between la...

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(Heavy 3/3) - A River of Blood(s) Threatens to Drown Us All

heavy3

Violence is a generational epidemic. It is widespread, extensive, global, and indiscriminate. Many attempt to avoid prosecution but every single one of us is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Humans are by nature violent. Our hearts are turned in on themselves and the result is a violent disposition intent on preserving our preferences and pushing our systems of belief. Chri...

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(Heavy 2/3) - The Night I Wanted to Smoke Weed in the Projects with some Bloods

heavy2

Yes, you read that correctly. I must admit something that no one ever seems to believe about me. I have never smoked weed. More often than not in my life I have been profiled as a stoner, pothead, hippie who loves his ganja, or any other descriptor of someone who admires the marijuana high. I’ve held a blunt in my hand, found buds in Berkeley thrift store clothing, a...

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Heavy (1/3) - The Chief of Police, a Pastor, and the Director of Public Safety

heavy1

No, this is not the beginning of a joke, and no, the end of that phrase is not “walk into a bar.” All joking aside it’s been a heavy few weeks. Heavy. Really, it’s the only word that seemed appropriate to accurately describe the moments, events, conversations, and ironies of recent activity. And it all started with some vinyl banners. Yeah, I know,...

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You're closer than you think...

closer

You’re cold. Ice cold. Getting warmer… No, now colder! You’re getting warmer - hot, hot, en fuego! I remember playing the Hot or Cold game as a kid. A step above I Spy it included a bit more mystery and intrigue for my taste. I remember hiding toys from my brother and sister then watching in delight as they tried to discover my ingenious hiding pla...

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Uncomfortably Comfortable Comfort

uncomfortable

All church planters and missionaries dread the break up text or email. From: foundationalmemberofthechurch@gmail.comSubject: Can we grab coffee this week? It’s rarely the case that a simple request for some artisan espresso or the casual invitation to sample the finest craft beer Chattanooga has to offer ends well for me. Typically, when I receive a text or email l...

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Zoey & the Lost Boys of Chattanooga

lostboys

"A 1-year-old baby girl is in critical condition after she was shot once…"My heart is broken right now," said neighbor Cassandra Robinson. 'This little girl just had her first birthday in September. She's just starting to find out all the things she can do. But now she's laying up there [in the hospital] clinging for her life.’" "Last weekend was full of chao...

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Hospitality: Creating Space for Change to Take Place

hospitality

This is gonna sound super awkward so feel free to cringe, giggle, or perhaps a little bit of both. Mamre. Imagine attending a church called Mamre. It’s ok - laugh, be confused, or allow your mind to imagine going to church on Sunday where the name evoked an uncomfortable check-up for women. I’ll explain the genius of that name in a moment, but first... Hospita...

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