What does it mean to live the gospel for a lower middle class family of 3 in South Seattle?
This is a question that Sean and I are asking ourselves and looking for resoureces in. Our neighborhood is full of character. Charming shops, a local butcher, the light rail, adorable bungalows, and out of control Seattle gardens. It is also full of characters. The white yoga teacher mother of 3 with a chocolate lab and a ski lodge on Mt. Baker. The black working class man who spends his spare time doing advocating for unions in his field. The young family with a new baby, new garden, new marraige and an old rental house. The drug addicted prostitute who spends every night on the corner. Rain, snow, or clear skies.
The fact of the matter we have a fair amount of the last character on the end of our street. We've got the whole gammut of people that often accompany this. So with relative frequency people come up to Sean and I while we are getting out of our car and ask us for money. They often have a long (tragic) story, they have obvious problems peicing reality together, and are also desperate. They schmooze us, trying to get details about our life. Asking about Junia, telling us she is cute and doing basic sucking up. We have never personally encountered any violence in these encounters.
We have also recently enountered a string of people coming to our door at night asking for help. Always in the form of money.
The question is: What would the gospel have us do?
Jesus didn't really provide a great model for dealing with mental illness. The gospel does not address addiction and Jesus was also a single man being approached in a relatively neutral (or not personal) place.
Healing those possessed by demons just isn't in our skill set. Addiction makes people desperate and putting ourselves in the foreground of people's desperation doesn't seem like a great idea, and we are in our neighborhood and home. Making us VERY vulnerable.
All in all, Sean and I are wrestling with how to live as we do and where we do. How to make decisions out of compassion and not fear; how to not be afraid; how to not put our daughter at risk, but also how to take risks that are counter cultural and are about the gospel.
I hope to write about this in upcoming posts. If you have any resources let me know.