The Urban Grind

The Urban Grind

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Hospitality: Creating Space for Change to Take Place


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... Hospitality is not ...

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Holding Space


I was completing one of the required classes in becoming a Chattanooga Police Department Chaplain when the case manager from the local rape crisis center dropped an enlightenment bomb on my eardrums. Holding Space. Those words rang loudly my ears as soon as they left her lips. Admittedly, a little too loudly considering I daydreamed for quite a while after she said them. L...

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It's the Little Things that Sustain


"Pastor Josh, I wanted you to have this cross. It's been in my family four generations. Many of my family members have worn it while assisting with the Lord's Supper. Take it with you in your ministry in Alton Park," is what I heard on the phone yesterday morning. An aging storyteller Christyna exaggerated the whole four generations thing considering the stamp on the back ...

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A City Apart


A City Apart. These were the words splayed across the front page of the Chattanooga Times-Free Press yesterday (read full article here).I don't pay for a newspaper subscription. But, my father-in-law (who somehow always has a paper in his possession) handed it to me and told me to take a look. "The lives of too many black Chattanoogans are marked by poverty, struggle, poo...

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Consistency is double-edged - it is necessary but also a liability. To succeed, we must endure the sharp edge of inconsistency while utilizing the other edge to sharply remove any weeds that threaten to choke the roots that are deepening and the plants that are sprouting....

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R.I.P. Rest in peace Darcside even thought I never knew you. It was like stepping back in time. I was transported back to day one at the south Chattanooga rec center. But this time I was in Bushtown at the Carver Rec. Moving from the lobby couch into the multi-purpose room the kids looked at me like I was an alien - clearly recognizing me as a stranger to their hood. One...

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Here We Go Again - You Ready?


Our summer plans didn't go exactly as planned. Back in May we looked forward to a sabbath from serve+share, mentoring, and the chaotic rhythm of the academic year. Our goals were to plan ahead, set new goals for the following school year, rest up, catch our breath, and prepare. As most of you know a minor incident of arson stole the show for about six weeks. Thank you all ...

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Thirteen youth from completed their summer internships last week. All too often youth like these are recruited into local gangs and the cycle of violence and poverty continues in neighborhoods likeWithout a support system, skills, and alternative activities, these youth lack what they need to succeed. Particularly in the summer when the rhythm of school is long forgotten, ...

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THANK YOU!"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." {Romans 8:28}The last few days have been overwhelming. I have never had to fill out insurance content forms (not fun), speak with fire inspectors (not too bad), or explain to people why an act of violence like this would happen to a raci...

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Ashes to Ashes


Ashes to Ashesthe death of the BCC shed... "The shed's gone - it burned to the ground." These words from Mark were jarring as Jenny shook me awake this morning at 3:00am. "Wait, what happened?" I asked. "The fire department's here and they just finished putting out the fire and burned the shed up. They want to talk to you." I hung up the phone, groggy, and started puttin...

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