A Story About My Stop On the Road In My Journey to Love My Neighbor

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Seven years ago, I left my homogenous, suburban life to plant a church in the inner city of Denver where I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life. A mentor of mine in the early years of this journey, an African-American man named Ted Travis, told me, “Jason, the church has all but completely lost the idea of what it means to love your neighbor.” I didn’t understand what he meant that day, but seven years later, I believe I have a better understanding. We live in a separated and segregated world. Minority and majority cultures, by and large, do not understand or interact with one another in deep and meaningful ways. Because of my calling, I was thrust into an environment where I could no longer be passive in this area. Ted told me, “You can’t solve a problem you don’t understand, and you can’t understand from a distance.” This meant I needed to get up close, listen, try to understand, challenge my assumptions, assess any hidden inner racism from which many of us suffer as a result of living in a divided society, and just love. I needed to form deep and meaningful relationships with people across the racial and socio-economic divide. I needed to be a neighbor.

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