by Darius Oxley
HOHOHHOOOHOHO you returned hello friends! Same rules as always i provided the Important partS for the skimmers but im also not apologizing for the length anymore. Let me hear you thoughts ON THE BLOG AND NOT IM MY MESSAGE INBOX XD.
the longest day in the year came and it sure felt like it. most of my day i was frustrated so that tells me a thing or two about myself. but my day started with the talk about picking weeds but that didnt happen instead we did pictures for the children all day. then i came back home and the lesson came. i listened to J. Coles verse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6atNwE-uOfE&t=7m14s on the documentary and had a great discussion about this with the baby fathers chat…. no we is not baby fathers. And no we are not plotting on you young women in the chat. they helped me work through alot of what he was saying in that we listen to the music differently just being christians. Important part people can be lead astray if they aren’t developed christians and founded in the truth. their idea of what christianity is looks like a temporary thing and not needed in the long term but instead helped the people in the days of old but now we might need something new to help the people who are having a struggle understanding the intentions of what the bible is trying to communicate. in addition its frustrating because i knew this was coming from the talks of the 2 Timothy 3. This has been a new way for me to think about music in general since its such an integral part of my life. The thats going to be my next personal study. in addition i was completely frustrated at VBS not because it was a bad day or the kids did a bad job but it started with the parents. And how they could teach their children to hate and be complete unashamed and not give a second thought the view of certain people was not only disgusting but almost pushed me over the edge. Important part i want to stay this fired up at injustice but need to find a way to convert my passion to love and not anger. I also made a resume and cover letter shout out Kalane.
while every day this week i felt like i knew when God was going to pull out the sunday school crafts and make me learn something this thursday was not the same. I was so ready to talk to take notes when we rode in brother Jeff’s car today because those cross the city rides i really have been known to catch a gem riding with my hand out the window. but it wasnt until Kenny made his way into our car at 3 an hour before we got “off”. Kenny gets in the car heated about whats going on in his community and how things arent going right. Kenny works closely with Brother Jeff in 10:12 sports with the kids but stays in the projects right across the street from a “newly opened” rec center. the frustration came from the communities exclusion from what they thought was a glimmer of light for them. the center technically opened monday but only is available to the children below the age of 5 who are enrolled in the summer camp there. Important part what was supposed to give the community an outlet for jobs, support for kids, and escape from a depressing reality at home is being forfeited because many of the kids are “two old” and too far down the path at this point so they are throwing out the whole bunch. to think the problem area in these communities were the ages 13-21 and to hear that the city is going to give them a way out. so you pull out you political boots and start getting about 6500 community petition signatures and they actually build the thing. just to find out the community wont be getting access to it in the heat of the summer and talking to the mayor of the city just to hear them tell you they “will see”, or that “they will look into it, send me an email” is extremely disheartening. especially for kenny who was out there preaching hope to these youth and their parents just to be told later. the exploitation and lack of urgency pains me and the city. the longer these kids are stuck in these pissy stairwells the faster their will for “a future” deteriorates. but after we go back to take him home and the kids all run out to greet him i can see the power 1 man has who refuses to let his light be put out even the darkness is all so much easier to live in.
then i went to dinner with my family group and we talked about understanding poverty and what different types looked like. keep your eyes peeled for the rules of operation because what doesnt seem like anything to you can actually cost you more than a black eye. Important part dont forget the only way to address these generational curses of poverty and situational poverty alike is through relationships. people need to know that you care. they dont need solutions. the reason they are telling you is not for you meet their need. do them the justice of addressing their spirit not just their need. my favorite quote from dinner was that the only way you will not be in poverty any of these resource areas is when you have a community like the church in acts freely giving and supporting one another.
And then it was Friday. I was so anxious for today before it even started I was ready to get it jumping. Every morning we have prayer I haven’t been talking that much about but don’t get me wrong it’s not a waste of my time at all. I still have my reservations about the group aspect but Important part there hasn’t been a bad morning and or day yet because I believe in the power of setting time aside to do God before getting into anything else that I might consider important. But I was geeked to get up and go to Red Emma’s after brother Jeff, Leslie, and I rode past it yesterday. but when i get in there my brain starts racing. not only is it a place of love but its a place right off north Ave and right in the middle of the art district. this was an area many people dedicated to a no judgement zone and a place where all are welcome. but what i wanted to study is what a christian environment would look like under this philosophy. they served the community and provided a space where the thirsty are given free drink and the hungry are fed. a space where all are welcome and given the liberty to be who they want to be. Important part but what i cant figure out is if that would be a good space for a church. to let people walk all over it and do whatever inside its walls. i want to say yes but i also hold such a high standard to how a church should be maintained. with their single open door bathroom policy and allowing people to “loiter” as they wait for the bus gave me a hope and a vision maybe that id have a service like that one day. where id host community outreach meetings. sell books in our library. sell food and drink and if we’re lucky and it’s on a corner as busy as red emmas ill call it sabbath or something corny. where id anoint the chairs every morning and id hire the homeless to assist me in being my prayer warriors of the city. but who knows maybe this is all just a fantasy to me.
my day started like 3 times before i got fed up and time stopped moving backwards so i went on my first run. I didnt get dropped off because I ran by myself so no one could leave me in the dust and my tears. After we got back around to the city we started our bible study which slightly aggravated the kid because we went backwards to study Nehemiah again. but this time we looked at it from a different lens. Important part what i couldnt get over was how passionate he was and prideful about a people group he knew he belonged to but had never been to visit, see, or experience. but he was not only upset at their state of living up also prayed and fasted when he heard the news of the shameful city. but it didnt stop there. this man dropped everything he was doing because he saw a life better for them then the one they were living. keeping this simple we wanted to come into baltimore the way he did, not looking to turn the city from jerusalem to nehemiahville. but to empower those living and working there. the jews, nobles, priest, and everyone in between. it seemed like he also wanted something from them before he could give them what he wanted to give them. he wanted their help as well as their knowledge. literally this man has never built a wall before and someone is going to have to help him out. Important part thats how i want to be always seeking to learn the culture of the place im visiting and getting into. i never wanna feel like i have it right and others need to be like me. when infact thats not the case on this side at all.
things were good after that. then I went to latino fest. and it was people watching central. la musica y la cultura fue incredible. i really felt bad because all i wanted to do was walk back and forth between the stages and listen to the live bands play and watch the folks dance but it seemed i was more interested than my counter parts. its okay tho they i halfway like doing life alone better. i videotaped some strangers for the road and spent hours trying to differentiate between which dances were salsa, bachata, and Merengue but i might need a little more help with that later. On the bus ride home my friends all decided they wanted to ditch Darius and make him walk home alone while they went to get frozen cups. One day they will like me.
im getting used to starting my sunday with the farmers market. i dont know what ima do once i get home. mannnnn plus its only been my second sunday here. i walked less and knew exactly how i wanted to spend my morning, with a chocolate chip cookie. I pulled out my book as i sat right down and started doing what i do best, reading both folks and pages. i read through The Reason for God i wanted to give the people what i have and things are starting to look forward. then i went to service and we spoke about the person who was missing. in our spaces and even from the church. how what we look like and imagine heaven to be isnt what God has planned. there are going to be folks who we would have never placed there and how we can do that even in our church spaces. just to make things more bareable to the people we want to worship our God with . Important part we can say and do things to shape Gods people into our will and that is dangerous. People are made in Gods image and do not need correcting. to end my day i spent big time talking to Nao and in the park. Sabbath was a time for rest but while i was resting the city was hurting as well. i witnessed a man be almost stabbed in the street so there is still work left to be done in baltimore. im just glad God is here using me to provide a safe space for those around me.
I feel like my day took forever to get started but once it did I was cool. Editing photos for hours on end sucked the first 8 hours down the drain then it was time for the neighborhood association meeting. 6 o clock came whether I was ready or not. I actually never thought I’d end up at once of these community neighborhood watch association meetings especially after seeing them on tv and the boondocks and laughing along about how comical the whole situation is. But that was far from the case or intention of this meeting. The councilmen came and heard the immediate needs of the people and pretty much told everyone be patient and send me an email and I’ll get back to you. Between this man and the police officer they grilled I honestly Marvel at how they spun the same response with such patience with these people bringing systemic issues to their neighborhood officer from squatters, to prostitution, to education reform this man was supposed to answer them all. But this is really why I could never find myself at one of these meetings. After pouring out their hearts to the councilmen and him orchestrating who to contact to get the needs met he leaves and the meeting should be over here. Instead they continue to address their concerns with the officer asking his opinion on how to communicate with the kids and how to avoid getting robbed for the next hour and change. This isn’t a bad thing to get advice but the officer in my opinion made it very clear that he didn’t have answers that they were looking for, And that by playing his part and communicating with the association that the job would get done. But they weren’t taking this answer. They needed more. His “solution” was not going to help them stop the terrorizing happening on their streets and right in front of their homes. The desperation in the voices was heart breaking because as a spectator of this meeting and a spectator of this community I know that exactly the kind of searching for protection they were doing can only be provided by our Lord and Savior. Important part By trying to fill the God sized void in Baltimore with the agents of change that knew they were inadequate to grant change burned me on the inside. I was stuck between standing up and screaming yah gotta stop going around in circles what you’re doing is wrong is clearly fundamentally wrong. The answer is Jesus. But that couldn’t be received from me and I can’t tell if it’s because I wanted to use the cop out of “I want to just pray for the community and that’ll be doing enough” or if I was too selfish to put myself out there as an unashamed disciple of the gospel. I don’t know and it is always easy to see from your perspective but it’s harder to watch.
And it started my day with more photos and edits but then we made a trip to MND. Where we worked as a volunteer to help the guests with their resumes and things. After our trip back I saw the city and went through west Baltimore. Accidentally. My younger brother Lestle wanted to go for a trip and so we missed our stop and went for a nice little trip. The navy line took us all the way to Mondawmin mall. Which if you don’t know was one of the inciting points of the Baltimore riots in 2015. Reliving for a short time before heading home helped to really put what the community was feeling into perspective. Between the school Douglas, the mall, and the poor communities around it hurts to see what’s “the machine” distrust can do to a group of people. As relationships aren’t getting much better in these neighborhoods there is hope for others to possibly move in and change the climates of these areas. But who would want to move right next to a mall and bus depot and one of the underperforming high schools in Baltimore. Doesn’t sound too appealing at first glance. Or ever. Important part But what I see is a people in need for God and who are crying out for help. How much longer will we allow our pride and self righteousness prohibit us from being Gods instruments of change. What I noticed from the ride actually the neighborhoods leading up to mindoman mall are growing communities and not just hoods. There is hope. Some have caught to Gods vision while others are still working to it . now we just need some labors to get it off the ground
Yeah so i made it 2 weeks and im sad because it almost over and i feel like i havent learned enough. And im getting one of those feeling when God is about to tell me something i dont wanna hear so maybe we just pause this whole BUP thing until i have time to learn everything and then do what Jesus will have me do with the rest of my life. XD. you knew this blog needed at least one. Important part My last impressions would be this learning is not an arrived place and anyone can learn from a teacher, but what can you learn from a boarded up home? My challenge would be to tell you mother twice a day with at least 3 hours in between that you love her! And im thankful for all the responses to my last question you guys are smarter than me. This question would i need an answer ASAP. the city smells in some places. What can i do to make these city streets more enjoyable for everyone walking them?
by Darius Oxley