Real Redemption: leveraging what we’ve got

One of the most rewarding ways I’ve found of expressing my Christian faith has been to leverage what I’ve got to transform neighborhoods for the better. These kinds of projects have all sorts of mixed motives– wanting to buy a cheap building, wanting to improve my own town or neighborhood… But getting old run down buildings that no one else seems to see value in, and redeeming them and making them come back to life– making the ugly beautiful again– this is really a wonderful and fulfilling task to be involved in. I suppose it is not unlike Goethe’s Faust where he finds satisfaction in taking the land back from the sea with dikes and windmills. This real estate redemption is a matter of taking back places from the destruction of neglect and disregard. Of course maybe part of my attraction to houses is that they are easier to deal with in some ways than people. As I’ve worked on these properties, I have made friends with a number of semi-homeless and less fortunate, who help me out along the way. It has been great to work alongside them, and through paying them to give them a sense of pride in their work and dignity. But I still see that most of their money goes to beer and cigarettes, so its hard to see the progress there sometimes… I’d be interested to know if anyone has ideas on strategies I could use to try to help improve their lives more through this process… -andy

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2 responses to “Real Redemption: leveraging what we’ve got

  1. you may just be a seed in their lives. your selfless, Christ-centered life is what will speak the most to them. give them yourself and give them Christ. The harvest will come at some point.

  2. My friend Toby sent me this note about this posting recently, which I enjoyed very much:

    I like your Simple Free Church website. I enjoyed reading your articles, and especially this passage…

    “…I have made friends with a number of semi-homeless and less fortunate… It has been great to work alongside them, and through paying them to give them a sense of pride in their work and dignity. But I still see that most of their money goes to beer and cigarettes, so its hard to see the progress there sometimes…”

    Oddly enough, I found this similar quote from the Dean of Creighton on his website:

    “…Andy is a good professor, and I enjoy paying him as I can see that it gives him some sense of dignity and normalcy, but it’s disappointing to see that most of his money goes to beer and cigarettes…”

    I hope you can find some comfort in that.

    Peace Out.

    T

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