Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.


Monday, March 27, 2017

A Red Crayon and a Flat Rat



This past Sunday, in week number four of my experience with Kingdom Kids, a ministry of Urban Hope, I had an experience that has not left my thinking since it happened.  The ministry itself is fantastically run by Amber, Matt, a "Mad Scientist" and his as-of-yet unnamed assistant who do "sciencey things" to exemplify Faith in Christ, and a whole host of other people who I'm thrilled to minister with and consider as friends.

This short story does not take place in the program itself.  Part of Kingdom Kids involves going door to door to gather the children of the neighborhood and bring them by foot, van or bus back to the church.  At the moment of this story, our street team of volunteers had four children with us.  I was holding the hand of a five year old boy who was holding with his other hand the hand of his six year old sister.  Excessive cuteness abounded as we walked down the street.  We had to step into the street to walk around a car that was parked on the sidewalk - not at all an unusual sight in this neighborhood.  As I stepped onto the street, the little boy whose hand I was holding, pulled on my arm and said. "Mr. Chris...  Don't step on the flat rat."  I looked down and sure enough, my shoe almost landed on one very flat rat - not particularly messy - just flat.  

I thanked my little walker and pondered the casual nature of his comment.  Where have I heard that casual tone prior to this day?  And then I remembered a day years earlier when I had been working with other young children around a table as we were doing crafts.  A little boy there said "Mr Chris...  please pass me a red crayon."  

What's the difference between these two boys?  Here it is...  The crayon seeking little boy was in the Philadelphia suburbs with all of its financial and self proclaimed high society privilege.  The little boy reminding me (Not really warning me) to not step on the flat rat lives in what the suburban boy's parents would refer to as the bad lands (Kensington's nickname), the ghetto, the place where no self respecting white person should dare go.  

As one example among many: After six months or so of attending church at Urban Hope, I've looked into the five year old eyes of pure joy and in so doing, I have looked into the earthbound face of God in a way that simply DOES NOT happen in the suburbs.  

With that as my reward, you can keep your crayon.  I'll take my chance with the flat rat.

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