Dangerous Presence

My friend, Jason Butler, is a prophet.  I do not mean "prophet" in the weird "school of the prophets who smack people in the forehead, and incant direct pipelines from God" kind of way.

Jason is a prophet of another sort.  He is a truth-revealer.

In his new book, Dangerous Presence, Jason tells the truth about how the church has failed the city, and he doesn't pull any punches.  It's not theoretical.  All the leaders of Transformation City Church live in the heart of Milwaukee.

They hear gun shots and sirens regularly.  They've been robbed.  They've been misunderstood.  But, they're there.  Like Jesus, they closed the gap by stepping into the situation.  You can't love from a distance.

In the book, Jason shares his personal pilgrimage to understanding that Jesus stands with the poor.  It is a gripping story.

As a small town pastor, I find Jason's words about the urban plight compelling, convicting and challenging.  What is my responsibility to the city?  How can my church step in to fight poverty, exploitation and injustice?

A couple of places to start:
1)  Is there anything we can do to stand beside those who live, serve and suffer in the urban areas?  Can we send resources?  People?  Can we form partnerships to encourage, love and learn from each other?

2)  Where is the need in our own community?  For us, it's the LCO Reservation.  They struggle with the very same problems as the inner city.  Young men can't find work.  Crime rates are rampant while life expectancy is low.  I just heard last week that 43% of Native Americans suffer from diabetes.  Alcohol abuse is a major problem.  What is our responsibility there?

Dangerous Presence wrecked me.  It grabbed my heart and tore it in two.  It calls me to action of some sort, and I'm still trying to figure out what that is.

Jesus was a small town preacher -- but he served the city -- and they killed him.


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