Naivity VS Intentional Vulerability

9:20 AM

Tory and I went to our first block club meeting yesterday. It was really great to meet neighbors and connect with those we've seen around. At one point during our discussion with the crime prevention officer the conversation turned to our neighbors who rent across the street from us (they weren't at the meeting) and people were offering us solutions with the assumption that we want them out, which we did; until we met them.

Neighbors know when a house is selling drugs because of the amount of traffic that is generated around the place and the instability that seems to be present with people coming and going at all hours and we are aware that these neighbors fit the bill. When we got to know them a little though, we found out that the main resident has 8 older children, many with families of their own, so though we still question the activities that go on, much of the "traffic" is actually family coming and going. The main resident is a softy with a tough guy presence and takes special interest in and care for the neighbors he knows. It's an odd role because he is essentially protecting his neighbors from the people his lifestyle may bring around. Their presence has not brought about any events that have made us feel unsafe, but they are not a traditional stable family like many of the other houses around and their company likes to hang out in the street and drop trash in front of our house. It is morally difficult for us to call them into the police on the grounds that we "know" something is going on, but even more difficult when we know he would prefer traditional (legal) employment and that calling in pushes them out further. Even if we are more vulnerable because they live across the street and are connected to other volatile people, their safety is in jeopardy day to day because the majority of people they know and are connected to are volatile. We can only hope to be a listening ear or a connection to stability for them. All this was received with (kind) disagreement by all our neighbors at the block club meeting. We defended our reasons, but I decided it was not the time or place to ask the questions that were in my mind...

How can we support the weakest members of our community when we are trying to push them out? "Loving them and hating what they do" gets complicated when they hate it too but have few or no other choices. And if you hate what they do more than you love them, you are not loving them at all.
Are they less valuable than increasing the value our homes? Should we further alienate them from stable society in order to preserve our idea of a clean street? And the most difficult question: is attempting to secure our safety and control our environment more important than loving our neighbors?

For now, I believe the answer to all these questions is "No" and for this, we are considered naive. I prefer to call it, "intentional vulerability". I will not be too afraid. To love. God help us.

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  1. "are they less valuable than increasing the value of our homes?"
    very well put.
    love drives out fear.


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