Some claim that Ferguson and Staten Island demonstrate the existence of racist structures that permeate our society. Others claim that these killings resulted from criminal behavior or “a lack of personal responsibility.” While both positions point to contributing factors, they both continue to ignore culture – a factor that dwarfs the previous two.
The national conversation in the wake of Ferguson cannot ignore the voice of a crucial subject matter expert, the urban disciple maker. What does the urban disciple maker see that simplistic analyses from outsider pundits can’t? How does she lead the way forward through the treacherous gauntlet of nihilistic culture, organized crime, pulpit pimps, sexual and familial confusion, prison industrial complex, race hustlers, destructive public policy, government-funded dependency, etc.?
The hope of most urban missionaries is to see people living in urban poverty become leaders in their own community. Once equipped with education and opportunity, instead of moving out of town, we encourage them to stay and make a difference. However, these leaders are often considered a failure by their own community if they don’t relocate. Incarnational ministers receive accolades for their “sacrifice” of living in urban poverty, but community leaders do not.