When you you decide one day to become an activist you have many mentors you can look to for direction.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- John Brown
- Malcolm X
Those were the top figures I researched as I started this journey helping the homeless.
While Jesus is the oldest of these mentors, I’ve come to realize that he asks the most of all of them.
He is just straight up pure, unadulterated love. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love your self.
Jesus speaks directly to our better selves.
All the other activists start speaking to our lesser selves.
Gandhi and MLK do it the most elegantly with non-violent civil disobedience. But make no mistake, it is uncomfortable and tension-filled.
John Brown and Malcolm X are straight up much more militant.
I chose very intentionally to go the route of Jesus activism. My belief was that after all the horrors we have inflicted on minorities in our country we would be ready to just do the right thing.
Make no mistake, there are those in power that are ready for that kind of pure love change. And there are others that are almost ready for that. But their pragmatism says that caring for those most in need immediately just isn’t practical.
But I would say that most (more than half) aren’t in those camps at all. They want nothing to do with helping the homeless. They don’t care to think about it and they would rather just get back to building expensive buildings.
As of today, I don’t believe most of the leaders in America are ready to be directed by their better selves.
They are fearful, angry and self-absorbed.
I don’t know if I will ever see a day where American leaders will actually be guided by the teachings of Jesus.
But I do know one thing: Most American citizens are ready, willing and able to be guided by their better selves.
American citizens are caring, loving, giving, great people. Working with American citizens is a new frontier everyday where they overwhelm and surprise me with their greatness.
Truly, we need more democracy in America. If America was actually run by the people, as it is supposed to be, and not by the rich, we would be a much better country.
So, today I am thinking more about MLK than I am Jesus. My strategic path is beginning to turn in a slightly different direction. I am preparing for the worst.
But know this: I am 100% focused on expecting the best.
The leaders of Akron can do the right thing. We have a path out of this where we ALL win.
Right now, leaders come to me and tell me that I need to buy this house and acquire this property and modify that building.
I get it. They don’t have any money.
But that’s wildly different than the story they have been telling all along that houses are available for EVERYONE that needs them. That is a complete and total lie. There are wait lists for every form of housing and shelter in the city.
I am moving towards houses. I am pushing as fast as I possibly can down that path. But my resources only go so far. I’ve already borrowed $20,000 in my personal finances for the housing path. I am not a millionaire. I can only do so much.
If anyone is listening: HELP US GET DOWN THE HOUSING PATH. Think creatively. Think about all the houses that continue to be torn down as we have a filled tent village with 21 people on our waiting list.
If you are a person in authority stop just staring at us and judging us. Ask yourself: What is a path we can pursue? What is something we can do that we all can agree on?
I want to find a path where the only activism we ever needed to use with the activism of Jesus. Love should be enough. We just have to fight together to make it a reality.