This month I had the opportunity to contribute to Seedbed, the publishing arm of Asbury Theological Seminary. I was given the prompt, “What is like to live as a Christian in the nation’s capital?” Here are my thoughts.
Washington, D.C. is a city of paradoxes:
- A city that has been named one of the 10 most-educated (it’s No. 3, in case you’re wondering), is also burdened with a 50 percent graduation rate among high schoolers.
- The population named for the phrase “Chocolate City” is now in the minority, ever slowly being pushed to the edges of the District by new condo developments and posh dining.
- A city where more than three percent of its residents is infected with HIV, a rate that health experts deem an “epidemic”, is comparable to the infection rate of some developing countries.
It baffles me that one can live in a city so diverse, so rich with history and opportunities, and yet so many live a one-sided existence. Danny Harris is a perfect example of someone who realized this and decided to do something about it. Like many, he moved to DC for a government job and found himself in the organic grocery aisle, headphones in, yoga mat slung over his shoulder. An existential crisis set in: everyone in the store was doing the exact same thing. This lonely realization propelled him out of isolation and into his neighborhood. He started The People’s District, a blog dedicated to telling the stories of Washingtonians.
Like many, he moved to DC for a government job and found himself in the organic grocery aisle, headphones in, yoga mat slung over his shoulder. An existential crisis set in: everyone in the store was doing the exact same thing.
I see Harris’ blog as part of the toolkit of peacemaking, of bridging difference, of learning from and loving neighbors. While I speak from the perspective of a young professional in Washington, D.C., these two thoughts can apply to Christians living in community anywhere.