A couple months ago I wrote this post concerning the homicides in Chicago. I wanted to give an update on the city and bring some data that will hit closer to home. At the close of the year there were 513 homicides in Chicago. Let that soak in for a minute.
That means that Chicago has recorded the most murders for any city in the US, but that doesn’t mean they have the highest murder rate. Chicago has approximately 2.6 million residents and the murder rate sits at 10.83 per 100,000 residents. The sad thing is, these cities who are at the top of the list have been there for years. People in dire situations do dire things (or hurt people hurt people). Darkness fills our communities and our hearts, but the Kingdom of God brings peace, reconciliation and hope. Light pushes out darkness.
I want to see these numbers disappear. You may call it ambitious, stupid, or naive, but I believe God’s Kingdom is more powerful than our situations and our hearts. Just as Chicago is being destroyed, the city we are moving to is in the same place. St. Louis has a population of approximately 320,000 people and it’s murder rate is 18.18 ranking as the 4th highest in the country. For the last decade it has been in the top 5 every year for the most dangerous city in America.
If you want to hear powerful stories of dudes who grew up in St. Louis and God pushed the darkness out of their hearts and shined His light, check out these guys, Thisl and Json. I actually got to spend the whole summer working with Json. He worked with World Impact when I was there and he is now doing an internship/apprenticeship at a church in Iowa and plans to move back to St.Louis and plant a church.
The numbers can be scary and can cause us to run or the numbers can be heartbreaking and move us to action. All I know is God took a look at my heart and saw a murder rate through the roof, He saw darkness and pain and yet He loved me all the more. Out of that gracious love we want to move to St. Louis and graciously love our neighbours.