Take for example the shopping center 1.2 miles from my home where we do all of our grocery shopping. There is a Target, Barnes and Noble, Kroger, Carribou Coffee, Best Buy, Lowes, Rue Sans(Sushi), Wachovia (Bank), and a Smoothie King, not to mention several upscale ($200 or more a pair)shoe stores, shops, and boutiques. It possesses all of the qualities of the “rough” areas of Seattle, so by my general definition, it is no longer a depressed area…except, because of gentrification and trend changes, for this situation, my definition is blown…why? The liquor store three blocks from this shopping center was robbed, and the clerk was shot to death just two month’s ago. Just this past Sunday, a shoot out between two vehicles occurred in that same shopping center just a few hours after my family and I finished buying groceries there.
The point to this discourse is that the dividing lines between rich and poor, safe and dangerous, ‘hood and hip are no longer so clear. This is a changing landscape that as a Pastor to this city I am going to have to carefully examine to understand, so that we can most effectively and faithfully engage and reach this entire area that does not in anyway lend itself to homogeneous ministry, if we are being true to engaging the whole of the community. How we will reconcile our culture clashes, I do not fully have an answer to yet, but for anyone else seeking to move into and work for the welfare of any major city through Gospel transformation, this is a question that has to be answered.