In our lives, we have walls. Some walls are good – they exist to keep us safe. These are walls like the walls of our house or the walls around a child’s playground. However, other walls are not so great. They keep us separated from each other – as individuals and as groups. I-35 is a wall – separating the East from the West. The river is a wall – isolating the “South side” from the “North side.” Imagine a city where walls are not needed, where people don’t categorize one another by their skin color or their politics or their religious beliefs. What will happen if we take down the barriers we’ve erected to protect ourselves, long enough to really listen to the hearts of those we don’t agree with? Imagine a place where self-preservation isn’t a driver; but rather honor, and appreciation of diversity, govern all decisions.
This fall, you will see and hear about a citywide “Walls Campaign,” dedicated to tearing down a variety of walls – walls that keep individuals from their own destiny, walls that divide the Body of Christ, and walls that keep believers tucked safely inside their churches. “Our lives are full of invisible barriers: walls exist between our ‘church lives’ and our everyday lives; walls exist between local churches; and walls exist between churches and our neighbors who need the Good News we have to share. Walls have been defined as ‘unhealthy mindsets that keep us from living the life as it was meant to be lived.’”1
Beginning September 11, pastors all over the city will be preaching their personalized versions of the same sermon series. They will be asking, “What are the walls that exist between us and our community?” Along with the sermons, there will be resources for small group discussions aimed at helping individuals overcome personal bondages and mindsets that separate brothers and sisters in God’s family. There will also be helpful ideas for putting learning to work in the city and in your neighborhood.
The hope is that at the end of the series, people will be motivated to then do something about the walls they identify. Perhaps, people in a neighborhood who don’t even know each other will host and attend a block party. Someone else may start an ESL class in a rec center and invite people to come. Questions we will be challenged to answer, might be: Are we going to be sidelined as irrelevant in the world where we have been commissioned to be light? Are we going to choose to believe that the Spirit of the Living God dwells within us, and that He is capable of changing the world?
The “Walls Campaign” won’t knock down all walls, but it’s a place to start…one brick at a time. Awareness is the beginning of resolution. We, like Jesus, have the opportunity to make an eternal difference in our world. And it starts with the simple idea of loving one another. Imagine: no individual internal walls, no walls between churches, no walls between us and the community where we live. Come be a part of the great tearing down…
For resources visit http://www.austincitywalls.com/resources (Available in both English and Spanish.)