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Rooftop Revelations: “Body of Christ” Message Trumps Tribalism


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When Pastor Corey Brooks took to the rooftop on that cold November night to begin his 100-day vigil against unacceptable violence and poverty on the South Side of Chicago, the lonely act forced many Americans to watch. themselves, consciously or unconsciously. For years Americans have lectured from the comfort of their own homes that the war on poverty, well-being, man-in-the-home rules and culture were to blame. They are not wrong. Yet these complaints hardly reached more than the self-flattery of their intelligence. Then the pastor went up to the roof, an act that basically caught the eye of the rest of us. Do we continue with complaints and do nothing, or do we look within and accompany the pastor with faith and goodwill to help him through these uncharted waters?

Paul Glyman decided to come alongside the pastor. Glyman himself is a pastor at West Hills Community Church in the Chicago suburb of Westmont. He certainly didn’t have to make it to the South Side for Pastor’s Day 55 of his rooftop vigil, but he did, and the pastor was deeply grateful.

“Paul, when we talk about unity and we talk about getting rid of violence and poverty in Chicago, how do you see that becoming part of the story?” asked the pastor.

“I think for us as a church the Bible tells us, we are the body of Christ,” Glyman said. “He doesn’t say that we have to try to be. He doesn’t say that we should be. He says that we are and that Christ is the head.”

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“Yes,” the pastor.

“I appreciate what you’re doing here, and that’s why I came down,” Glyman said. “I wanted to be a part of it, but I needed someone to show me how we can do something in a positive way.”

He was not much different from people across America who didn’t know how to take the first step but still managed to put that foot forward to join the pastor on his journey. They may not know the way or the solutions, but they have chosen to learn by opening their hearts and minds to the good deeds the pastor has done for his community over the past 20 years.

“We’re not working together. So that’s a challenge I’m giving our church this year… just say, ‘Dude, I’m going to listen to the head, I’m going to listen to Jesus, and I,’ I’m going to go with the rest of the body. “Said Glyman.” I think we can accomplish a lot more together than we can do alone.

Brooks said, “I think one of the things that we see in America is a big gap, and one of the reasons we don’t accomplish as much as we could possibly accomplish is because we are such a nation. divided, and people are so divided. “

“We are Black and White and Christians and not Christians and Republicans and Democrats, but there comes a time when there has to be causes where we have to be united, and that’s why I think violence is something. that we could all come to the rescue for, ”the pastor continued.

In this era of ever-deepening tribalism, it baffles the Pastor that many Americans continue to place greater value on labels rather than going into the trenches to deal with life’s most difficult issues.

“Why would you want to go all the way from the suburbs to the south side of Chicago on top of that rooftop?” Asked the pastor.

“Chicago is my home,” Glyman replied. “Chicago is such a beautiful city. But it has a reputation for violence. Which is it? Is it the beautiful city or the violent city? It’s both.”

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“A few weeks ago I preached a message about this guy riding those weather balloons in a lawn chair because he said, ‘I just couldn’t sit there.’ , he continued. “I think if more people would just say, ‘I just couldn’t sit there, I have to do something. “”

“Alright,” the pastor agreed. “I think if we as pastors can work together more often and somehow find ways to get our churches to work together more often, there is so much we can do. accomplish to help the world. “

Glyman couldn’t help but be inspired by the pastor’s open arms. He promised to return to his church with the lessons and stories he learned from his time on the roof. For him, the message of the “body of Christ” takes precedence over tribalism. After all, tribalism – religious, secular and racial – dehumanizes and impedes progress as individuals who advance together into the unknown build bridges and that good faith that is needed to solve the world’s most enduring problems. ‘America.

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Eli Steele is a documentary filmmaker and writer. His latest film is “What Killed Michael Brown?” Twitter: @Hebro_Steele.

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