Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Orleans 2: Questions from the Lower 9th

While taking Dan on a tour of the still devastated Lower 9th, we go visit the Make it Right Homes, Brad Pitts’ s commitment to build 150 homes. In addition to being built five feet above the ground, they’re all creatively green. It makes me wonder, would the Landmarks commission accept voltaic solar panels on the roof? Rainwater collectors to use in washing the steps and sidewalk? Could we install dual flush toilets? Use recycled   wood? In our process of rebuilding can we commit to green and make it work? Be an urban landmark rehab model?

These homes are inspiring. But make no mistake...the continued intentional emptiness of the lower 9th is criminal. It's clear who the powers do not want to come back. Ever.
My friend Matthew is Pastor of Berean Presbyterian Church, the first African-American Presbyterian church in New Orleans. As another small church pastor, we share many of the same struggles. Ironically, small churches can be emotionally more challenging than large ones. They can become ingrown, familial, proprietary and even isolationist, change resistant. I would love to bring our congregations closer, have them share  in our 100th anniversary, take a group from here  down there  to build and share time together. Make our mission life more real, more interconnected.

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