What does it look like for church leaders in Chicagoland and other large cities to actually seek the peace and prosperity of the city?
Chicago has been my home town only for the past four years. I spent most of my adult life in Boston, the San Francisco Bay area, and the Inland Northwest. But perhaps since I grew up in the Midwest (Cleveland, Ohio), somehow Chicago feels even more like home than other places where I’ve lived much longer.
As a matter of fact, I think I am falling in love with the city!
My husband and I just spent a beautiful spring night downtown catching a Broadway show and dinner to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary. That evening reinforced my infatuation with Chicago. The vibrancy of Chicago’s culture and business, its gorgeous architecture, fabulous food, top shelf entertainment options, and the diversity of its population—9.4 million people—are just a few of the things I love about it.
But let’s face it, even the most attractive love relationships we have (even if it’s with a city) have an unappealing side that prevents a five-star rating. In Chicagoland, as in other metropolitan areas, broken social structures are tearing apart communities and causing a plethora of serious problems.
Broken families. Fractured relationships. Racial divisions. Violence. (An estimated 1,000 gunshot murders occurred in the metro area in 2017.) Drugs. (About 1,500 people died from drug overdoses in Chicagoland last year.) Chicago is regularly on national news for having more than its share of violence, gangs and shootings.
Undoubtedly, more and more people in Chicago are also suffering from chronic loneliness. The health insurer Cigna just released a study revealing that loneliness is widespread in America. Nearly 50 percent of respondents in a nationwide survey reported that they feel alone or left out always or sometimes. …