Our World is Broken
The world is a broken place. War, hunger, disease, poverty, riots, racial division, human trafficking, child abuse, addiction are just of the few of the things that immediately come to mind that wreak devastation and rob people of meaningful, fulfilling lives. It is important and necessary to address these things, but what if they are not individual unrelated concerns? What if there is some underlying cause binding them together?
Symptoms Versus Cause
When it comes to the human body, medical professionals pay close attention to symptoms. They measure vitals. They ask questions. They are looking for the underlying cause, and together the symptoms give them an idea of what that cause might be. Along the way, if the symptoms are severe enough, they may have to treat the symptom without knowing the cause. A fever may need reducing. A body may require rehydrating. Such action may bring a measure of relief, but it does not bring real healing. True healing only occurs when the underlying cause is found and addressed.
We view the world in a similar fashion. There is a host of issues warring on people. They are like symptoms pointing to a deeper concern. We must not ignore them, or they will wreak death and destruction. At the same time, we must look for and treat the underlying cause to which these signs point to bring real healing to the neighborhoods of our world.
A Breakdown of Relationships
Arnold J. Toynbee, noted historian, in his important study of the historical societies of our world notes that every society failed and did so from within. Outside forces may have come to bear, but it was a weakening of relationships within the society, ultimately, that led to its demise. It’s no different today. A breakdown of relationships within our neighborhoods is an underlying cause for may of the ills we face.
The quality of our individual lives never exceeds the quality of our relationships with others. Whether it’s a family, a neighborhood, a city, a country, or an entire society, if those relationships become unhealthy or diseased, it negatively impacts everyone who is a part of that system.
Caring Relationships: A Proven Remedy
A 2016 study by the Shreveport Police Department conclusively determined the work of Community Renewal International’s approach to bringing wholeness to neighborhoods is working. CRI brings together caring partners to restore the foundation of safe and caring communities helping neighborhoods become havens of friendship and support. In short, they focus on building positive relationships between community members making a dramatic impact. According to the police department, in the most challenged and dangerous neighborhoods where CRI is in action, there has been a 51% drop in major crime and a 54% drop in quality of life crime!
A Simple Comprehensive Strategy
Mission Cy-Fair, leaning heavily on the success of Community Renewal International, is adopting three platforms for re-invigorating the quality of life in Cypress and Greater Houston. Working together with community members and any organization that has a desire to make life better for all, we hope to make life better in every neighborhood with a particular emphasis on neighborhoods in crisis.
Renewal Team: Also known as the “We Care Team,” works citywide to unite individuals, churches, businesses, civic groups, and others as caring partners building a stronger city. People are encouraged to identify how they are helping another. The goal is to create a movement of individuals who are continually changing the atmosphere of our communities by overcoming brokenness with goodness.
Haven Houses: Volunteers unite neighbors on the block or in the apartment building where they live. They place “We Care” signs in their yards or “We Care” decals in their windows and bring neighbors together through various activities. As neighbors begin to know each other, caring relationships begin to blossom.
Friendship Houses: These are homes that will be built in low-income neighborhoods and lived in by MCF staff. As residents of the neighborhood, staff will develop friendships with the people in that neighborhood. Utilizing the Friendship House as a small, neighborhood community center, together they will turn impoverished neighborhoods into havens of hope.
These three platforms are designed to work together to instill a foundation of caring relationships within every neighborhood.