I work for a private Christian school in Chicago that embodies the spirit of the city. I love the progressive, forward thinking of this school and of Christians in Chicago on the whole. See, I came from living for 9 years in a place where there is not as much diversity.
Recently, a teacher at the school where I work shared that when she decided 3rd/4th grade was what she wanted to teach, she read the entire Harry Potter series. It's what kids that age are in to. In Tulsa, there was so much anti-Potter sentiment when the first movie came out, it was even 'preached' against from the pulpit of our church. J and I decided we wanted to learn about it for ourselves and to not just take what 'they' said.
J's sound booth in Tulsa was in the middle of 2 gym floors. He played a song with Eastern style music. J witnessed a lower elementary child jokingly pretend to be in a yoga position. The P.E. teacher told the child yoga was of the devil. Needless to say, when we learned one of the classes in the Christian school where I teach (and where Motor Mouth attends) did a model Chinese home, complete with a Buddha, we were floored and impressed. How best to teach a Christian worldview than to share the religious beliefs of others in the world and those they will come in contact with in Chicago? I should mention we often run in to Motor Mouth's teacher after her evening yoga class.
Since moving to Chicago, I've met Christians who love Jesus and are - get this - Democrats! For 9 years, I did not realize you could be destined for Heaven AND vote for a Democrat. This is not only a Tulsa phenomenon. Clearly, there are red states and blue states. This was just my experience. I'm Canadian and therefore neither Republican nor Democrat. I have to say, I did love me some Reagan and some George W.
The thing I love about politics in Chicago is that you can have differing opinions and still be friends with someone. You can have differing opinions and still have a decent relationship with your family. They won't accuse you of living in a Godless city because people are allowed to have their own thoughts and their own opinions - especially after much study.
What I've struggled with a lot over the last few years is the number of my Tulsa acquaintances suddenly getting divorces because this one was cheating on that one, or friends who have $50K - $100K in credit card debt, or knowing some people have strap ons hidden in their homes but they act morally supreme, or they get fired because they are abusing prescription drugs or they are closet alcoholics, etc.
So when I came to Chicago and on one of the first Sundays we were in church here, a guy got up and talked about his porn addiction in front of the whole church, I knew we weren't in Tulsa anymore!! I missed it, but a previous week a guy talked about his struggles with homosexuality and I've heard women talk about their formerly promiscuous lifestyles.
Are people in Chicago perfect? Absolutely not. But I believe that in being honest about your struggles, you can face them head on and work through them. Is everyone in Chicago just voyeuristic and share their yucky life stuff? Nope. But in doing so, it helps other people to face and deal with the yuckyness of their lives. You can have a group of people who care about you supporting you and helping to keep you accountable. God is a god of light, not darkness. What we hide can eat us up inside. If we bring it in to the light, we can get help and live in the freedom God designs for us.
Although this may sound like a bash Tulsa entry, it is not. I love the friends I made there and value my friends. I'm merely reaffirming why I love living in this big city. And why I felt like I was dying in Tulsa. Why I had to get out of there before my soul shriveled up and died.