Monday, May 21, 2007

My Urban Education Started at Moody

At church yesterday a friend commented about how meaningful it has been for a group of Romanian senior citizens who live in Jenkins Hall, a building that is part dormitory for Moody Bible Institute students and part subsidized housing for seniors, to have a Moody student from Romania organize a Bible study for them. Talk about practical Christian education! Imagine the beauty of crossing the ocean to go to school and learning that you are living near senior citizens from your country who are hungry to study the Bible!

It reminds me of Acts 17:26-27 when Paul explained to the Athenians that "from one man (God) made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him."

The leadership of Moody has consistently made the decision to stay in the city doing the work that Dwight L. Moody and Emma Dryer started after the Chicago fire of caring for those who were devastated physically and financially by the fire and educating students in a multicultural setting to take the Word to the World. It was that heritage of Moody that attracted me to the city in the 70's. After biking around the many uniquely diverse ethnic neighborhoods and visiting with struggling Chicago residents in the housing projects and medicare nursing homes for Moody assignments, I was hooked on the city and I'm still here.

There was no Urban Studies program back then. I studied Bible Theology because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew whatever I ended up doing, I wanted to know Scripture and serve God. Last week a young woman at one of our River City Community Groups commented about how wonderful the Urban Studies program was for her at Moody. Studying Scripture in the context of the complex issues that present themselves in the city brings a depth of understanding that is rich with application. Since all people are made in the image of God, I think we get an even more complete picture of who God is when we truly learn to understand and love people from cultures other than our own. The city provides a wonderful theological laboratory in which to experience God's love for all people.

Thanks Moody, for expanding my view of God and helping me to find God's calling for my life.


Nathan Strand said...

We’re grateful for valuable resource people like you, Arloa, who are willing to invest their own lives in mentoring the MBI students who volunteer with you. As of last count, there are almost 300 churches and agencies around Chicagoland where students serve. Thank YOU!

kmann said...

Indeed, I second the motion. Although I can't say I love everything about Moody, I loved the pcm program and the location and I came away from my time there with a love for the city and a heart for the inner-city.

I'm now leaving for Dallas in hope that what I've learned in Chicago will be useful there as well. any recommendations of good organizations to work for?

thaberean said...

There's a great Christian school in Dallas called West Dallas Community School. It is tied to West Dallas Community Church, which does some community development stuff. I spent some time there doing a self-made, quasi internship when I was in seminary there, and I enjoyed it.

Rebecca said...

Arloa, I found a couple of interesting articles on that I thought I would pass along. If you get a chance, tell me what you think.,8599,1625097,00.html,8599,1575776,00.html

Chris said...

Hey Arloa! Long time no see.
The love of the city that you found while at Moody was very very evident when you taught Wheaton's urban studies class while I was in it (Spring, '06). The truly incarnational way you live has been inspiring to me. My thanks to you (and Moody).