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A Holla to All Peeps in the East and the West (and the Midwest)

previously published in July 2004

Initially I was given the topic of East Coast vs. West Coast for the subject of a Compass Article.  I thought, ”Cool!  The Compass is reaching to the new young and hippity hop generation.”  When people look at the East Coast and the West Coast two things come to mind, the Notorious BIG and Tupac Shakur.  They are the two biggest names in rap and hip hop. 

However, I grew up in Hinsdale, Illinois.  That is located in the Midwest an hour out of Chicago.  Growing up the biggest things to hit my high school were Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews band, and Green Day.  I remember those days fondly.  In my days of more provocative music I’d turn the volume up to 5 on some Nirvana and dance around in my flannel shirt to the smells of teen spirit or perhaps it was just adolescent body odor. 

Needless to say I didn’t hear much rap.  However, I remember very well the word on the street was that there was big beef between the two.  They started as friends, but then one supposedly dissed another.  Then the other heard from a friend of a friend of a friend, and said, “No you didn’t.”  Then the beef was on.  The tension was thick, and then posses were formed to support each other’s disses.  You know somebody got served through all of this.  Eventually and unfortunately one died, and shortly after the other.  They tried to keep it real, but perhaps what was said on the down-low came out on the up-high and ended in tragedy.  Word.

Ultimately what can we as Christians learn from this mega battle that went way past that of KRS-1 and MC Shan?  Tupac and Biggie did have “mad love” for each other so to speak at one time.  This discussion arises because some feel that there is a divide between the East and the West.  Is there a rift between Korean SDA’s from NY to LA?

When I think about the East Coast churches and West Coast churches I do see differences in style.  I see that the East Coast mentality is typically much more conservative.  The lifestyle is a little slower.  The churches are a bit smaller.  The West Coast is completely opposite of that, which is cool too.  Either way both struggle to be Christ focused at times and ignore the distractions of life and religion. 

Coming from the Midwest I might even be more conservative than both of the two coasts.  However, we have a problem in Chicago that is found in the East or in the West, LOVE.  Snoop Dogg said at an awards show once, “You all got no love for the West Coast? . . .”  Where is the love?  Perhaps we’ve lost it.  (On a side note where is the love for the Midwest?)

Within love we can find friendship, unity, and Christianity.  Love has the profound ability to be so strong that it overlooks our shortcomings.  Love can bring people together.  However, the one thing I find we seem to lack the most of is love. 

I have asked teenagers at my church whether we are trying to get into Harvard or heaven.  We’re pushed to succeed in our earthly lives, while trying to succeed in our spiritual lives?  As Jesus said, it really is not possible to serve two masters, because you would lose love for God.  Now if God blesses you as indirect result of your faithfulness to Him as he did to Abraham then that is a different story, but how many of us are really like that?  We’ve pursued the success first and made time for God, and along the way we lost the love.  If we had pursued God, and the love of God then we would have more success in other things and with other people.

How can we love other people, if we don’t even love Jesus?  In Paul’s message to the Corinthians the first thing he says about love (1 Corinthians 13:4) is that it is patient.  It takes a lot of love to love.  But these days how many of us are willing to love our enemies, strangers, or Jesus?  Goodness, loving our own family members are hard enough.  Is it too hard?  What then?  Should we segregate?  Make different friends?  Make different churches?  Make different denominations?  No.  1 Corinthians 13:7, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.  Love always perseveres.  Over the course of my life I have heard about and seen many church come-together or separate.  They separate because there is something they think love cannot conquer.  They usually don’t join back out of love, but because one had grown too small. 

In fact, in Chicago the churches are thinking of combining all the churches.  The churches in Chicago have grown small over the years because college kids are simply going off and not coming back.  They know if they come back they are coming back to small churches with high school worship with a weekend youth pastor.  If they combine all the churches they could have the resources to provide a full-time Korean pastor, and a full-time English speaking pastor.  They could provide better services to all their children, and those that have grown up to become “grown-ups.”  However, things stand in the way and unification, which may be in the best interest of most churches, is not easy.  Is it a lack of love?

If we have that much difficulty being unified in one city then are we doomed when it comes to the two coasts?  Is there really a divide? There may be a physical divide, but not a spiritual divide.  Between the East, West, or Midwest I find that there are many differences—differences that a really conservative person or a really liberal person from either coast would find shocking or rigid.  However, I don’t find that there are any significant differences that we couldn’t overcome with love.  Because the bottom line is that we’re doing what we do for Jesus.  We’re here to glorify Him.

Vs. 18,” And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Do you have faith in HIM?  Do you have hope in HIM?  Do you love HIM?
Everything else is secondary isn’t it?  If we loved God more I think that would give us the love to love others.  We should try to love.

From the East to the West I’m a gonna give a holla to all my peeps turn and follow Jesus because you are his sheepz.  Peace and Love, baby. 

Cuban B.
“If there is a hole fill it with love man.”

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