Warming to Chicago

If you grew up in Minnesota (or Wisconsin, or the Dakotas), you were taught that Chicago is mainly a pain in the ass.

Any trip East meant that Dad would complain about Chicago traffic, and the entire trip had to be scheduled to avoid the notoriously horrible Chicago traffic. If the Twin Cities were home, that meant leaving at 4am so that we could drive the Family Truckster through Chicagoland sometime after the morning rush and before the afternoon rush. According to Dad, that was a 35-minute window. Every summer driving trip — to Boston, to Washington, D.C., to New York City — hinged on this eye-of-the-needle calculus.

Then there’s A.J. Pierzynski.

So, I’m being honest when I say that I’ve never been much of a fan of the Windy City.

All that changed last week.

Four things changed my mind about Chicago:

First, I led a Social Phonics Boot Camp at Northern Seminary. Northern is a great seminary that’s attempting to be both relevant and affordable. Plus, they’re a founding member of the new Missio Alliance.

Second, I was interviewed by a couple young dudes from Moody Bible Institute. Their show — The Bridge — airs on Moody Campus Radio, and they are pushing several envelopes that likely make some at Moody uncomfortable.

Third, I gave a talk at LaSalle Street Church. Pastored by Laura Truax, LSC was founded by Moody many years ago — obviously, with a woman pastor, the church and the Bible School cut ties many years ago. They are an “ecumenical evangelical community” that has recently decided to openly welcome and affirm GLBT persons. This is an awesome church, and I felt very much at home.

Fourth, I got to have breakfast with my dear friend, Andy Marin, in Boys Town, the neighborhood in which he does his bridge-building work between the church and the GLBT community. We had a great time of catching up and talking shop.

All in all, it was a great visit to Chicago. And, I have to admit, Chicago isn’t as much of a pain in the ass as I thought. From now on, Lake Michigan should take the blame for being in the way.

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  • Did you go to Ann Sathers for breakfast? Dang, so so good. (Oh, and Andy is great too)

    I’d love to connect with the Moody guys. I’m an alum that didn’t drink all of the Kool Aid. Mad love for MBI… but it’s folks like that which are the future for the school. Fighting the hierarchy there is all part of the game!

  • I worked at MBI for roughly ten years and happily label myself as a heretic by their standards. But there have always been those willing to push the envelopes there. They may not last long, but they’re important to the makeup of the school. Thank god for them. And for the somewhat edgy campus radio.

  • Thanks for that Tony! It was SO good to have you on MCR and at LaSalle! Ill keep you posted on what happens with our dean meeting. 😉

    For you commenters! My name is Brandan , I am one of the two envelope pushers! Thanks for your support guys! Praying that Jesus brakes some of these walls at MBI! You guys who went before us keep us hopeful and motivated.

    hit us up! thebridgemcr@gmail.com!

  • It was great hosting Social Phonics, and meeting you Tony. You mentioned your some what of a “wordsmith”. Make sure you scout out Myopic bookstore in Wicker Park, and get some Lou Malnotti’s Pizza!