I first started blogging in 2002 primarily as a spiritual discipline. It was my hope that I might be more regular in my journaling if I had an audience that made me more accountable for writing. I don’t really know how successful that goal was, but my other blog, Only Wonder Understands, has been a place for me to unload whatever was on my mind at the time. Most of the time that tended to be focused on the church and things of faith. However, every now and then, I would find myself veering into politics, which seemed to either frustrate my readers or spur them on in their political lives as well. Since I believe in a holistic faith, one in which faith and politics do indeed mix, it made some sense to include the whole of my life there. But from an audience standpoint it could be quite confusing, with folks never knowing which hat I was going to be wearing.
A lot has happened in my life since 2002. Since that time I have found myself drawn into leadership around issues in Nashville, from my work against the English Only amendment to my advocacy for Metro General Hospital, to the community development work I do in Antioch (which has led other pastors to jokingly call me “the mayor of Antioch”). In spite of what some have thought, I have been a reluctant prophet along the way, eschewing the traditional activist role that some of my colleagues wear with pride. And yet, I have lived in Nashville most of my life. I went to school here. I am raising my kids here. I serve a church here. This has been and continues to be my home, and I am passionate about my love for our city. That love, that desire to be a good neighbor, has led me to get involved along the way, which has then led me to form opinions about the direction and future of our city. Those thoughts form the basis of this blog.
This blog is “JustNashville” for two reasons. The first is that it is my intention to use it as a space to focus solely on Nashville issues. As a person of faith I obviously have opinions about things in the national arena. But as has been said over and over, “all politics is local.” My focus here is on the issues that face our city in the days ahead. I may stray to state wide issues occasionally, but only in the context of how they affect Nashville.
The other reason this blog is “JustNashville” is that my context for writing is based in the belief that God calls his people to be concerned for justice. “Justice,” in this context, isn’t about crime and punishment. No, this is about creating a playing field where all are treated fairly, where all persons can find a common level of respect and dignity. Justice in the faith context generally believes in what Martin Luther King Jr. called the “web of mutuality,” the interconnectedness of all in which I can never be fully who I am until who are fully able to be who you are. This is a blog focused on a vision of Nashville being a just city, in which love, respect, and concern for our neighbor guides how we live together.
We have many challenges ahead of us. The current political climate is polarized and driven by cash. We have to make some basic decisions about what kind of city we want to be. This blog hopes to offer a few suggestions about our priorities along the way.
I hope you will join me in thinking about what it means to be a Nashvillian.