El Paso: A City Searching for Its Soul

This week the El Paso Times reported that El Paso city leaders were surveying business and community leaders about its image and the impact of the violence in Juarez on the business and tourism climate. Three of the ten question directed related to the bloody violence in Juarez and its economic impact.  Sadly the Times misrepresented the survey saying:

“El Paso officials want to know whether the city should take the first steps toward ending its ‘sister city’ relationship with Juarez”

In addition, the Times ran an online survey with this provocative question:

“Should El Paso distance itself from Juarez in trying to draw business to the city?”

Of the 2809 who responded:

74.54% “Yes, the violence in Juarez hurts El Paso’s image

25.45% “No, El Paso should embrace being a border city

Marketing does not create the character and image of a city–the actions of its leaders and people make a name for a city. Sadly asking questions like these only reveals how far our society has moved toward success rather than significance. You cannot measure character in dollars and cents. Greatest has more to do with how we treat each other than whether or not we get ahead.

Our “sister city Juarez” is fighting for her very life. If we turn our back on her now we too have sold our souls to the dark side. Recently a Juarez pastor spoke to a gathering of pastor at our church. He told a story about two sisters who were trying to deal with the bloody violence.  One sister’s children were gunned down. Meanwhile, the other sister pulled away from her family and tried to protect her children. She ignored and abandoned her sister in crisis. Then the pastor scanned the room and said, “The sister who is protecting her children is El Paso.” Like the crooked finger of Nathan pointing at David and saying “Thou are the man.” I felt the tinge of guilt knowing all too well the truth captured in the parable.

I have no aspiration about being a great business mind nor corporate guru, but I do know a bit about Kingdom of God. Jesus told a story about a man beaten and left by the road by a band of robbers to die. A priest and a Levite saw the man…these men of faith saw the plight of the dying man and “walked by on the other side.” Meanwhile, a hated Samaritan stumbled upon the dying Jew. At great personal risk and expense he stopped and cared for the man. He loaded him on his own donkey. He nursed his wounds during a long night in the inn. He left enough money to provide for the stranger’s needs. He demonstrated what it meant to be a neighbor…a true neighbor.

So what is El Paso going to do? Are we going to go on about our normal lives and walk by on the other side of the road or are we going to stop and give of ourselves for our “sister” in need. When it comes to greatness–character counts! We must also remember “character costs.” It cost Jesus’ His life as He laid down His life for His friends. I challenge us to follow His example and to draw closer to our “sister” in her time of need!

 

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Filed under Border Journal, El Paso Journal

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