What Kind of Community is Waco, Texas?

Waco,_TX,_welcome_sign_IMG_0664Sunday morning, 150-200 bikers gathered at a local restaurant.  They are members of five different gangs.  They are wearing their colors.  A short time later, there is violence.

9 bikers dead.  18 in the hospital.  Motorcycle gangs.  Guns.  A shoot-out with police.  Blood.  Death.

This takes place on a Sunday morning in one of the nicest shopping areas in Central Texas.  Wow. I would have thought something like this would have happened at a seedy bar late one Saturday night.

In December 2013, we moved from Waco, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee, after having lived in that city for twenty years. The news is filled with details of these gangs and the shootings last Sunday.  No doubt people will be talking about this tragedy in Waco for many years.

Having lived in Waco for twenty years, I can tell you that there is another important story about this city.  This city has much that is good and is actually a wonderful place to live, raise children, and serve God.

What kind of community is Waco?

1.  This is a community that is alive with good people and families who desire to be a positive force for God.

2.  This is a community with many good churches such as Crestview Church of Christ where I served as a minister for twenty years.  (I’m delighted that Jordan Hubbard serves as their new preacher.)

3.  This is a community where there is much laughter, joy, and goodness.  Restaurants bustle with friends and families.  There are numerous ball fields where one can drive by most any summer evening and see the Little Leaguers in action.

4.  This is a community where churches from across the city take up a collection of toys for the Mission Waco toy store in order to bless those whose children might otherwise not have any presents on Christmas morning.

5.  This is a community where on Friday evenings, one can find a high school football game in most any direction.  Or, one can wait until Saturday and join the crowd at Baylor University’s new McLane Stadium.

6.  This is a community where in Marketplace Shopping Center, one can shop, meet up with friends at Starbucks, or enjoy good Mexican food.

7.  This is a community that has received much attention recently through Chip and Joanna Gaines and their hit television show Fixer-Upper.  Their loving interaction with one another had not gone unnoticed by millions of people.

Does this area have problems?

Of course.  There are always those in most any location who do not have the well being of others at heart.  Yet, those who live in the Waco area know that one dark day does not define them or their city.

Sometimes evil takes place in ways that are public, violent, and terrifying.  Many across the country will remember the pictures of this violent Sunday in May.

Human sin and evil are real and exist in every town and city in the nation.  Yet, in many places, evil is subtle.  A town or city may be quiet but under the cloak of darkness, evil may be tearing apart the fabric of a marriage and destroying the character of a man or woman.

In the aftermath of such a Sunday, this is a time to be thankful for all that is good and right wherever we might live.




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