“The whole south wall of my home seemed ready to collapse under a distressed drumming at the door one recent evening. While my wife went to the peephole I recollected some words from a sermon I’d heard years ago: “If our church catches on to the radical extent that Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, we’ll be the sort of community that has prostitutes banging down the doors.” When I first heard that challenge I don’t think I took it quite this literally.

“We could have picked a neighborhood where that’s a little easier. This secularized city is full of charming places that would benefit from the attention of some youthfully optimistic church folks. Yet we ended up in the neighborhood of Aurora, a neighborhood that is generally characterized by its less alluring attributes: seedy motels, vacant lots, various abused chemicals, sexual promiscuity, and the like. The land along this old highway is an eyesore, a blemish in Seattle’s otherwise clear complexion, and everyone seems to be sneering, “Can anything good come from Aurora?”