If you find yourself within Christian circles, you have likely heard about the sexual misconduct allegations against Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in northern Illinois and one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the country.
I attend a church in a neighboring suburb to Willow Creek. Bill Hybels was the pastor to my pastor. Our church was, at one time, part of the Willow Creek Association of Churches.
When the news first broke about Hybels this past March, the first reaction from most of my friends was disbelief. It was my first instinct, too. None of us wanted to hear that someone who has been a spiritual leader and guiding figure would do the things he was accused of.
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For several years I have volunteered for an organization that partners with internationals attending our local university. By picking them up from the airport, helping them buy winter coats, hosting a weekly community dinner, and connecting them to neighborhood resources, the goal is to ensure that international students and their families are made to feel welcomed and loved.
Welcoming and loving foreigners is a distant concept to much of America today. Americans voted in 2016 based on “cultural anxiety.” Attacks against people of color in the form of white supremacist rallies and police shootings have been exposed. A country that prides itself in aligning with “Christian” morality has come to a point where Christians are the least likely to accept responsibility for refugees. Most recently, immigrants have been indefinitely separated from their children, and thousands of undocumented children have been subsequently lost.
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SYCAMORE – Whimsical Perspective, a new store in downtown Sycamore, will open its doors Thursday.
The shop is located in the Opera House building at 366 W. State St. on the corner of California and State streets.
Laura Bright, owner of Whimsical Perspective along with her husband, Ron, hope to add a new, unique vibe to the downtown area.
Bright has been posting on a blog under the same name for the past six years, featuring painted furniture pieces, DIY home décor and design, which will serve as inspiration for the store.
DeKalb is not going to make “fetch” happen.
Gretchen Wieners tried in Mean Girls, and every person, city, and state has something that is their “fetch.” In DeKalb county, it’s a train.
Last month DeKalb citizens’ social media buzzed with excitement over a change.org petition which requested Metra Rail’s Union Pacific West Line to extend to the DeKalb/NIU area.
This is not, by any means, a new proposition. Dave Hedin of DeKalb commented on the petition: “The current Metra train stops 18 miles short of the largest city in the area that also includes a large university, which has never made sense to me.”
Hedin isn’t wrong. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense for the UP West Line to stop in Elburn instead of DeKalb. Many students at Northern Illinois University commute from the Chicagoland area and the surrounding suburbs. The NIU Huskie Bus only travels to the Elburn trains station twice a week, and a Greyhound bus line makes a stop to the station only once a day. For anyone to make a regular back-and-forth commute, this requires owning a car, bumming rides off of friends, or working a schedule around the bus.
No one can argue that a train station in DeKalb would be a welcome addition to the town. The change.org petition has already garnered 1,237 supporters. And it doesn’t matter at all.
Why? $400 million.
That’s what it would take to extend the UP West Line to DeKalb. We can stop trying to make “fetch” happen. It’s not going to happen.
The Metra Board responded to the petition and said it wasn’t going to happen. They’re already “$11 billion in the hole for railroad maintenance on existing tracks,” according to Mark Pietrowski, the DeKalb County Board Chairman. Pietrowski made clear that this idea has been a local consideration for years and has never made it past the petition stage.
Even DeKalb citizens question whether they should keep pushing for it to happen. Many are on board with the train expansion in theory, but their tune changes when taxes are discussed. DeKalb County would need to join the Regional Transportation Authority and DeKalb residents would pay RTA taxes. Due to outstanding debts and repairs on existing tracks taking priority, there are communities which have been paying into the RTA for years that still don’t have a track.
Local businesses certainly don’t want to make it happen. 10 months of the year, NIU students are the primary customer base downtown DeKalb storefronts. If students hop on the train and leave every night and/or weekend, that’s income flying out the window.
At this point, circulating a petition on social media and acting like this is the NEXT BIG THING for DeKalb is just silly. Illinois and NIU already have enormous financial problems. We don’t need to spend millions of dollars to prove we’re relevant. We’re never going to be as cool as Regina George. We’re DeKalb.