I spent an interesting day yesterday hanging out with Vineyard pastor Rand Tucker. A San Diego boy, Tucker, 40, started the Hyde Park Vineyard Church in Chicago 10 years ago.
The photo here on the left is of a century-old Hyde Park mansion … now owned by and home to the Hyde Park Alliance Church. It's two blocks from Tucker and his family's condo and where Tucker and his staff from Hyde Park Vineyard rent office space and rooms during the week.
While Hyde Park is famous for the renowned University of of Chicago, it currently is most certainly best known for where President Barack Obama lives (or where he lives when he is in Chicago). I drove directly by Obama's house (shown here in the photo surrounded by a black iron gate and evergreens), which now has 24-hour police protection. It's a stately old home that he paid $1.6 million for in 2005. The street leading to Obama's house is baricaded.
Hyde Park is known for its extremely liberal views, even in a city like Chicago known for its liberal views. Within a few blocks of the Hyde Park Vineyard's office are the homes of Obama, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakan (Nation of Islam) and Carol Moseley Braun (former U.S. democratic senator from Illinois).
Furthermore, Hyde Park is the home to Chicago Theological Seminary (A seminary of the United Church of Christ) and Meadville Lombard theological School (A Unitarian Universalist seminary) … as well as Catholic Theological Union, Lutheran School of Theology and McCormick Theological Seminary.
By the way, I did note the McCorkmick Seminary advertisement for an upcoming April 23 lecture by Dr. Linda Thomas with the Title: "A Joshua church in an Obama Era … A Womanist Conjure."
The prominent theology of Hyde Park is Liberation Theology of various stripes. Generally speaking, Liberation Theology is a highly political social view of Jesus and his redemption, especially championed by the poor and minorities who hold that poverty and oppression are virtues for which Jesus held special commendation.
On Sundays Pastor Rand Tucker and his flock of 180 meet at Hyde Park's Kenwood Academy for their weekly services. The congregation is about 45% Caucasian, 25% African-American, and 20% Asian. Tucker loves the electic community, the coffeeshops, the diversity and the challenge.