Friday, October 2, 2009

The Urban War

This is a graphic picture.

It's a young African American man lying in a morgue, killed by another young African American man. It happens every day here in Chicago, usually completely invisible to the world outside the 'hood until somethng graphic like the beating that occurred last week captures our attention. For a minute.

I’m so weary of the same old tired 1960’s solutions being rolled out to address the violence problem (“Educate! Legislate! Regulate!”).

But the problem being faced by (mostly) minorities in urban America is far more complex than either the conservatives or the liberals let on. It involves systemic injustice alongside personal responsibility. It involves racism and historical disenfranchisement on the part of the majority culture alongside victim posturing and personal sin on the part of the minority culture. It involves bold-faced Satanic attack and other varieties of spiritual warfare. It involves the overreach of government alongside the apathy of government. I could go on...

It involves, at a significant level, the failure of the institutions of Church and Family. It begs the question, "where are the fathers?"

But with all that in the background, we must look at this picture and ask HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

Force yourself to face this...



Anonymous Shane Vander Hart said...

Well... sin. I know it's more complex than that, but that's at the problem's foundation.

We also have a complete disregard for human life. We've become desensitized to it. You are right that it's sad that this has been going on and it is barely noticed.

How many of us, myself included, can look at that picture and not even blink.

God help us. God help me to see this problem from Your perspective.

October 3, 2009 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Amen, Shane

Sin is indeed at the core of it... both the corporate sins of the majority culture AND the personal sins of the people in the middle of the mess. "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23). When will we get that?

Too many people in the "Christian" world want to polarize to one side or the other, and define morality either exclusively in terms of social responsibility or exclusively in terms of individual responsibility. When we see that true morality is much bigger, we may be open to seeing how sin - as God defines it - kills so much.

And what is the remedy for the curse of sin? The cross alone. Surely sin - both corporate and personal - must be confronted, but the heart does not change apart from the work of the Spirit of God through the Gospel. The cross IS the solution.

But who is really, really facing the problem?

October 3, 2009 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Joe Chavez said...

My niece's fiance was shot and killed over two years ago on the streets of Los Angeles.

The killer walked because my niece's fiancé's "friend" (I use the term loosely) who was with him the night he was shot, refused to testify.

His death left behind two small children, the youngest son only a month old at the time. It was a horrifying time for my family and I know all of my nieces and nephews will never forget it.

Shane's right: it's sin. That's the most basic reason for it. But the others include knowing who your friends are, and being involved in inappropriate relationships. The Bible is clear on all these matters.

I guess looking at the picture brought that time back into focus for me. I suppose I have forgotten that this is happening on our streets every night. Where is our outrage?

October 5, 2009 at 5:49 PM  

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