Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Fallen World

Yesterday morning a popular boy whom we knew from the neighborhood we used to live in was shot five times and killed here in Marion.  What a waste.  You can tell from the response on his Facebook page that he was well loved.

My sense is that he was on a typical trajectory.  Easy going kid hanging out with friends, having a good time, living for pleasure.  No sense of anything greater than doing the next thing.  No sense of how his next thing might come into conflict with someone else's next thing.

The church is not having much impact this age group--high school and just after who aren't headed to college.  Those who try mostly just come off as preachy.  The trajectory of the government toward his demographic is either to reinforce the status quo (Democrats) or to worsen it (Republicans).  I have heard of some Christians who move into neighborhoods without meaningful trajectories and actually live out good news, give hope, give healthy distraction.

God save us from ourselves and send us some true prophets...

10 comments:

Robert said...

Dreadful. I remember the sense of shock a few years ago when a couple of girls were gunned down not far from here. It was some idiots having a go at a rival gang, and they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

::athada:: said...

I remember the many privileged, Christian observations of Marion. What a horrible city, violent, dirty, ignorant. Can't wait to get out.

I often wondered whether they were interested in ministry, in living the Christian way, or more interested in living the life of a TV sitcom.

The challenge, somehow, is energizing youth to be strangely magnetized toward the margins, toward the suffering and hurting centers where hope is needed.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It does not matter what anyone does, as there will always be "evil" and there will always be those that judge you for not doing something about their particular "conviction" or passion......there are those that have moved into neighborhoods to "redeem", but these too can only do so much....and they obviously feel "called to it". This is their passion and heart.

::athada:: Does that mean if one doesn't have the "same passion and heart" for such as these that they are not Christians....You should have "faith for yourself", then...and not judge others for what they don't have faith for...or about...

Community mindedness is a matter of where one desires to serve or be of service. We certainly decided after driving through Marion 16 1/2 years ago that this was not the place we wanted to raise our children...but then, we reconsidered, because we "felt called to the university"...by coming here we gave up much, does that mean that because we don't give up our time and efforts to orient ourselves to "the poor", that we are less than "Christian"...being a "Christian is a matter of definition, and once one's definition is undermined, then the questions about Christianity itself begin....and one can assess what one really is interested in....not for being considered a "Christian" but for the value of the interests itself...

::athada:: said...

Angie,

I'm never sure quite what you are saying, but I'll respond thus:

*I only worked in Marion 2 yrs after graduating, then left, so I'm not throwing stones. From a Christian perspective, I personally believe we must have a preferential option for the poor because, as Phillip Yancey points out, Jesus' upbringing and ministry shows that is exactly God's priority. Some Christians will have a deeper calling within that and will commit themselves to that work more intensely and specifically. Different, not better.

*"faith for yourself," in as much as it is Randian, to me seems to be a low ethical bar, even for non-theists. If you aren't a criminal, pay your taxes, and take care of yourself - ok, at least you caused no harm. But I know and read of many non-theists who have developed a deep sense of care for other humans and the rest of creation - I think we can strive for a better world, whether or not we believe in a God or gods. Does that make sense?

So Marion is certainly not for everyone, but I just lament that Christian ethical teaching seems not to have penetrated very deep in most believers (myself included). Following up Ken's lament of this world, and hope for a better one.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Then, the question is (if theists and non-=theist agree) what is to be "mandantory"....or mandated....? Can it be, if we want to live in a free society? I tend to resist any type of "standardization" of "right behavior" concerning the world and all that is, whenever I "smell" co-ercive Statist or busy-body modus operandi!

What does anyone know about what another really has done or is doing, unless they judge it by outward actions that can be seen? That is setting up a society where "The State" or Moral Policemen set the standard and determine whether it is being carried out or not...and such thinking is similar to making sure that one is doing one's liturgical duties, by taking communion, etc... I believe that most everyone is doing something that makes for a better society or world, even by raising one's children or babysitting another's child. That may not be seen by those that are expecting some other type of service...service does not have to be a specified action...but a matter of personal choice, value and interest... and yes, I am defending autonomy of decision and choice.

::athada:: said...

Angie,

You are reading in things that were not mentioned or even insinuated (moral police, a government forcing a given ethical code, etc).

I mention Rand not for her laissez faire applications to big political structures, but for her advocating a personal narcissism that caves in on itself into a black hole ;) If I wanted to be an animal, I could move back to the jungle. That story is old. I'm interested in becoming more human.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Then, I will leave out the government language and say that only the individual can determine what they will or won't do...that is unless some entity thinks they can morally perfect the individual...their babysitting, being involved in their children's lives, extended family duties, being a good neighbor, and other activities do not meet the standards that are to "perfect" the person...they aren't Humane EnOUGH!! or they do not "love till it hurts" (that's a good gauge, I suppose for some, to determine whether one becomes "like Jesus, that is, making sure that perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord, will be inhumane to create more humaness! That makes perfect sense!)

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It like saying that if one abuses a child, then they will learn to be kind and considerate!!! That makes sense, eh?

Or if one controls the choices of people about their healthcare, then more people will be able to be covered. It doesn't matter that more people will die due to a lack of quality care, at least it will appear that the government "did it's duty"!! And those that have the money or power can get their quality needs met, no problem!

::athada:: said...

I don't mind people pointing out some benefits of individualism, just as long as they don't forget that it is a historically recent and unique cultural phenomenon and it not the apex of human civilization towards which all of humanity is or should be heading. Most libertarians I know speak this way. IMHO, it shows a lack of understanding of basic anthropology.

Japan shows that just because a culture leans more towards collectivism, their economy will not shrink back into the stone age. They have handled and will handle their current crisis much better than the U.S. handled Katrina. I don't remember seeing a single picture or hearing a single broadcast about looting there.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Collectivism, looting and helping one's neighbor....

I thought that Americans believe in the "social contract", which does mean that as long as one lives their life within the bounds of law, then they have protections under the law. This is a form of "collectivism", an identification with the law that protect society's order.

Other than that, there is the business contract that protects economic interests to all parties. This is a way to organize interests. Respecting another's interests protects against "looting" when another is not looking or there is opportunity to do "what one wants" with no accountability.

Community service is involvment in one's given location. And that is voluntary. It is giving the neighbor a hand when one sees the need.

What is the difference, then? Character of those that won't loot when another is not looking or cirucmstances are such that the law is not enforced.

Character who those who take care of their property and give a hand to places where one can, because one is committed to a particular community.

The problem lies in our society, with its transitory nature and the disruption of extended support systems, whether family or community. These are not easily found in places like Marion, where people already have their associations "in place".