Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gangs at church: Anger and sorrow

On this Sunday afternoon around 3 pm, a few visitors stopped by our church. Actually, they were here to paint. Now normally that is good news, because our church is being painted now, but these were really not the painters/visitors we'd been praying for. They carried cans of lovely blue spray paint.

Something that Al Queda and gangs have in common is that they always take 'credit' for the bad things they do. Such was the case this time at it was spray-painted on the wall. Fortunately for us, we are in the process of painting, so it really wasn't that big of a deal: someone just painted over it with the off-tope color of the newly painted other buildings.

Anyhow, these same hoodlums (he could hear their conversations) had been here before and painted "No Surremacy" on the walls.

I have several thoughts on the matter.

1.) Is there a special place in Hell for folks who steal from and vandalize churches? I think there easily could be but I shan't take the time to explain. But do I deserve to be there for my sins, seeing as my heart has been made alive and I still continue to sin? Of course.

2.) How should I think of folks who do such things? The apostle Paul did much worse than vandalize the church; he arrested early Christians and approved their executions (Acts 8:1). And Jesus looked with compassion upon those crucified him. While I will not overlook justice for these spray-painting Latino gang members (I hope they get locked up), I think I should feel more compassion for these lost folks then dreaming of catching them in the act and beating them up (my first reaction/dream). They are young and desperately want to fit in this gang, this surrogate family. And that ought to make us sad. They really have more in common with us all than we would normally think. People wanting to fit in with other people who really don't care about them. How common is that? About as common as air.

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