Words of Truth

Category: , , By Christian
Yesterday I was messing around with some of the kids I work with. We got to the topic of video games, and I made the astronomical claim that I own a PiiBox 360. For those who might not be up on the current generation of gaming hardware, my hyperbole was an obviously witty amalgamation of the three biggest systems right now (Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3). In one of those "never saw that coming" situations, the following conversation ensued...

Kid 1: Dang. Mr Christian's all rich.
Kid 2: No he's not.
Me: How do you know?
Kid 2: Because. If you were rich, you wouldn't be here.
Me: Why not?
Kid 2: You wouldn't be a Christian.
Me: I'm pretty sure rich people can be Christians.
Kid 2: No, they can't.
Me: Why?
Kid 2: Because. They are greedy and

There are times when I am saddened because kids say things that are profoundly true. Sometimes these truths have to do with the levels of brokenness and dysfunction in their lives. And sometimes these truths have to do with the paradigms they have developed as a result of the social dysfunctions around them. In the 6 months that I have been working at The Hope Center, I have had kids communicate to me that: rich people can't possibly be Christians, the huge houses in Brookside (a wealthy area in KC) must be where the white people live, and black people don't get married.

Technically, these statements are not 100% factually accurate. And yet, there is truth in those statements as far as these kids' experience is concerned. They don't see a lot of people who they perceive as rich treating them with dignity. They don't see a lot of black people getting married. And they don't see a lot of black people who are wealthy.

And so we have two problems. Both fall under the umbrella of "segregation". A group of people who is segregated from people who are of a different color than they are. This is a huge issue in Kansas City (as well as in Christianity). Races just simply don't mix. The other issue is a group of people who are largely segregated from people of different classes. Including people of their own skin color who have attained a measure of upward mobility, socially speaking. When black people reach the middle class, they leave they hood. They follow the example of white flight and create pockets of black people in the suburbs. They still go to church in the 'hood, but they don't live here. And so our kids grow up touching very few people who are different from them. They grow up feeling like other possibilities are not possible for their own lives, because they just don't see them all that often.

And so we teach them to dream. We teach them to listen to God's story. We teach them that God is bigger than all of these walls that they perceive and that God has big plans for them. Sometimes, it can just be a slow learning process.

Fair Dinkum

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