Urban Youth Worker's Institute

Category: By Christian
This is a good place to be. And not just because I ate well all day yesterday. Granted, lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant followed by dinner at an authentic socal Mexican joint does in fact make for a great day all on it's own. I mean, who wouldn't be happy having ingested beef pho, fresh spring rolls, french-style Vietnamese coffee, asada tacos and horchata all in one day? A menu second only to Meat Day.

Food aside, this is a great conference. Thursday afternoon I had a chance to go to a workshop that dealt with deconstructing paradigms of violence and reconstructing paradigms of shalom. Violence has been one of the first issues in my Youth Ministry experience to grieve my heart. It's also the first issue that I have seen be so pervasive, ingrained and destructive that it is almost incapacitating to think about what it will take to change the thinking of the subject in the urban core.

And yet, I believe I now have some good tools to add to my fervent prayers that the Hood will find peace. It's such a complicated issue, and one that the "outside world" doesn't really understand the complexities of. It's hard to imagine a reality where entire groups of individuals cannot imagine an existence where people are not perpetrating violence against each other on a daily basis. It seems so far from the heart of God, and yet it is a daily reality to the kids I minister with. It absolutely breaks my heart.

But, there is a bigger dream out there. I was just reading yesterday morning a Prayer for our Enemies in the Book of Common Prayer.

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them
and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and
revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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