Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church faith//hope//love

  • feral kids, disappointed burglars

    Well, we're finally all out and the work has begun. They've already carted off a skipload or two of bricks. The last day was a bit odd, walking around the place and seeing it so desolate. The building as always been a home for the community and church and it felt very empty.

    One of the last jobs to do was to move the big wheelie bin over to the shop unit. Of course, it was full and had slightly less directional sense than a shopping trolley. When I got back to the church centre I found that we had been broken into in the 5 minutes I was out. Burgled! You fools, there's nothing there, we've moved out. I'm no criminal mastermind but I would have thought its best to burgle a place full of stuff, not a building that has just been emptied. I had left my jacket in the office, which they had taken but I then found dumped by the back door. Now, at this I was offended. Have burglers no sartorial style these days? That's a stylish gentleman's jacket, it's got a lining and everything.

    The shops have been good and we appreciate the council letting us have them. It's a bit squashed but in terms of profile raising for us and the groups it has been really good being there (between the chippy and the chemist!). The employment advice group has been inundated with people coming in and asking about work. It hasn't all been good, for some reason the kids seem to like going through the bin. That's all they do, just go through it and occassinally throw some of it out. That's what we've just done! A group of kids has also driven out the disability group that used the place for a club. The temptation was too much and they just harassed the people too much.

    It has been a bit of an eye opener for us about what would probably be termed 'feral children'. Not only is going through the bins more interesting than whatever else they do, they have also broken the small skylight windows (not to get in, they're too small). This must have taken a bit of effort and, probably, hanging over the side of the roof. The tragedy is that for them, this is their life, it is feral, it is sad. I know about disengaged youths and I know about hopelessness and I know that kids can be mischevious. But this seems to show an emptiness, a lack of creativity (it's not even interesting vandalism or nbuisance!).

    Can we change this? Can we, the church, society, offer anything that they want? It doesn't take much to end up here, a couple of generations of hopelessness, easy access to life sapping drugs? Cannabis is common here and you can frequently smell it on the street and in the church garden (I must have word with that deacon). The cannabis culture here, like elsewhere, think it's about being laid back and funny. But it's not really funny, not for those living with paranoid cannabis users, or those people who get into knife fights, or who can't be bothered to get up in the morning. We end up with young pople who can't be bothered to actually do anything other than progress from going through bins to daytimes of Jeremy Kyle. Where they learn how to make do with nothing and never aspire to anything, other than wanting to be Chris Brown or Rihanna, but not having any drive to do anything about it because they have no motivation.

    That's went into a bit of middle aged ranting I realise, but I am qualified to do that.

    Depressing? Yes, sometimes.

    The thing is, this is not true of everyone here, this is not the whole of our community life, although it is a very real section of it. This community, like most, has many strands, but it is the development of what is sometimes called the Underclass that is a problem. The people aren't the problem in themselves, rather it's caused by a society where community is not valued, and mutual relationship is not encouraged. On the ground things can work, the employment project works because the people running it understand, they know the importance of relationship and they care about the people they work with. But this isn't always the case and is very difficult to engender this understanding into a large instutition, be that a council or private sector 'service provider'.

    Is there an easy sermon at the end of this saying how Jesus can sort it all out? Well, if it were that simple it would have been done by now. The churches that preach this easy salvation have been and tried it. It didn't work so they pulled back.

    I think incarnation is what is required here. Which isn't often easy or pleasant.

    That was the sermon bit

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Welcome to the blog

Neil (the minister) occasionally gets round to blogging so welcome to the trivia and ramblings of an erratic stream of consciousness.

Because we try to be properly Baptist, these views aren't necessarily the views of everyone who is part of the church family here.

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