The LED lights were smashed out of the sign in what was obviously an intentional act of destruction.
I struggle with that sentence. It is my sentence. I said it and I believe it to be absolutely true. I struggle with the fact that I had to say it in the first place.
Part of my role in the inner-city non-profit organisation, in this city, in the middle of the prairies is to take care of all of its buildings and its assets. This includes the $9,000 electronic scoreboard in our gym that is used by high-risk youth six days a week through partnership organisations. These organisations put a considerable amount of effort into going around the neighborhood and picking up kids to bring to our youth center where they run their programs.
These kids come from broken homes and for the most part are very rough around the edges. They tend to get into trouble a lot, don’t take to authority very well, and make poor choices resulting in consequences more times than they would like to admit. At the best of times these kids are a handful.
But none of them did this damage to our scoreboard.
Instead the damage was done by a visiting Christian youth group coming from another province and a large city there. They were staying and using our facility for the weekend as a base of operations as they went out to ‘minister’ at some locations around our city. A bunch of youth showing the Love of Christ to a bunch of other people who they thought needed it. And to us and our facility they decided to damage it.
Well wouldn’t Jesus be proud of them.
I am really struggling with many aspects of this scenario. I struggle with the idea of a bunch of white, self-actualised, privileged ‘Christians’ coming to care for and share the love of the gospel message to who? To our first nations communities. Ugh. Didn’t anyone take notes about what happened through colonisation? Hasn’t anyone been paying attention to the genocide brought about only a generation ago by these same white, self-actualised, privileged ‘Christians’? Why is our Savior coming to us from some wealthy youth group in some neighboring province or even country sitting as a passenger in a large white rented van towing a u-haul trailer behind it filled with stylish matching luggage sets?
How is any of this a good idea?
This city and especially the neighborhood in which I go to work everyday seems to be the epicentre of religious pity. They come and sing some songs in our youth center, make some food in our kitchen, sleep in our gym, and then go out to ‘bless’ this neighborhood telling them that if only they accepted Jesus as their Savior their lives would be just as blessed as them. But perhaps they never get that bold and all they do is paint someone’s fence the wrong color, or clean up a street while avoiding the needle stash in the alley, or play games in some glorified babysitting gig. Whatever it is that they do it is a flash in the pan. They come from afar and show off their privilege before packing back into their rented vans and driving away desperately trying to forget what they saw and experienced.
Oh, and perhaps because they had a bit too much time on their hands they also decided to use our basketballs to have target practice on our scoreboard – all in the name of Jesus I imagine.
Sickening. All of it.