Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, January 28, 2005

Emergent in the Inner City

As I've said before, Thursday nights are our inner city kids night. Last night was our first regular night. Seeing as how only 11 kids showed up last week, I wondered if they would tell their friends or if more would come. Well they must have cause 22 came last night. We had to make extra plates of snack for them. I stayed in the class where my wife taught. She had about half of them and did a wonderful job. The theme for last night was based on the story of Jesus' and the demon-possessed man whose name was Legion and they (evil spirits) plead for Jesus to cast them into a bunch of pigs. What we hoped to accomplish last night was the idea of choosing good or choosing evil. These kids are confronted with choices everyday, more than probably you or I when we were their age. We talked about evil in our world and the mediums that evil uses to tempt and control others. Jennifer and I talked afterwards about how it must be so hard for them to make good choices when they see their environment choosing evil so much. If we are helping them think and choose the positive course and their parents or siblings are doing the opposite, then what good are we doing?

I think I know the answer to that question but it sure is hard to believe it and see it sometimes. This got me thinking about the Emergent conversation that I've been listening to for the past few years. As most of its leaders will tell you, the Emergent dialogue has grasped the attention of many white middle-class surburanite males and some women while fewer are listening from other ethnicities. I'm not dogging the Emergent because the leaders know that this needs to change so we can hear other voices in this time of transition. I just wondered how the Emergent could aid the inner city kids that my wife and I teach on Thursday nights. Should our teaching be less reductionalistic like "you shouldn't watch BET or listen to Eminem or Jay-Z"? Granted a lot of mainstream rapper's songs are just plain ludaricous (no pun intended), but I've heard songs that have redemption themes running throughout the beats and melodies. How could we teach them redemptively? When will the Emergent full integrate the inner city in its dialogue? Will its conversation be altered in regards to the "projects" because of its chaotic environment?