Saturday, October 25, 2008

Have a Little Faith

The Racine Interfaith Coalition wants to tackle the violence problem in Racine. On Tuesday evening, 7pm at the Miracle Center, 1100 Grand Avenue, they will unveil their plan, called the Violence No More Initiative.

According to the Journal Times article, the plan will focus on employment, conflict resolution and education. Uh Oh.

I don't know what it is like to plunge a knife into someone or to shoot someone with a gun, but I suspect it has far less to do with employment status or educational success and far more to do with spiritual poverty and a disregard for human life.

Does the Racine Interfaith Coalition have faith in faith? I am beginning to wonder.

As I see it, a criminal with no regard for his victims is in the midst of a profound and perhaps lifelong spiritual crisis. And this is where a faith based organization should start their intervention.

How do we help a person with a chronic disregard for life to begin to respect his own life and the lives of others? I am not entirely sure but I think one must begin to challenge the attitude, mindset and faithlessness that surely is part of the makeup of a violent person.

Thereafter we can worry about jobs, education and conflict resolution.


Anonymous said...

just might be that you both make sense to some degree ... but I guess its no fun trying to get along

Denis Navratil said...

Can people disagree and still get along anon? I think so. What we have here, I think, is a profound disagreement wherein RIC apparently believes the cause of violence is joblessness etc... or, more broadly, an external societal problem while I believe it is an individual moral problem. We can get along just fine anon, but how to bridge this gulf in philosophy. Also, doesn't it strike you as a little odd that an interfaith organization does not even mention the role of faith or lack thereof in the problem? I mean I can understand the government removing faith from the equation, but what we are witnessing it seems is not the seperation of church and state but the seperation of faith from church.

Preachrboy said...

In theology we have this little word called "sin", which liberal theologians don't like anymore.

I think what you have, is when clergy belong to churches that emphasize good works over faith, then good works become the focus of their outreach. But when faith is the point, then sin and forgiveness are the message - which just isn't as practical and feel-good. Still, it's what Christ teaches.

Today I preached on John 8 for Reformation day. Jesus says, "If you hold to my teaching, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". To many confused Christians, holding to his teaching means doing good in the community (works). To me, it means holding to his words, trusting in his promises, or as you say, Denis, faith.

Then we are free. Then lives change. Everything else is futile.

I avoid RIC like the plague, and this is just one of the reasons.

Denis Navratil said...

Thank you Preachrboy for your comments. I was hoping you would chime in.

It seems that RIC does not want to point out that what the violent people are doing is wrong or sinful, and that they need to change. Instead, it is as if the violent have been wronged (probably so also) and the rest of us have to change, ie by offering jobs, education etc...

I can't help but think that the message is getting through to the criminal. You have been wronged, society is not doing enough to help you, and your crimes are therefore understandable. Sadly, I think that message enables and may even foster violence.

Preachrboy said...

Yes... in years past there used to be a "shame on you" thing when people acted indecently.

But now, you only get shamed if you are "intolerant" or, God forbid, "judgmental".