Rev. Mac Charles Jones, a Sojourners contributing editor, was pastor of St. Stephen's Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, which hosted the Gang Summit, when this article appeared. Jones preached the following sermon at the closing worship of the summit.
- The Editors
I want to take just a few moments and try to understand what is happening at this Gang Summit, and what ought to be the response from the church, the community, and the world. I think the response that this summit has received is totally out of kilter from what it ought to be.
It's the response of those in power who are afraid of an emerging new power and don't know what to do with it. It is the response of those who have exploited, robbed, and violated other communities, and as they see those communities no longer fighting each other and coming together, they are responding with fear.
I want to help folk understand that they don't have to be afraid. Yes, they're going to have to give up something. You can't steal, exploit, and create a negative situation, and then act like the victim is the only one to pay a price. You can't ask folk to give up their only means of survival and then act like you are not going to give up anything yourselves--but just applaud because they have given up the violence and the dope and all the stuff that you've been complaining about.
Everybody's going to have to give up something. We need to figure out what is happening here, so we can know how to respond properly.
THE STORY OF THE PRODIGAL SON from the gospel of Luke can help us here. In many ways it fits our own plight.