The Harsh Touch Of Being There | Sojourners

The Harsh Touch Of Being There

I've been affected in a very hostile way by the events here; the news media seem to be more concerned about writing and showing news about the murdered children than about the effect on the family members and friends, and efforts to help them adjust. I'm hurt because the Christian community was the last to show some concern. Just as the news media were always on hand, some Christians should have been also.

I think that these events in Atlanta are a challenge to commitment. What can we do to say to our children that we care? Are we just concerned temporarily about it? I think that we must have a ministry to the total family; what is happening in Atlanta signifies some basic family breakdown.

The black child has always had to deal with fear, the fear of family intimidation or the fear that what has happened in history will happen again. Most black children basically have been brought up on fear: the fear of not having enough to survive on, the fear that Momma's going to beat up Daddy, and Daddy's going to beat up Mom. The security level, the spiritual security level, has been low in the black families.

When I heard that Chuck was found dead, I was filled with questions: "Did I do the best I could with Chuck? Were Bible study, recreation, and the leadership of the center functioning as they should have?" I have often wondered if we said anything about Jesus that Chuck could remember at the time he was killed.

The children have been affected tremendously by the deaths; every stranger they deem a potential threat. The children act like rabbits. You can't get close to them--they run from you and are leery of you. Many have problems going to sleep at night.

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