Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Calling

There was a time in my life when the sight of paw prints..made me both scared and sad. Young men...baggy clothes...and tattoos of a dog paw on exposed sin was a symbol of deep pain colliding with a fighters heart. I used to serve young men, gang members ages 16-24 who had criminal records, dropped out of school, and had addictions.

Today, God's called me to serve in Vancouver's richest neighborhood.

The life I once lived seems like a shadow.

And while that makes me sad...it also makes me realize that the sight of shadows means there's a light shining nearby...and the young men with paw print tattoos are still tatooed on my heart...and shadows help me remember them.

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5 comments:

NP said...

Good thoughts Joe....I wonder....are people in the richest neighbourhoods very different? What are the current symbols that they use to display or hide their pain? Where does the fighters heart seek its release?
Just wondering.
NP

Donald said...

this is a tension we frequently wrestle with living in our neighborhood, where one house goes for $600,000 and literally down the street the eight-plex is full of the working poor, single mothers, high school dropouts.

If you could expand on your thoughts about the similarities and the disparities between ministering the each context that would be helpful processing for me, at least.

Thanks.

joseph.david.white@gmail.com said...

NP...good questions.

The people in the zipcode I now serve in have pain. lots of it. I live it with them, daily. The difference is...their pain is insulated by their property. So, instead of joining gangs to find respect, family, love and identity...my people join wall street. And the pain becomes hidden behind the walls of their homes.

As for the fighters heart...I'll leave that reflection for another day.

Thanks for droppin by.

Joe

joseph.david.white@gmail.com said...

Donald....yeah...I will reflect on this...but on another post...if that's OK. stay tuned...

and i'd love to hear your thoughts on it as well :)

Joe

Donald said...

well, readers digest version of my thinking is this; sin is sin. the expression of sin looks different based on the context of sin, but fundamentally it's no different.

in terms of ministering to people i think knowing your/their context is crucial, not to put people in a box, but to be able to empathize with their specific situation. when empathy eludes me knowing a persons context is, at minimum, a check on my preconceived notions of said person.

i'll let you do all the heavy lifting on the topic...

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