Walter Russell Mead on Life Beyond Blue: Faith and the Inner City
There are two big mistakes most Americans make about our inner city problems: we believe that the troubles of the inner city are mostly about race, and we believe that they can be solved without God.
The failure of the blue social model to solve the problems of the underclass in America’s inner cities was one of the great tragedies of the last thirty years. Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent; tens of millions of lives remained blighted, and a culture of violence, degradation and despair has taken hold among some of our society’s most vulnerable and needy people. Generations of children are growing up in gangs; our scarce financial resources are being consumed by a grotesquely overbuilt prison system; whole segments of our population are unable to cope with even the simplest demands of modern life.
But technocratic fixes and government policy however wise and inspired cannot fix everything that is broken in the inner cities of the United States and abroad. Drug addiction, cycles of violence and abuse, the prevalence and attraction of street gangs and the appeal of religious extremism are not the kinds of things that bureaucrats can do much about.
the hard truth is that unless someone reaches the lost generations in our inner city with powerful, life transforming messages, the dysfunctional cycles of violence, poverty and destruction will continue. The people in our cities need the power to change their lives — and that kind of power, for most of the people most of the time in history, comes through transformational encounters with the power and the presence of God.
What I’ve learned from Gene lately is a new appreciation of the importance of the Black church in the redemption of the inner city. Specifically, I’ve been learning about the importance of the Pentecostal churches. Historically, the Pentecostal churches in the United States as elsewhere are strongly rooted among the poor.
To see the power of the gospel and the power of gospel music as an art form and what it means in the lives of young teens who find a way to express their pain and to experience joy, you must watch 60 minutes which last week when Leslie Stahl looked at Gospel for Teens, Part 1 and Part 2.
"You have to go somewhere where there is sacred ground, where there's hope, where there's possibility, where there's a better life" Exactly what gospel music, born in slavery, was designed to provide in the first place.Posted by Jill Fallon at April 6, 2011 11:49 AM | Permalink