Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Toronto Pastors Bring Light to Gun Crime

TheStar.com - Faith in ending violence:
"A coalition of Toronto faith leaders plans to make the fight against guns and gangs personal by finding 400 mentors for at-risk youths, Moira Welsh reports."
Jesus exhorted his listeners: "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house." (Matthew 5:14-15)

These faith leaders are giving their light to our house, Toronto. Up to now, these pastors have been working in the background, but it's no good putting your lamp in the back room, where only the back room feeds off its light. Their lamp needs to be where all can see it, especially the boys and young men who hold life as worthless and see no problem shooting at each other in crowded spaces, near children, or at birthday celebrants.
"They will be knocking on doors together to talk to families, organizing mentor programs for young men, many of whom are fatherless..."
That's the nub of the issue: fatherlessness. How can you value yourself, if your same-sex parent is not interested in fathering you? How can you learn to be a good man, if the main man in your life is absent and you find only poor role models in your community as substitutes? I know people whose fathers were absent in one way or another, physically or emotionally, and they all express the same hunger, even now in their 40s, to have a good father in their lives, but in the asbsence of a good father, a father-figure who loves and respects them, and most of all is interested in them. If that father-figure is involved in a gang, then he will lead you astray; if he's a good man, then he will lead you on the right path. A good solid mentor a boy respects may turn him away from making those increasingly bad decisions which ultimately lead to shooting people dead.

Addressing fatherlessness isn't the entire solution, but it's a solid start.
"Rev. Don Meredith, chair of the GTA Faith Alliance...organized next week's visit by Rev. Eugene Rivers, one of the architects of the so-called Boston Miracle, which saw police and pastors working together in the 1990s, forcing homicide rates to drop dramatically..."
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