AND BIBLE ISSUES REGARDING:
By correspondent Mike Ramey- Indianapolis, Indiana
Let me spell this out more clearly.
Slavery was a social ill and an institution that was sanctioned by law and practice, as well as being a religiously manipulated tragedy. England sanctioned it. The United States sanctioned it. Slavery still exists in our modern era, and Christians are the victims in the Middle East and other areas of the world.
Gang membership is a voluntary choice. It is not mandated by law. There is no social mandate for people to join a gang. Folk are not 'segregated' into gang membership because of the color or their skin, or a deliberate misinterpretation of scripture. Folk join for the power, money, and greed, and like living it up in grand style.
Until the gang member's family is threatened. Until someone gets hurt. Until someone gets killed. Until someone is facing juvie, or jail, or prison time. Until the police show up at 2 am with a warrant for the arrest of a family member.
Then, being 'good' and getting 'out' starts sounding reallllly good.
Back in the day, when a family member was 'hot'; when they were in trouble with the law, they would send that family member out of town, quietly, to stay with relatives in another city. This was no underground railroad. There were no 'church interventions'. It happened much the way that it did on the old 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' show. The family member was packed up and shipped out. When the 'heat' was off...they were sent back home.
I've had it done in my family, back in the day, and I know that many have had it done in theirs.
The job of the church is not relocation, but resurrection! There is a clearly defined list of what the church is supposed to do in the scriptures, starting with its leadership and membership. However...the church is not to usurp the role of the parent, nor the role of government.
IF someone wants out of the gang life, the first thing that they have to do is to make their decision public to their families, eses and homies. If the gang member starts to worry about retribution, then they need to go the police (the arm of government which is sanctioned by God) and turn states' evidence on themselves--as an exit strategy. Government can determine whether or not they want to pay for relocation as a condition of testimony of the person's crimes.
Gang members don't sin 'alone'. They have to pay a price--even if they take the responsibility of exiting the gang life. Part of the responsibility of leaving any criminal venture is taking one�s medicine; accepting your consequences. Abdication of responsibility is an abdication of consequences. Repentance means taking a stand.
Repentance means 'owning' their consequences...no matter how bad they may be. True repentance has Jesus Christ in the mix�not a moving van. There is far too much evidence which exists, showing gang members leaving one location out of fear, then moving to a new location and starting up a new clique (gang) in their new town! This causes more problems for more people...including law enforcement.
If a church were to relocate even ONE gang member who did this? It would bring shame on the church...and the message of Christ. Family relocation of a gang member is one thing. A church subsidizing such a move is out of biblical order. Sometimes the best witness of Christ is not 'jumping into' situations that could best be handled by parents and the family. The church is not an ATM machine. The church is not subject to the whim of the society nor the state. If one rejects the gospel, it also rejects the church, and Jesus Christ.
One cannot, in good conscience, �seek� the help of the very agency (the church) whom you have rejected the main ingredient of the church--which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One cannot have it both ways. One cannot be an �active� sinner who is having their deeds covered by a �true� church. Either one turns their backs on gang activity fully, or one turns their backs upon the church fully.
One cannot, in good conscience, seek a solution to leaving street gangs�from the church�unless the seeker is ready to do what is necessary to turn their back on gang life and embrace the church�s solution: Jesus Christ. M. G. Ramey 317-542-8708 "Thank you for your kindness!"