Recently, VH1 aired a program called "Planet Rock: The Story Of Hip Hop and The Crack Generation" which uncovered the relationship between drugs, the hip hop culture, rap music, social and political injustice and the resultant high rates of incarceration and addiction within the black community. Here's the trailer for the program:
After viewing the program I would recommend it to anyone wanting a look at the genesis of many of the problems that we face today within our inner city communities. This program also outlines the politics that occurred to subdue a generation of Black men and women, thwarting and hindering chances for productive, successful and happy families. In short, there has been a wholesale upheaval of nearly a generation of Black people in particular and too many of us have been lulled into sleep not fully understanding that what has happened over the last 40 years have had an acute effect today on both individuals and families all over the United States.
Then, There's The Church
What is equally as interesting to me is the disintegration of the influence of the church over the same time period. The church has certainly become a more visable part of the landscape, with larger buildings and more grand places of worship, but with less influence to effect change within the effected communities and the community in general. Too many leaders have sold themselves to being "politically correct" and connected through friendships and ungodly associations. However, there has been a great cost to all of those choices.
Are We Responders?
Although it wasn't what the video set out to do, as I watched I noticed that it clearly displays the church responding to the proliferation of drugs, crime and violence and the rise of hip-hop as an alternative way of expression for young Black youth. Like in all communities when trouble arises, I noticed that community meetings and strategy sessions took place at the church.
The problem is that God didn't give the church a mission to simply react or be in a reactive mode. He gave the church a mission to be proactive and take the gospel to the streets and ultimately into the world. Although the church will respond if it has to, the mission is simply this:
Matthew 28:19-20 ~ "19-Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20-Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Thank God for all those who yield themselves as often as possible by rendering their ministries, time and talents to solving and addressing issues that have devastated a whole generation, but Lord help those who have forgotten the mission of Christ and sought after "other gods", such as the gods of money, status, materialism and political associations.
If it is that being a "friend" to the world is of greater importance than saving the world from its sins, then we have become like the salt that has lost all of its savor...we're good for nothing, but to be trod under the foot of men.
Matthew 5:13 ~ "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
Relocation of the church to the suburbs or to areas in which problems such as these aren't readily witnessed, may make us more comfortable, but it certainly doesn't and didn't make us any more powerful or situated to deliver an effective and timely message or display of the power of God that this generation needs to witness.