Dear Partners and Friends,
Our volunteers and staff live in a mean world. Boys and girls are mean to each other. Children are mean to their mothers and, sadly, mothers are often mean to their children. When they say that sticks and stones will hurt your bones but words will never harm you, they lie. Names do hurt! The mean names that constantly vibrate through the tough neighborhoods where we work are agonizingly hurtful. They diminish children. They create intense anger in teenagers. And they harden the hearts of grown-ups.
I don't know what created all this meanness. Surely the rap music that reeks of violent animosity towards everybody and everything has something to do with it.
Perhaps it's related to the ways television executives have made meanness into a form of entertainment. Remember when we watched shows like "This is Your Life," that lauded people's virtuous lives, or "Queen for a Day," that enabled a good women to enjoy luxuries she never dreamed would be hers – if only for a day.
Nowadays, shows like "Jerry Springer" and "Maury" and "Judge Judy" expose the ugliest parts of human nature by making their guests objects of ridicule. Shows like "Survivor" encourage people to viciously betray one another. Athletes play mean and actors act mean and politicians, who never showed much kindness to their rivals, are even meaner than ever these days.
I can't figure it out. But this I do know – the meanness of our popular culture has filtered down to the streets, and our workers have to face it every day.
That's why we bring Jesus into all that we do. Jesus creates the kindness that displaces meanness. It's one of the fruits of His spirit. Jesus is what makes our ministries more than just so many more social service agencies.
Please, get behind our EAPE workers with your prayers. Remember, they struggle not only against flesh and blood, but also against principalities and powers – and meanness.
Remember also that they are worthy of your gifts and dependant on your giving – we can't let them down.
ABOUT TONY + April 2007