Archive for the ‘Suffering’ Category

Two posts ago I put up an article about gang families and the generational tendencies of gang life in Chicago. I’m now posting a story about violent death being generational in Chicago too. This story hits close to home because the victim, Patrick Sykes, is the grandson of a friend thaqt lives on the South Side. My friend, Herb, not only lost this grandson, but this son,  the Patrick’s father, to gun violence.

Here is the story:

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/patrick-sykes-shot-in-chi_n_3366852.html

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/05/31/teen-who-moved-to-california-to-escape-violence-slain-on-south-side/

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=9121821

 

Video:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/20440587-418/teen-who-moved-to-calif-to-escape-violence-shot-to-death-on-south-side.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/76125014/Slain-15-year-old-victim-of-random-violence

 

Memorial Fund:

http://www.gofundme.com/patricksykes

 

 

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Do they call you the OG? Are you a mom or the sister of someone who’s gang affiliated and you don’t know what to do? Are you a female that has been affected by gang violence and in need of support? Do you have a son or daughter who is incarcerated for their gang affiliation? Do you feel threatened or embarrassed by gang-related events that you have no control over? have you lost a son or daughter to the violence? Are you affiliated and are tired of the pain? This may be a chance to find help, as well as peace of mind. God knows your pain and wants to reach out and begin healing the hurt. With that in mind, Crossfire is trying to start a  support group for women who have been affected by the violence of our city streets. You may feel powerless in yourself to make a difference, or you may feel guilty about events that family members have been involved in that have caused pain for yourself or others. We’d like to help. If you are interested in joining other women with similar feelings, please call or text me at 773.294.8849 to start the process rolling. I can also be reached by e-mail at rlg2@uchicago.edu. We’ll set up a central place to meet if we have enough women who want to get involved. There is a lot of pain, guilt, and fear in the OG world, but don’t let the pain destroy you. Let your pain become the catalyst for change and the means of keeping another mom, sister, or girlfriend from experiencing the same loss and heartache you know.

Ron

Be advised that this is a Christ-centered group that believes the local church is the hope if the world, as well as the hope of your family and neighborhood. Give him a chance and he’ll show you that he is bigger than the violence in Chicago.

“My neighbors of Chicago, what have thou done? You brought in the darkness, removed the sun. It’s now obvious the time has come when killing one another will no longer be tolerated by anyone.” Mary Young, grandmother of 6 mo old Jonylah Watkins, who was shot and killed last week.

Hi everyone-

I know that there are a lot of people reading this blog that believe in prayer. I’d ask you to pray for Cristian Garza. Cristian is a friend of mine who was just sentenced to consecutive jail terms of 6 and 15 years. So, even if he serves 50% of those sentences, it will be 10+ years before he is a free man again. Cristian has committed his life to Christ and I’d like to ask you to pray he is able to continue serving Christ in prison. While this certainly seems like a long time, those few years of imprisonment, when placed against eternity, amount to nothing. Please pray that God will strengthen Cristian and that Cristian will sense a mission and God’s call on his life while he remains incarcerated. May Cristian remember that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.

Here are three sites that deal with exoneration of wrongfully convicted individuals.

The Innocence Project: http://www.innocenceproject.org/

The Exoneration project: http://theexonerationproject.org/

Center for Wrongful Conviction of Youths: http://cwcy.org/

Here are two articles about last night’s Urban Dolorosa memorial service for those slain in Chicago since 2008. The include comments from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/rahm-emanuel-michael-pfleger-urban-dolorosa-133044968.html

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/11/01/urban-dolorosa-march-honors-murder-victims/

I attended the first Urban Dolorosa (the sorrowing city) memorial service last night at St. Sabina and it was very moving.  I attended the event in order to (1) support Chicago families that have lost children to this senseless violence, (2) to call out the people with guns and say, “stop the killing,” and (3) to ask God’s forgiveness for not doing more to stop this epidemic of death.  With this in mind, I’d like to pose the following question to you, “What are you doing to stop the madness?”  Your answer might start here. There are four more services this week. I highly recommend attendance and participation in this effort to curb or stop youth violence in Chicago. For more information on how to get involved, go to the Urban Dolorosa website at:

http://www.urbandolorosa.org/

 Make a difference.  Get involved.  Stop the violence.

Ron

Here’s a poignant poem from someone whe was forgotten by man. Can you identify with him? If so, let me know…

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/forgotten/

Here is an old article that still makes you think (and cringe). It’s a hard read but read it carefully and before you think about prison being “cool,” think how this story might apply to your own life.

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/real-gang-knowledge/

Check out this story by a former associate of the Mexican Mafia.

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/editorials/tour-life-death-street-lamps-city/

“So you wanna be a hardcore gang banger…ok let me tell you bout this ive been a 5 year gangster startin at the age of 13 and let me tell you i hate it. i hate it with a passion more than them damn fuckaz who killed my baby brotha.. gangstaz cant live long only the lucky ones survive the ones who know the ways of the streets but if you aint got the skills you gonna get killed trust me this life ain’t all up to that glory you gotta get hurt, emotionally and physically to be a G to be respected shit if that’s the only way to get respect fuck respect sure i got mine thats from 5 years of pain that i cant even describe life aint eva gonna be the same for me shit if you dont believe me go head join a gang see how much “FUN” it is this shit aint fun get back to reality whats this rep gonna do for u if u dead?… Snoopy

This note and more can be found at:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/joining-gang/

 

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How D got saved in prison:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/video/big-dformer-prison-mafia-leaderborn-againpart-1/

A G asked me the other day about evil. If God is so good, why does he allow evil in this world, and especially in my hood?  Why all the killing and pain? Why do people go hungry and starve? Why do people die in natural disasters? Why does it seem so hopeless that I hide behind closed doors to shut out the evil and groan in despair when I hear of another killing or catastrophic event. My response is simple: You’re asking the wrong question. The proper question is, “Why does God even think about allowing good in such an evil world?”

Understand, my friend, that we live in a fallen world destroyed by sin. We live in a world we have all helped to create through our own propensity to rebel aghainst God.  Evil and pain are the norm in a world controlled by powers and principalities of evil (Ephesians 6). The apostle John, in fact,  characterizes Satan as the “prince of this world.”  So, let’s think about this for a moment. If Satan is the “Prince” of this world, what kind of world do you expect to see? Certainly not one of beauty and goodness.  What results would you expect to see in a principality run by this kind of chief? I’ll tell you, its a world full of pain and suffering that groans for relief. It’s for that reason that Paul also says that the whole earth groans as it waits for salvation to appear (Romans 8:22). That’s Paul’s way of letting us know that creation has been overtaken by evil and agonizes in pain as it waits for God’s final redemption. You hear that groaning in your hood, in my hood, and throughout this city.

Understanding that we live in a world marred by human rebellion and shattered by purposeful sin helps us to understand the overabundance of evil that has appeared in this world. That’s why we have murder, rape, and the horrors of warfare all around us. When we consider a world that’s run by a “prince” who is the embodiment of pride, greed, arrogance, perversion, and hatred, we don’t have to look much further to understand the evil in our world and that should prompt us to ask a very  different question. I would suggest that we ask ourselves this, “If the world is so evil and if it’s ruled by evil powers, and settled by sinful rebellious men, why in all creation would God even consider giving us the slightest respite from the evil we have created through our own missteps? Why would he ever think of giving us a moment of peace?  Why would he ever consider allowing us to experience even the slightest hint of heaven’s beauty? Why would he ever allow us to experience even the slightest amount of good?

That’ question is what underlies all Christian faith and is what provides us with the source of true meaning.  The answer, simply put, is that God has a love for his creation that goes beyond anything that we can begin to understand or imagine. As John wrote many centuries ago:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes on him, will not perish, but have eternal life.”

 Because of that love, God  brought all the beauty and splendor of heaven into this world as a preview of things to come. All that beauty and splendor came in the person of Gsus, his son and the second person in the trinity. Gsus, who was the creator of all things that exist and who embodies all the wonder and beauty of creation came to be violated on the cross to give you an alternative to the pain and suffering of this world. Because Gsus conquered death, God can still bring moments of  forgiveness, peace, harmony, joy, meaning, beauty, and love into a world filled with pride, selfishness, anger, lust and hatred . That’s a gift we don’t deserve. That’s a love we can’t underastand. Unfortunately, in our twisted wisdom, we confuse ourselves by thinking that those moments of goodness are the norm in this life, but they are NOT.  This is a broken world because we all embrace sin and that love of sin leads to further suffering and pain. Its a fact of life, we are hurting people and history tells us that hurting people hurt other people.  All you have to do is look around and the toll of sin becomes all too apparent. Those moments of goodness and beauty we long for are the exceptions to the rule, the moments when God sees fit to infuse glimpses of beauty and goodness into our present world of pain and falleness. He does this so that we may catch a glimpse of what he intended us to enjoy for all eternity, to understand and embrace the hope that was manifested in the person of Gsus. That picture of heaven,  presented through the life, death, and ressurection of Gsus, was given so that we might see what God has in store for those who can look past the evil of this world and are able to grasp the beauty of a life with God that is offered through the undeserved love of God or what we call GRACE.

So, when you see a hood filled with evil that manifests itself in the form of a new killing or rampant drug addicition, don’t wonder why God allowed that to happen, remember that its the norm for a fallen and broken world that we created. Instead of being shocked, be thankful that in the midst of such despair, God has seen fit to perforate this darkness in the hood with patches of good. Cherish those glimpses of goodness, the promise of things to come, the opportunity to see what is real.  Pray as Gsus taught his disciples to pray: “may your  kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven“.  Pray for more of his goodness to appear in the midst of  this present evil, and pray that you might be the conduit into your hood through which that goodness flows. See where YOU can make a difference. Turn around and be the hands and feet of Gsus in the hood, be that moment of brightness and good for another person as you let Gsus work through you.  That’s how you can make a difference that will last for eternity, one person at a time. Finally, pray that Gsus will return soon and that  God’s kingdom and all its goodness will then manifest itself on earth.