Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Faith Journey, Life Journey,Young Offenders.

Miss Beautiful

became Mrs Beautiful
when she was 21

At 22
one year to the day
of moving into our home
we moved out
to work residentially
with young offenders
from Manchester.
I was 26.

I had been a leader since 15
because someone trusted
this uneducated slob.

At 21 I became a Christian.
I didn't know how it was possible
but I felt that God loved me
in my mess, in my ugliness.

I became attached to Jesus.
I wanted to find out all about him.
I wanted to have the best life possible
and I saw this as the best way.
I followed that road.
It has not been an easy road.
I has been a hard road
to follow
to journey
into a place called

I couldn't understand
but I felt deeply
and I walked on
learned as I went.

Mrs Beautiful and me
we worked with young humans
before we left our own community
to launch into an underworld.
Both of us worked at Pilkington
the big Glass manufacturer
in the Glass town called St Helens.

She worked in the head office.
I worked in the research laboratory
out of town.
NOT doing clever things
just being a hands on engineer
making things out of steel in a
factory environment but for research.

We found our day work
not as fulfilling as our Youth Work.
So we were called........ and

We always felt extra special about the poorest
the one with dirty shirts.
No proper shoes.
The dysfunctional
The trouble makers.
The fighters.

When we moved to living and working
with young offenders
we entered a new world.
Inner City Manchester kids,
of the offender kind,
were so much different than
all we had ever experienced.

Since then
many years
we have been close to those on the edge
the underside
the poorest in spirit
the poorest in social-abilty
the poorest in emotional capacity
the poorest in terms of
family support and nurture.

39 year of this work
we lived residentially.
So we are not normal.
I can only know what I have learned
I can only spill where I am.
I have had experiences you have not had.
You have had experienced different than me.
Our experiences have an influence.

So in my 30's I discovered education.
I had neglected school
and school had neglected me
my fear of failing at school
triggered disruptive behaviour
and an un-receptiveness.

But when I was faced with challenges
linked to my passion
I started to learn
I had to learn.
To survive.

I had to learn theologically
my faith had to change from simplicity
to though-out-ness.
To continual yearning for learning.

I have a library full of books
sociology/phycology and
all things relating to young humans
in trouble - especially offending
and violence
about understanding
and intervention.

All that, in the mix
with a lifetime of experience
(I never intended to be this age
it just came with experience)

When I worked in East London
with gangs of young humans
- I saw them as young lives
not particularly gang members -
I was in constant
all on the hoof.

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you."

I remember one day
talking to a young woman trainee,
from an affluent middle class area,
and she said - I will never forget::
'When I was brought up
I was told lots about Gods Love,
but it was only when I came to
inner city East London
that I learned about Gods Justice.'

I was there ........
I can picture
the scene
the place
the time
her face.

I remember the Thatcher years.
Talking to gang members
leaning on a Juke Box
and as usual I was talking about God.

As we talked they moved from God
to talking about the Government
Margaret Thatcher
being left behind
uncared for
no hope of a different life.
They were linking God
with oppressive Thatcher.
Those in power
no connection with them
no role modelling
no care
no Love.............

I had to learn the hard way
that there is injustice
like racism
like sexism
like orientation-ism.

I had to learn that individuals can be unjust
and me too.
But also there can be
unjust governments
unjust police
unjust officials
unjust politicians.
I felt it
I had to learn from it
in it.

All these ramblings
are with the backdrop of the London riots,
and other UK cities.

I feel deeply the extreme violence
smashing of property
burning of homes and work premises
attacking police
attacking passing vehicles
burning vehicles
mob violence
and disregard of others.

I love these young humans.
I feel for them.
I I am iside their heads

It is not a pleasant place to be.

I am disturbed also
by many comments
hard comments
vicious comments
on twitter/facebook
and other media.

They like the young humans
are reacting emotionally.
Using words like
Shoot them
give them life in prison

No humans are vermin.
I have found the most
professional criminals
violent for fun youngsters
as intelligent and full of personality.

Ghandi was asked about his worst experience in life.
He had been stoned imprisoned beaten...
His Answer
"The hard hardheartedness of the educated"

But also devient
and rightly
need to be
dealt with justly
in accordance with the law.

A caterpillar is
nothing like
a butterfly
but one
develops from the other.

Therefore I believe in development.
I believe we can ALL change
some of us are given more chances.

We need to strive to understand and
Love wins.

Those who commit crimes
need to face their behaviour
but also need to be offered opportunities.
Love wins

"if there is no peace
it is because we have forgotten
that we belong to each other."
- Mother Teresa