What a weekend. We rocked a show in a city about thirty miles out from ours and about sixty youth from OUR city made the drive to support and get blessed. The show was bananas, and the crowd expressed their appreciation by being rowdy, rowdy, rowdy. I got to spend significant time building with our own church’s youth before, during, and after the show, and one of my “mentees” spent the night at my place so we could watch movies and keep building. I felt humbled by the opportunity to continue to interact with teenagers, as this my seventeenth year in this town.
Sunday was my thirty sixth birthday, and it was fantastic. My wife and I have been supporting one another through a vigorous daily exercise routine, and even though I’m not super-ripped, I can say I’m in my best physical shape since high school. I spent the entire day with my daughters, and my wife cooked a delicious Puerto Rican dinner, which is my hands-down favorite cuisine (good thing I’m working out, man, that starch will go straight to the gut!) My sisters and their significant others came to the house and we had cake and fellowship. I received several hundred Facebook birthday wishes. My closest friends all gave me phone calls and texts, expressing their appreciation for my presence in their lives. Even the Ill-day squeaked by with his 11:45pm birthday wish! Needless to say, I had an amazing day.
This morning, however, I became discouraged. An article in the local newspaper detailed a premeditated fight between two high school girls that was largely attended and subsequently publicized on YouTube (all traces of the video have since been pulled down.) I quickly searched it online and uncovered the footage. In a local park, one which our church frequents each and every summer to host outreach events, these two females arrived for a fight which appeared to have begun over name calling. What transpired was a battle between two very unskilled fighters, who took to pulling hair, kneeing faces, and bashing heads into stone walls as a means to a win. One girl outweighed the other by what appeared to be a significant amount. Each was ruthless and relentless, and they fought to the point of exhaustion. I would approximate that 50 to 100 classmates stood by and encouraged the brawl, as they recorded the melee on their smart phones and hoped to be the first to begin racking up online views. I was deeply saddened by the entire scene, and felt pity for these two angry young women. What hit me the hardest was that no one in the crowd seemed to actually care about them. They may have chosen “sides,” but no one was actually supporting them as a true friend would support. As I explained, I have support. I have immediate family support. I have close, local friends. I have comrades across the country that stay in touch. I have an awesome band. I have an amazing church family. I also have what you might call “fans” that appreciate my music. When I have conflict in my life, I have the help I need to resolve it not only rationally, but Biblically. As I was raised and trained to do so, I have also spent the last seventeen years trying to pass on the same care and nurture to the youth of this city. Thus, to see these kids, some of whom I KNOW, encouraging this fight, well, I was heartbroken. What close friend allows their friend to resolve conflict in such a manner? How misguided do young men have to be to cheer and record such an event, rather than break it up? Cowards, all of them. Not men, but childish boys. Local officials have already begun taking action regarding consequences, which is appreciated and necessary. The need for true support, however, is crucial, and I’m so thankful that my church is so invested in young people. This event inspired me to continue to aggressively mentor and invest time into young ones. I’m no longer full-time in the arena, but believe me, each interaction matters, so I offer my encouragement: be a mentor. Don’t eliminate yourself due to a busy schedule and other priorities. Even if you spend one quality hour a month with a kid, it’s something, and it’s significant. God instructed us to take responsibility for one another in love.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Editor’s Note: The video, partly entitled “Crucial Battle For Calling Girl A….“, is graphic due to its heavy violence and profanity. Viewer discretion is advised if you locate the video. Holy Culture does not endorse or promote the video, but feel it demonstrates the need for parental involvement and mentors.
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