Today I read the following article in the news:
It was a reminder to me how British society seems to be so far behind in looking at inner city problems. It seems to me that whenever we see a problem on the streets, it takes up to 5 years for the rest of society to see these problems and to respond to them.
The guidance of colleges on knife and gang crime is incredibly late. I used to work in an F.E college and had to deal with these issues - and the only guidance I ever received was "If in danger blow a loud whistle"!!!!????!
The police's response to youth gangs is also very late - do you remember a few years ago when the police denied that we had youth gangs?
So, I'm thinking today about two points:
1) The church in Britain is quite far behind in looking at these issues, but so is the rest of society. So we're not just dealing with a church problem, but a problem with British society that affects the church.
2) A lesson to be learned is to listen to inner city indigenous people. If they say there is a gang or knife problem, then it may be worth listening to them. It seems to me that in church planting, youth work, and social action, indigenous people (as in born and bred in inner city areas, not the way the BNP uses the term!) are ignored far too much, and out of date plans are made by people with good intentions but bad information.