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:: Friday, May 09, 2003 ::

...and they wonder why U of I students party a lot...

By now most of you reading from the USA have probably heard about the rediculous powder-puff football-game-turned-drunken-hazing incident that happened in Northbrook over the weekend. That some parents supplied at least a significant portion of the contraband makes me sick. And then all of the "we're not the ghetto" sorts of comments coming from the "adults" over the news.

The blame game has begun. That the perpetrators are going to be in trouble with the law seems to be a given. But then the young adults (that is what they are, darn it) are left out of the picture completely as the village accuses the county forest preserve police of mishandling the incident, the media and the school administrators blame the parents, and commentators blame the economics and their correlative time restraints of double-income affluence.

I am continually bothered by the suburban affluence all around me. Living among some of the most affluent Western Suburbs while going to Seminary is not a good mix. How can we say that we are concerned for the poor when we don't let them live anywhere near us? There is a pervasive arrogance around here that I didn't see growing up in central Illinois. Despite protestations to the contrary, the "health and wealth" (may I add "youth"?) gospel is part of our suburban backdrop. "We have a right to our wealth," they say.

But then it doesn't stop there. People around here can get "DWB'd." In case you haven't heard, that's being pulled over for "Driving While Black." Or Hispanic. Or, for that matter, when driving a car that sticks out for being older and in worse shape than the others on the road. Some communities pride themselves on being so popular that you basically have to know someone moving out of town to purchase a house in town. Of course, that reduces the possibility of undesirables joining your "quiet, family-oriented community."

So I begin to ask myself: with all my accumulated anger, how do I minister in this context?

Moving at the end of the month will not make it go away. I go to minister among students at the University of Illinois. The overwhelming majority of them come from the Chicago suburbs. Of course those whom I know, I love. It's all the rest of my neighbors that test my discipleship.

:: Matt 5/09/2003 11:45:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
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