We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Friday, May 10, 2013

Britain's "Street Angels": From Binge to Better

Generally the world doesn't seem to be a particularly happy place, and we can't help but wonder if "the Kingdom" is "just a metaphor" for something that isn't ever going to happen.  But, then, we catch glimpses of its birthing in the most unlikely places.  In Britain, there is a growing movement of Christian folks who go out at night on city streets to be a presence in places where drunkenness and violence have been the norm.  They are called "street angels," and they are linked together through an organization called the Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network.  A news posting on the Aljazeera website entitled, "UK street preachers spread anti-crime gospel," documents the good that the street angels do, good that is reflected in dropping crime rates on and the economic resurgence of the streets they patrol.  They help homeless folks out at night, talk with partying teens, take care of drunks, and represent decency in indecent places in a way that makes a difference.  The movement began in Halifax in 2005 and spread quickly to other communities so that by 2012 there were over a hundred groups operating in various parts of Britain.

The street angel movement reflects the way in which the Spirit manifests itself in its longstanding campaign for peace on earth.  It shows up in unlikely places using impressively ordinary people, such as a ragtag tribal slave people in ancient Egypt or a carpenter's kid in the first century Roman Empire, encouraging unlikely outbreaks of peace in places where peace is in short supply.  Amen.