For several years I have watched the face of the youth centre/hostel in the basement of the Norfolk United Church grow into one of the most impressive pieces of Christian theology as action as I have seen. In fact, I was becoming so impressed with the Church's role in the community via events like the Wellington Water Watchers launch and Maude Barlow's water talk, that I was becoming convinced that some genuine Living Water experience was bubbling up from the foundations of the Church.
That all changed Friday morning when Change Now was shut down by the Church's Board of Directors accompanied by police, who put youth workers out of work, street kids back on the street, and the city and the county scrambling to find ways of dealing with the consequences of the Church's abandonment of Christian activism.
Back to 'comfortable pew' theology and the do-nothing non-activism of reactionary institutionalism for Norfolk United.
I say shame on the Board of Directors, shame on Norfolk United, and more power to the street kids who found a safe haven there for the last several years, and who have quickly organized themselves into a peaceful protest movement that has garnered bad press for Norfolk and good press for them.
I know I for one will never set foot in that church again and urge the people in the Wellington Water watchers, the Green Party and all the other social activists who use the Church to abandon Norfolk United to the fat cat comfort and banal theology the Board of Directors so obviously yearn for...
Of course, being thrown out of the Church may prove to be one of the best things to happen to the street kids, if only because it gives them a chance to see how to organize themselves, stand up for their rights, and it gives them a chance to see that they have support in a lot of places they might not have otherwise realized.
The Spirit of God left the churches long ago, and that's why most of them are empty.
May the Spirit go with the street kids, who live lives where truth needs no veneer of respectability. May the Board of Directors choke on their communion.