i sure don't want my blog to turn into a movie review or critique, but i've been struck lately with some of the films we've watched, as evidenced by my previous postings. last night it was "the boys of baraka." WOW, what a film!
the title, for one thing, is curious enough. if you research the word, which means blessing, you'll find reference to baraka being swahili, which was the language of our current president's father, in kenya. it is also believed that our president's first name may be the anglicized version...not surprisingly, i knew none of that when i ordered the film. there is also a hebrew word that has a similar meaning, baruch.
all that aside however, the film itself is not my intention to discuss. i was extremely moved by the conditions in the inner city schools. having grown up a "thousand years ago" in a city public school, and having worked with inner city youth in past years, plus having worked in various school systems for a number of years, i am appalled at how conditions have plummeted over the years. public education, of course, could not be discussed successfully in the confines of a blog entry, and i do know that not ALL public schools are as deplorable as sometimes portrayed in a film...this one, incidentally was a PBS documentary at one time, i believe.
that said, i'm also quite sure, and quite sadly enough, there ARE some inner city schools that have classrooms so, SO not conducive to learning! it is little wonder that the dropout rate is as astronomical as it is! the children who attend these schools come from neighborhoods that are equally as deplorable: high crime, fear, filth, hopelessness. neither my mind, nor my heart, can begin to even grasp living like this day in and day out. i imagine that it must just break the heart of our loving God.
i've thought a lot recently about the name of my blog: JOY. it is a cinch to feel JOY when the sun shines and everyone is employed, the bills are paid, all goes well and smiles abound. but our country and the world--not just the inner cities-- are hurting; seriously, seriously hurting. falling apart in some cases. everyone knows someone who is touched by unemployment or hardship. everyone is having to sacrifice some thing. we feel helpless in being of help to those we love and care about.
all the talk/news has been the stimulus plan. i believe our country's spirituality needs a GENUINE stimulus plan. we all need to get off our high horses and get down on our knees. sometimes the only thing LEFT to do is pray. but, what if it was the FIRST thing we did? it might not seem like much, but it can "move mountains." what if we were ALL to pray DAILY for our leaders, our country, our world, our youth, our inner cities, our schools, our neighborhoods, our pastors, our teachers, our employers?
lately, i think that i have a better understanding of joy. it is, after all, not MY joy!
MY joy centers around situations and things; if they sour or diminish, i have to go LOOKING in all the nooks and crannies for what's left of MY joy. but, "the JOY OF THE LORD is MY STRENGTH!" (Nehemiah 8:10)