I read Bob Lupton's 'Theirs is the Kingdom' about a year and a half ago. At the time I wasn't a huge fan and advocate of the book. I can't remember my reasoning exactly, but it probably had something to do with the fact that it was difficult for me to 'connect'. I had a hard time being able to place myself in his stories because I didn't have similar experiences of my own. I even remember telling a friend that I just felt like something was missing.. even though at the time I had no idea what.
I pulled out the book recently and started reading some of the stories again. The stories have come alive this second time around. The chapter titled 'On the Corner' really came alive to me as I now can 'connect' on a deeper level. He paints this picture of men ranging in age from fourteen to forty hanging out on the corner to tell stories, to boast, to taunt, to gamble, and to establish or maintain their place in the pecking order of the street.
After painting this picture he goes on to comment on the absence of the talk of marriage and kids, of family plans and dreams for the future, and that he'll get the urge to step in and shout:
"..But this isn't real! Don't you have the same emotions, the same desires for deep permanent relationships, the same hopes and dreams for a family as the rest of us?"
I've been in similar situations and had the same kind of thoughts in my head rolling around in my head that I wanted to shout out for all to hear. However, what he said next summarizes my same thoughts that quickly set in:
"But you remain silent, because you realize you have not seen life through their eyes. You don't know how it feels to be chronically jobless with no legal capacity to support a wife or family. You don't understand how strong young men get trapped in a permanent pool of unneeded labor at the bottom of our economic system. And you wonder: how does it feel to be both disdained by society and impotent to achieve within your culture even the most basic position of respect - the head of the household?"
In the book I have an 'I' written above every 'you'. So it would read "But I remain silent, because I realize I have not seen life through their eyes..." and so on.
6 days ago