Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moms and Mobs

In case you missed it, Corinth City Council voted NOT to allow Crosswind to operate a home for single mom's in a facility that used to be a day care. The vote was split 3-4 with Mayor Latch being the deciding 'no' vote. The residents of the community the day care was in were out in force. The organizer of the residents had a petition that alleged to have all the residents in near proximity to the proposed boarding home.

Here's how prejudice and mob mentality works.

First, you create a monster. In our case the monster was a single mom in Corinth, MS. The way you do this is to make a caricature (exaggerate particular features) of the people. So in our case the people were told that the single mom's were drug addicts and ex-prostitutes, victims of abuse, etc. We heard also that they had men coming to look for them and abuse them more. Remember, none of this has to be true and in most cases of prejudice represents a small sampling of a particular group of people, but those are the only features that you hear about.

Next, you generate fear of the monster you've created. In our case a person from the community took a petition and went home by home generating interest and fear in the "monster" single moms. He highlighted portions of a newspaper article and began the process.

Then, you add community and conversation and research, increasing fear. Once you have created a monster and gotten the word out the frenzy begins. People do research, draw on their own personal experiences (all negative of course), but most importantly they talk to one another, endorsing and adding to each others fears. We heard a neighbor generating fear about home values presuming they would decrease, we heard some talk about history in the prisons and working with "the monsters", etc. Each person shares stories and research increasing the fear and prejudice of the collective whole. The only thing the ringleaders must do in this phase is to ensure no one hears the truth and definitely not the other side of the story. We made an effort to sit down with the community organizers and answer questions, clarify concerns and our intentions but that offer was rejected. The sheep were afraid. That was enough.

Finally, you release the community to their lowest instincts, of fear, hatred, and prejudice. In our case, this was the meeting. People came in afraid and angry and that was all that was needed. It usually is.

This is a simple process that draws on primal human feelings of self preservation and fear.

Here's the problem, Single mom's are not monsters. My mom didn't know she was marrying a guy with childhood abuse that would later be acted out in her home. She worked three jobs barely surviving trying to raise six children, on her knees every night, at church every week, loving her children, doing her best, not a monster at all. Or the girl who gets pregnant and the male is not held responsible to help and now she is a mom and ill-equipped to be one and trying like crazy to make it, not a monster at all.

Or any of a zillion other reasons there are single moms.

If you take any of the mob, get them alone with the moms, let them hear their stories and feel their struggles... with few exceptions, the hard hearts would soften and the same people who were afraid and angry and operating at a primal level would rise, their souls would feel compassion and the cycle would reverse.

Instead of bad memories and experiences and research they would have a great sense of urgency and creativity mobilized to help the mom rather than hurt her. Now they would be telling their friends the stories of hope and progress and baby steps forward, instead of made up stories from our worst examples and our worst fears.

The only thing you have to do is to take the imaginary monster and replace it with a real single mom. And please, for the sake of single moms and their children, and their future... Pick moms over mobs.

In case you're wondering, we love single moms. We're gonna stand with them, try to figure out how to help them, struggle with them, cry when they do, celebrate their baby steps forward, and look with great hope to the day they will be able to live in the very neighborhood that rejected them... not for spite's sake, for their sake...

And for yours.


7 - read/write comments:

Don Vinson said...

The great Rev. Billy Graham said " LIKE A KITE, A CHRISTIAN CAN RISE THE HIGHEST WHEN THE WIND OF ADVERSITY BLOWS THE HARDEST." As Bobby told me on Tuesday after the vote, that it's GOD's will that he didn't get the building,because GOD has a better plan. But still there are many people in our community who have little sympathy or compassion for those in need, The vote on Tuesday truly showed this. It shows how just a couple of people can spread misinformation and influence the minds of others..There's not a person in this county, that hasn't know a single mom. Just think how blessed it would be to have a place where a single mom could go and know that she and her children would be safe and cared for on a short term basis until the mom could get out and make it on her own and this would be accomplished by helping the mom find employment or get into a GED program and job training, counseling and etc. They would be assisted in finding a place to live. I know there are many reason for a woman to find herself a single mom and I feel that if they are in need they need to be helped. BUT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE HURT THE MOST IN THE VOTE ON TUESDAY, WERE THE CHILDREN OF THE SINGLE MOMS. Because a lot of folks don't stop and think about it but when you talk about a shelter for single moms, your also talking about a shelter for the children of the single mom. The children can't help the situation there in. But I have Faith in the Lord, that he will lead Bobby, Ronda and the others who are trying so hard to help the single mom and her children in need. I pray that people in our community will stop and think about the whole sutuation that it's not just about a single mom but the children as well. COMPASSION IS LOVE IN ACTION...Lets all keep the single moms and their children in our prayers as well as Bobby, hopefully the Lord will lead him to another place for the shelter and hopefully the Lord will show all those who oppose a shelter the big picture; the Children of the single mom. God Bless Everyone

B.J. Mazurkiewicz said...

I came across your blog on Facebook. I couldn't agree with you more. My mother was a single parent for most of my childhood. She was no monster. Instead, she is one of the people I admire most in my life. This is an issue very close to my heart. I am so proud of Crosswind Ministry for reaching out to the single mothers of Alcorn County. I will continue to pray for you and this situation.
B.J. Mazurkiewicz

Emily said...

In a way, you're creating your own monster. In depersonalizing the neighbors and the neighborhood (who I agree, were perhaps a bit overzealous), aren't you doing the same thing they are? In the way they made the single moms into an ogre to be slain, isn't that what's happening here?

I understand Crosswind feels a call to help these women. And God bless you for it. I'm just saying not everyone feels the same call. And that's all of our right, as children of God, to follow God's call as we see fit. Sometimes those calls don't always jive. Especially when it ends up in our backyard. Just because one person would welcome the challenge and opportunity doesn't mean everyone would.

Makes the world go 'round, I guess.

Signed, Devil's Advocate

Gabby said...

This situation reminds me of 2 historical events.

The first one is the Nazi Germany (of course that was far more severe) Hitler wanted to rid the world of the Jews, Christians, and anyone who supported them. They didn't feel they were acceptable for society. The funny/odd thing is .... Hitler's own mother and many of the Nazi leaders were also partially jewish. The picture of the creation of a "monster" is what Hitler did to Jews and Christians.

The second is Jesus. The Pharisses became worried because Jesus was reaching out and ministering to the community of "lost" souls. The Pharisees were afraid they were going to lose their standing in the community and turned the crowds against him. They feared what they would have to give up or change if Jesus changed their mindsets.

Millions of Jews and Christians and our Lord Jesus Christ were killed over mob mentality and fears. It's true it starts small and grows to epic proportions.

Remember, Jesus walked and talked with prostitutes and thieves ministering to them .... he did not sit at country clubs gossiping about house values and striking fears in the hearts of the community that might otherwise reach out and help those individuals.

How about we do as Jesus taught us to do and minister to these young girls helping them find self-worth and respect for themselves instead of thinking we can do the Lord's job and be Judge.

Praise you for stepping into the community and trying to reach out to these girls, I have long thought something needed to be started for this exact situation.

Maybe the Mayor should personally tell some of these single moms I was the vote that told you that you have no worth in our community.

erica noyes said...

When God puts a vision in my heart, it is often devastating to me personally when it seems to get squashed. Then after a few days of being upset, lying in bed drinking diet coke and eating chocolate...I come to the realization that God doesn't change, and neither do HIS plans.

In Hebrews 11, we see that by faith many of the people who were called, never saw the fruit of their labor. By history, we know that david and abraham both waited decades for their calling to become real. And in that time, God moved in their life and grew them...many times by pulling the rug out from under them. The time and place is always Gods, not ours. Sometimes, we get upset because we are so excited and want to do God's will NOW...but remember, it IS God's, not ours.

I try now, when things seem to go wrong, (after my wallowing is done and I am sick from too much chocolate) to get excited instead. I have seen that when my plans fail, God has something better! If it was easy, anyone could do it. The fact that it is hard, only makes it more real to me that this idea is from God...the only one who CAN make it and WILL make it happen, but only when it is right. Don't give up faith! And in ALL things...Give thanks.

Tim Parker said...

I hope God is kinder to these people than I would be. I also hope they don't ever find themselves in a position where they need help from a ministry from Crosswind.

That said, I realize God is in control of the situation. He will prevail.

Dennis Smith said...

It takes time to build a bridge. Be patient and keep working and walking into God's future. And remember, the fight is not with flesh and blood. Trusting and resting in Him will allow His love in you to reach out to include those who may have contrary opinions. Praying for you and the ministry as you watch Him illumine the path before you.

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