the gangbanging zealot and despicable whore.
He went to dark places, the ghetto and hood.
He didn’t need affirmation, he knew where he stood.
The peace seeds he sowed were ridiculously small,
like mustard seeds when planted, invisible to all.
But germinate they did and grow to this day,
proving redemption through relationships is the best way.
I’ve joined him in the work that leads not to fame,
if I endure to the end I’ll be glad that I came,
to enter dark places with the torch of the Spirit.
If I first live out the Gospel, I’ll have the right to proclaim it.
The homeboys who trust me might invite me to toke
(I hope I don’t get buzzed on the second hand smoke),
but I graciously decline and explain as I say,
“Thanks dude, but I’ve found a better way.”
This is so not the life I had planned,
back in my Humboldt hippie days, eco-groovy and grand.
Waging the war to preserve ancient forest,
in hope that such beauty endure untarnished.
But I’m in a transition I can’t figure out.
I look back on my life and ask, “What’s this about?”
I still dig the forest, but my values have shifted.
My contempt for the city is now being lifted.
Like Jonah I tried to run from my calling,
afraid of the slums and actually falling
in love with the broken God so passionately cherished,
refusing to care whether or not they perished.
So now I’ve repented, to the inner-city I’ve turned.
Since entering its gates, this is what I have learned.
There is actually beauty here, ‘though sublime and misunderstood.
I’m finding hidden treasure waging peace in the hood.
-Harlan Young, 2011