Jump directly to the Content

South Side Showdown

It happened during our second service on a Sunday morning in March 1999. I was preaching about the importance of vision. "Where there is no vision, the people perish," I declared, quoting Solomon. Enthusiastic amens rose up. The crowd was with me. But then—bang, bang, bang. The unmistakable sound of gunfire, right outside the church, interrupted my sermon.

The congregation gasped collectively as we listened to the relentless shots, coupled with the frenzied shouts of male voices, and heard men running down our street.

Dear Lord, I prayed, protect us from this madness.

Then my horror turned into steely indignation. I was at once fearful for the safety of my people and enraged that these young men—gangbangers, I surmised—would have the nerve to fire guns in front of our church on Sunday morning. The gunshots soon subsided, but we did not allow the congregation to be dismissed until we were certain there was no more shooting.

At the beginning of the next service, at 12 o'clock, ...

May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Learning from Weirdos
Learning from Weirdos
7 missional gifts from ancient Christian mystics
From the Magazine
The Secret Sin of ‘Mommy Juice’
The Secret Sin of ‘Mommy Juice’
Alcoholism among women is rising. Can the church help?
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close