Burglar Alarms & Reactionary Sarcasm


All the guys on our leadership team are chaplains with the Philadelphia Police Clergy. One is in full time law enforcement. (You can see some of us in the pictures below with the mayor and police commissioner at National Night Out Against Crime.) We meet monthly with two district police captains and other clergy. Among the community activities we engage in are prayer vigils at murder sites. Recently a number of pastors met on the corner of a troubled neighborhood where there had been a sharp uptick in burglaries. We went door-to-door to install burglar alarms on the back doors and windows of homes. My partner was an Afro-American pastor, a good brother in the Lord. Even with him at my side and with our official police clergy jackets we were viewed by some with suspicion. Who can blame them? A white guy and a black guy in a high crime neighborhood asking people to let us into their homes. Usually that suspicion was overcome with small talk accompanied by a gospel tract. I mentioned this activity in response to a posting in an article I wrote. One Christian (don’t know if he is a pastor) posted a response which demeaned serving the community in this way with the following remark:  "Pass out all the home alarms you can while you can. Perhaps they can protect them at the great white throne judgment." Here is my response. I had to bite my tongue although I might now be guilty of sarcasm as well:


 "This is one reason guys like you are a dying breed, hopefully. Sarcasm instead of substance. I'll pass out all the home alarms I can (even to you but maybe you don't need one) if it will open doors for the gospel in loving my neighbors. I don't know where you live but send me your address. I can Google it to see if you need one."


It's okay if someone doesn't like how someone else engages their community. Our communities are different. The "how" we engage is far less important than "what” we are engaging them with, in this case the gospel. I don't expect pastors in communities that can afford professional security services to go door-to-door with burglar alarms. But I don't expect disparaging remarks towards those who do.


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