Sunday, February 14, 2010
This week's release on Vice magazine's online tv station, of VBS's much anticipated documentary on heroin addiction in Swansea, is already causing a stir. 'Swansea Love Story' was filmed over six months last year and follows the lives of half a dozen young addicts - all of whom, are familiar with us at Zac's, some are very dear to us.
When I speak in different venues and churches, I often share elements of stories from Zac's, not because they are shocking, but I genuinely believe I have learnt more about God among the poor and on the margins of society than anywhere else. Serialized this week in six episodes, later to be shown as one film, these captivating scenes are graphically shot in a dark raw honesty that shows the desperate search for intimacy and meaning, in a chaotic lifestyle fuelled by rejection, pain and the scourge of heroin. The council, police and tourist board of Swansea won't be thanking anyone for these films but I tip my hat in the direction of Andy Capper and Leo Leigh who made the film. But the problem is not just a Swansea one, it is repeated in our 'civilized' western society the world over, city after city.
We have chosen to be a mission church amid the chaos and pain; not because we have more answers than anyone else - because I really don't think we have, but because I truly believe it is a Jesus model. When a teenager wants to know why God had allowed her to be raped, forced into prostitution and given to heroin addiction; patronizing well meaning answers fade into insignificance, as you tend the latest wound inflicted by those with her 'best interests' at heart.
My heart aches for our friends trapped in a cycle of destructive behaviour. My prayers of the triumphalistic happy clappy hullaballoos two decades ago have long since faded, replaced by a cry of pain that will not be compromised by a more comfortable way.
Mother Theresa often used to say "God turns up in the most distressing disguises". I know he lives in this ugly lovely town too. Hope I don't miss Him when he does.
You can watch the programmes online at www.vbs.tv in Rule Britannia series, Swansea Love Story - Episode one of six is HERE or watch below. Go to main site for the rest. Be warned the images are graphic and the language is course and some links from the site are of an adult nature.
(Image at the top from VBS Blog film promo)