This is perhaps the hardest piece of writing that I’ve ever had to do; there are conflicting emotions warring between my heart and my mind, and yet I know that this needs to be said. I’ve heard it from many people here in town and in our immediate area; it is said in whispered tones as to not offend anyone, but when all is said and done, it affects EVERYONE. It is a problem that has been festering for many years and needs a viable solution for the long-term physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health of Brookfield’s residents.
This ugly and retched disease afflicting our beloved town is called drug and alcohol abuse: it might not be readily apparent during the daytime hours, but when night falls and the cover of darkness envelops our streets and homes…that is when this demonic influence rears up and places a stranglehold on people. And it doesn’t matter who they are; young or old, rich or poor, the influential or the invisible, this insidious beast knows no bounds.
As a pastor, I am appalled at the spread of meth houses and dope pushers here; we can forcefully deny their existence, but the fallout is everywhere. I’ve been blessed to have talked to several former users who have given their lives to the Lord and tell harrowing tales of their time spent in drug and booze bondage; and I’ve also been upset at the lack of coverage by local law enforcement to try and combat this problem heads and hands-on.
And as a law-abiding and taxpaying resident of Brookfield, I am angered that this illegal activity continues unabated. Where is the hope of getting our town back to where it used to be: a wonderful and peaceful city to live in, where the number of bars was few and meth was only a myth? Where Sundays were a time to spend with family instead of trying to find the next fix? Where Christians worked together between churches to fight poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, and other societal issues that were threatening to break apart all that we held near and dear in our lives?
Folks, we need to take our town back, plain and simple. If that means gathering together as concerned citizens at a town hall meeting to discuss with our local officials what can be (and needs to be) done; if that means picketing our city hall in peaceful demonstration as Article 1 of our Bill of Rights states; if that even means that we must stand firm and fast to our convictions as Christians living in a crooked and perverse world…then stand we must.
I remember the town of Brookfield back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when we moved here from Los Angeles, CA. We left a crime-ridden metropolis of degrading humanity to relocate to an area of low crime, and good wholesome values; a place where family and friends were cherished. This town—MY town—was a breath of fresh air in my young life, and many years later I came back to call it my permanent home.
And yet, when I came back in 2003, I realized that something was different; a spiritual “blanket” of darkness had settled over our area, and the joy that I used to feel here had been replaced by apathy; backbiting and murmuring had sown seeds of discord and ill-will among the family of God, and churches were split down the middle. The enemy had made camp and dug himself in for the long haul, and sadly, we let him do just that.
So what can be done about this issue? Is there hope? Yes, my friends, there is always hope. One person cannot do it; two people cannot fix it; but an army of committed people CAN make a difference. It’s time for us to put our money where our mouths are; it’s time for us to speak out about the meth houses; the pot pushers; and the proliferation of bars. It’s time for us to say, “Enough is enough” and be bold in our convictions. Most of all, it’s time for us to make a stand and not waver.
People, our town is in trouble, whether you choose to believe it or not…and it’s time to take Brookfield back so that her citizens can be proud to say, “I live in Brookfield…where God is first, where our city is flourishing, and where families and friends are cherished.”
Who’s with me?
Richard is a monthly columnist for the Linn County Leader and pastor of CSBC (Caldwell Street Baptist Church) in Brookfield. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via his online blog at https://sliceofhome.wordpress.com