Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 9, 2006
Youth challenged to overcome anger
'I've seen the Gospel as raw as it gets,' singer tells rally
"One of the worst parts of our old ways is the anger we carry around at times."
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Jerry Goebel has spent most of his adult life reaching out through his music ministry to at-risk youth.
When it is often mentioned to him that it must be difficult to talk with incarcerated teens and kids on the street, he just smiles. He once lived on the streets himself.
"I've seen the Gospel as raw as it gets," said Goebel, 50.
After a temporary falling out with his father, a bitter Goebel left home at 16 and lived on Greyhound buses throughout the United States. He saw a lot of pain and anger.
He had an ability to reach out to people, however, that kept him out of trouble. Goebel now passes his gifts onto others.
"I was blessed because my music saved me," said Goebel, who lives in Walla Walla, Wash.
Goebel had the 400 teens attending the Edmonton Archdiocese annual youth rally Sept. 30 clapping and cheering to his lively songs. Those songs spoke of repentance, forgiveness and God's love.
"True joy can only be found in giving and not in taking," he told the gathering. "When John the Baptist asked us to repent, he was asking us to leave behind our old ways and give a greater knowing of God.
"One of the worst parts of our old ways is the anger we carry around at times. Yet Christ has forgiven us and has asked us to also forgive. He told us that to the extent that we forgive others, we shall be forgiven too."
Anger is the only poison you take yourself, he said in an interview. Much of his ministry is spent with youth urging them to acknowledge their anger and then to let it go.
Every Sunday night, Goebel plays his music for inmates in a Washington prison. It is his way of letting them know that their lives have value.
"Three weeks ago I was in a room with eight kids who were beaten by adults. There is so much for them to forgive," he said. "It's so hard for them."
No positive interaction
More than half of youth today are what Goebel described as "clinically disenfranchised." From the moment they wake up to when they go to bed, they do not receive any positive interaction.
"They live by barked commands like 'Get up and go to school,' or 'Shut up and sit down.'"
Goebel developed ONEFamily Outreach to train mentors to work with disconnected youth - those who are incarcerated, in recovery or expelled from school. The goal of the organization is "to connect kids to community and communities to kids."
"The kids have been arrested, detained and prosecuted and the only question they are asked is 'What did you do?' They have gone through the system. I sit with them and ask 'Who values you?'" Goebel said. "Their eyes well up with tears. You get to a deep level with them."