January 21, 2007

born out of tragedy


This past christmas we had the annual Nystedt reunion. My uncle passed around pictures of my great grandfather Paul Nystedt. The pictures dated from the 20's and showed him with his indian motorcycle and also with his suspected bike gang buddies. There was also another picture that showed him at the company where indian motorcycles were made in springfield, MA because he worked there for a few years.

It was said that one day he was riding along when his bike broke down. It happened to break down in front of a parsonage. The minister there took him in for the night or whatever and helped him get back on his feet. During his stay, there was a conversation and from what I know it was one of the most instrumental events that led to his conversion. He later went to bible college and became a baptist minister. I think it's pretty darn cool to think that someone from the side of my family that is so conservatively christian was in a supposedly rough motorcycle gang. It was said that he broke away from that crowd and he would discourage his grandkids (my uncles) away from getting a motorcycle and getting into that crowd because it was a bad influence on him.

Later that night I came home and was talking to my father in-law (we live with my wife's parents) about all this since he was into motorcycles back in the day. He thought it was interesting and his response was that people in motorcycle gangs get a bad reputation and they're rough because they usually come from rough backrounds. He said that a huge number of Hell's angel members were war veterans. When they came home from whatever war, probably Korean and on, they were'nt welcomed home by their fellow citizens because of the controversy behind the wars, and they were even socially persecuted. They became outcasts. Out of that struggle or tragedy, they came together.

The biker crowd may seem rough around the edges but that's just because they know how to have fun. Part of me wishes that my great grandfather would of stayed with that crowd and stayed with his passion for motorcycles instead of becoming your typical evangelical minister. Suit, tie and all. The gospel could of been presented to them. Something else good came about anyways so no complaints here.

So is that true? Is what my father in-law said how "the main reason why anybody comes together and starts a group is because of some tragedy that happened to them"
I think it just might be.

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