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I Pray I Did Them Right

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When my friend "Chief" died in late 2020, I mourned another who left this world too soon, looked up to the heavens, and cried, "I pray I did him right" and "how can I do better next time?" Whenever I find out that another person experiencing homelessness has died, I often find myself reflecting, "I pray I did them right" and "how can I learn from this and do better next time?" They're taken too young. It ends so early, so quickly, like a vapor. Could their deaths have been prevented? I weep over the injustice of a corrupt system that elevates the wealthy, promotes the privileged, while blatantly neglecting the poor and marginalized. Deep-seated discrimination and racism sift through this nation like beasts who arrogantly strut around, knowing they're far too big and powerful to be conquered. The poor, the weak, the fragile, are nothing but collateral damage to these devouring beasts who ensure the ongoing reign of supremacy, ine

Welcome Home: Embracing the Unembraceable

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 ...despite all the scars he'd caused on society, despite the way he looked, despite his despicable image, despite his inability to conform, his father didn't choose "law and order", he embraced him and said "welcome home" When Jesus spoke this parable of the Father's unrelenting love, he gave us an illustration of how beautiful and powerful God's grace is, telling us how the Kingdom of God embraces the unembraceable. He told us it doesn't matter where we've been or how we look, if we come, we're welcome - not a reluctant welcome, but an all-enthusiastic and all-embracing welcome.  Yet, sadly, this message of love and acceptance has been gangsterized by Christian thugs who have chosen to imitate the older son. The church, too often, has been following these religious gangsters by choosing "law and order", choosing to cast out, choosing political ideologies, choosing condemnation, choosing violence, choosing their safety, choosin

Welcome Home

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A young man approached his very rich father, and with a touch of arrogance, asked if he could get his inheritance immediately. Though concerned, his dad didn't argue with him and quietly gave it all to him. This young man wanted adventures, excitement, so he disappeared into the horizon with a massive pile of loot at his disposal. He  confidently strutted off into his new world, leaving behind what once was. He started something new.   With a heavy heart, this father knew how foolish his son was being. Dad knew it was dangerous. As he watched his youngster buy an expensive car to drive off in, the grief he was feeling was both painful, unbearable, and uncontrollable. He  sobbed like a baby, wondering if he'd ever see his precious child again.   This young man had an older brother, who watched the whole ordeal. He was distressed and angered when he saw his father's tears. But he also stood there with his own touch of arrogance, judging the decision, silently mocking his youn

Looters and Thieves: the art of destroying a neighborhood through gentrification

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My neighborhood has been victimized by looters and thieves for years, and I'm not talking about shoplifters or those who smash windows, but those who systematically and strategically exploit the poor so they can structure the neighborhood to meet their goals. In this post, I want to elaborate on what I said in  Our Rebellious Mission , where the decisions of a few can be very destructive and harmful to the poor and vulnerable.   Right next to CCO we've been sadly watching this old building being torn apart to build a fancy new place. The Wilson Men's Hotel offered cheap rent to people who could barely afford to live anywhere else. All of these older men are now gone, evicted, scattered throughout the city! This demolition caused plenty of tragic tales, but the one that struck me the hardest was how Bart, an 84-year-old blind man, who’d been living there for 15 years, ended up homeless and on our doorstep, alone, seeking shelter. We took him in, but Bart’s story speaks of ho

Broken and Scarred

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We're all broken We're all scarred  We're all guilty  We all need healing  We all need compassion We all need forgiveness We all need liberation  We all need love We all need the grace and mercy of our loving God We all need to be forgiving, merciful, and compassionate to others who are broken and scarred. I'm broken, working with broken people, assisting broken people in a broken world. When we understand this, we reduce the harm we're doing to ourselves and others. "Hurt people hurt people" is so true, but when we understand and acknowledge how deep our scars are and how we need to come together to heal those scars, the world becomes a stronger, beautiful, and more just place.  I've been a taxi-driver. I've now been working with those experiencing homelessness for over 20 years. I've been in doing prison and jail ministry on-and-off for around 30 years. When someone's incarcerated, homeless, or struggling with addictions it's hard to

Our Rebellious Mission: Exposing the Empire

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On my daily walk to work, I pass what once was the Wilson Men's Hotel. This iconic building, with its many tiny rooms and cheap rent, housed men that couldn't afford to live anywhere else. Many had lived there for decades - it was their home! I watched this rich developer start converting this old hotel into luxury apartments, causing all the elderly poor residents to scatter. Despite the promises that none would end up homeless, many did. What was most painful during this ordeal was how one 84-year-old blind man showed up on our doorstep, confused, with nowhere to go.  This story isn't unusual: the empire is at work! A couple years ago, just down the street was Uptown Tent City where a  large mass of city officials and police forcefully moved everyone who lived under these viaducts. About 10 years ago, ordinances were used in City Hall by those in charge to evict a bunch of homeless old men from CCO. Throughout the years, a group of "positive loiterers" stand in

Battling the Empire: George Floyd and Beyond

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It's beyond George Floyd It's beyond Sandra Bland It's beyond Zachary Bearheels It's beyond Laquan McDonald It's beyond Tony McDade  It's beyond Breonna Taylor It's beyond Tamir Rice It's beyond the officers who commit these cold-blooded murders. It's beyond the officers who stand by and protect the one using the knee or pulling the trigger. It's beyond those in power justifying it while degrading the victims. It's beyond the unfair or lack of sentencing. It's beyond these 7 beautiful people mentioned above. It's beyond the thousands of known and unknown murders committed by the very ones who are paid to "serve and protect". It's beyond "I can't breathe", "16 shots", and "hands up, don't shoot!" It's beyond, as these individual names speak of something far greater and deeper. These killings are just the tiny tip of an enormous iceberg. It's never just about the brutal murder