Opposites Celebrate 50 Years

Today (September 23rd) is my parents 50th wedding anniversary. They have been and are a beautiful example of love and commitment to all who know them. We were in New Zealand last month and we had a party to celebrate their amazing 50 years together. This was my speech.....
We didn't have a childhood full of drama, in fact, it was pretty predictable! We knew the routine and we felt safe! Mum and dad were reliable and consistent.
Whether it involved Weet-Bix in the morning, mowing the lawn, elders meetings, dad's lunch box, going to church twice every Sunday, going to the library, the dice rattling from the cup used in Triple Yahtzee after we'd gone to bed, getting no more than 2 squares of Cadbury's energy chocolate or holidaying in Whangamata, we knew the routine and in many ways it helped us feel safe and secure! 
Dad especially is a creature of habit and someone who thinks it's a grave sin to be late, or as mum loves to call him, "boring"! Mum has always a…

Pain and Discrimination in Uptown

We only arrived back in Chicago about a month ago, but it already seems like we've been here for months! Those relaxing and quiet 2 months we spent in New Zealand, catching up and chilling with friends and family, now seem like a distant pleasant memory.

We returned only to again be struck by the injustice, turmoil, and chaos of Uptown! We cannot dodge or ignore Chicago's crooked politicians, it's power hungry real estate gangsters, the city's bureaucratic intolerance of the poor and how she outright bullies, demonizes and casts aside anyone who doesn't fit their classist and racist mode! We returned to seeing and feeling the pain of our homeless brothers and sisters who are being trampled down, stomped on and lied to again by the powers-that-be!

People are in pain! People are scared! Those living under the Lake Shore Drive bridges in tents are about to be evicted and scattered. Those living in the Wilson Men's Hotel are about to be evicted and given little opt…

Housing Discrimination!

Maurice* is locked up again, he is sleeping tonight in a cold hard cell downstate! This nonviolent 60-year-old man, who is mentally ill and extremely sick isn't eligible for parole until July next year. He remains behind bars because he was guilty of being homeless, shoving a little glass pipe into his mouth and smoking the ingredients packed in it, cracking open cans of beer on public streets and failing to meet appointments! 
Maurice's story makes me weep! I've known him for over a decade, and this man possesses an addictive personality, a body that's withering away, and he has been rotating in and out of jail, prison, and homelessness! This devastating cycle continues, not because he's a danger to society, but simply because he struggles to escape from the lure of cocaine and alcohol. It continues because he's homeless and therefore uses these substances in places where the authorities can trick him and catch him. It continues because he's poor and unable…

Toxic Relationships! (Bridge Message)

For those who don't know; I live in an intentional Christian community on the north side of Chicago, I also work in a large homeless shelter in the same neighborhood of Uptown and spend a lot of time doing outreach to those sleeping outside. I tell you this because I have all these different relationships or friendships in these vastly different communities. They affect me and I affect them both positively and negatively. 
The truth is, it doesn't matter where we are and what we do, we all live in a world where we are affected by others and we have the power to affect others too.
Years ago, I was a taxi driver. At that time, I had recently finished Bible College and had also done a 9-month mission trip. I felt strong, I had my bible and had hopes and dreams of bringing the power of the gospel into my cab. Yet, as I drove, I watched those hopes and dreams quickly dwindle as I was overpowered by a very different set of hopes and dreams; dreams to get high, dreams to get drunk, dre…

Responding to Our Unjust "Powers-That-Be"! (A BridgeBox Devotional)

*Dozens and dozens of men, women, and children marched up and down the street holding signs and chanting slogans like "Uptown for everyone" and "Housing is a human right, not just for the rich and white!"

Our alderman, the elected official who presides over our part of town, had caused a ruckus again. He was in the process of preventing a Salvation Army truck from coming into our area to provide food and other vital services to those most vulnerable. Even though they, (our friends in the Salvation Army), had been serving our community for years, the alderman felt they weren't worthy and it was necessary to push them out. He was actually succeeding in doing just that, until many in the community rallied together, marched in front of his office and changed the outcome.

This, of course, presents an important question: what does it mean to live out the Biblical mandate to respect the people in charge, when you need to directly oppose them?

I work with and live amongst…

Embracing Those Hiding On The Margins!

Jesus was in a crowd. A big crowd. People were pressing against him and He was on His way to help an important man, a synagogue leader named Jairus and his very sick 12-year-old daughter. 
There was a lonely woman in the crowd who was also very sick; she'd been bleeding for 12 long years herself. She had spent all her money to find a cure, but the relentless bleeding wouldn't stop. Then we read this in Luke 8:44-48....
She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in pea…