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Showing posts from October, 2010

deATh's door!

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death: you did it again
death: you surprised us this weekend and took two more homeless friends
death: you are so callous
death: you lie in wait, just like my son's gecko, which pounces on the poor crickets and gobbles them whole
death: you are so relentless
death: you continue your ruthless savage ways while gaining momentum
death: you are causing us to mourn and weep yet again...

It seems death constantly surrounds me these days.
It seems my primary job has migrated into being a grief counselor.
It seems the longer I stay working with the homeless and poor, death's frequency will only increase!

Fred and Michael prematurely passed away this weekend. I mourn their lost potential and forgotten gifts. They were both relatively young. They were both homeless and only in their forties! Their names have been added to an already high mortality rate!

I can relate to the old lady watching her husband, friends and family die one-by-one; wondering who will be next, and when it may hap…

Papa G: the dilemma

Papa G is one of my chief dilemmas. His presence causes me to weigh my love versus the efficiency of the program. He causes me to ask "how do I love you with Kingdom Love; the kind of love Jesus expressed in the Gospels?"

Papa G earned his name from his past affiliation with the Gangster Disciples. Today, he is an alcoholic. A chronically bad alcoholic! He is the kind of alcoholic that gets the shakes when he hasn't sipped a beer. His fragile body would go into massive shock and he would quite possibly die if he were to simply stop drinking!

Sadly, Papa G has never learned to read or write and seems to have the mental capacity of a 7 year old (the same age as my son). This 60 year old man has been a victim of a defunct schooling system. It never took the time or effort to assess and help him function with his learning disability. In fact, he was never assessed, so he just plodded along knowing and trying to hide this disability, which hindered any possibility of him find…

Misrepresented

Jesus has been misrepresented by too many for too long! Why do we seek after power, wealth and fame when we've been called to represent our Lord by embracing the powerlessness, poverty and alienation of our crucified Saviour? ... is it because we fear the revolutionary words of Jesus; telling us how we need to love our neighbors, the "least of these" and, yes, even our most bitter enemies?

my compassionate little girl

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As I lay my daughter down to bed, I am (yet again) amazed by her beautiful compassion. I gaze at her and thank God…..

Last Sunday morning I found out that a homeless friend had been physically assaulted. He ended up in the hospital with a brain bleed and a black eye. He was in Intensive Care. So I planned to visit him.

Muriwai is my curious little listener. As I communicated this to Beth, her antennas went up and the questions started;
“Daddy, what happened?”
“How did he get hurt?”
“Who did it?”
“Can I see him?”
and “Where are his ouchies?”

Trying to explain to a 5 year old girl the nature of the battery, the severity of the injuries and what happened to the attacker is not an easy thing, especially when she is doting her big hazel eyes at me. Yet, her compassion flowed, and with beautiful persistence she would not let me leave without some answers. I sat down and tried to give her a PG rated version of the story, telling her that he was hit, he fell and bumped his eye and…

poor, humiliated yet blessed

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Every morning they are woken by the loud human alarm clock - someone obnoxiously yelling that it's time to get up and out!

Every breakfast they wait in a long line for a ticket, so they can wait in another line for a plate of food!

Every lunch and dinner they go through the same procedure, grateful for that tray of grub they can't afford, didn't cook or choose!

Throughout every day they are at other people's disposal; obeying the constricting rules, they line up and show their IDs for soap, shower, the iron and the all important bed to sleep in at night - knowing nothing's a guarantee!

Every week they wait for the call that the "Free-Store" is open, so they can try and choose some second hand clothes that may come close to fitting! They have to request transportation and laundry cards, so they can get to their work, appointments or visit family with decent hygiene - again realizing that nothing's a guarantee!


Every night they end up lining up again for…

Sleepless Bliss

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The air remained stagnant in the stillness of the humid night. I lay awake, sweating profusely while every creature in the Midwest shouted their deafening praises to God. Cyrus slept soundly under his heavy blanket, oblivious to how he would whack his perspiring forehead against our tiny trailer's wall.

I was sleepless! I was in agony! I wanted to escape to the big trailer's air conditioning. But I couldn't. I wouldn't. It was his sleepout! It was his overnight with daddy! He was so psyched about our planned special time, he had rapidly chatted since we ventured into the dark, we had read by flashlight and it was imperative that I place this 7 year old boy's interest before mine!

As I lay listening to my son's gentle breathing, it dawned on me how vital, how important, how special and how influential I am to this little boy! No one can take that away! I am his father, Cyrus is my son and we are united by a special bond! I smiled up to heaven and continued my …

When Chaos Reigns

When chaos reigns
with all it's never ceasing conflict
and all our answers amount to zilch
It's hard to be still
and know that God is God
when prayer has vanished like a mist

Falling to the knees
bowing ever low in confusion
howling out desperate cries of prayer
acknowledging limitations
humbled by his mysterious ways
knowing God's ways are not our ways

When chaos reigns
a never ceasing peace remains
being too complicated to understand
It comes through faith
in the "being still" in knowing
God is God and sits upon his throne

Justice rage forth

Our ignorance allows the inexcusable to become excusable 
Our deafening silence screams of intolerable indecisions
Perverted by the comprehensive propaganda machine
Invisible chains cause overt legalized slavery 
Cloaked by harmonious words and seductive promises
Justice and righteousness lie dead in stagnant waters

• Prophets rise to have flaming stones hurled at them
• yet their voices sing from the grave
• persecuted Kingdom dwellers resisting conformity 
• yet light and salt are forever noticed
• Jesus lovingly lived to suffer an unjustified crucifixion by power hungry drones
• yet his choice of powerless submission is victorious

We humbly pray for your Justice
Oh true and perfect justice
Rage forth like a powerful river
We humbly pray for your Righteousness 
Oh blessed righteousness
Flow eternally like a gentle stream

• in the ever-present darkness an ever-present light shines
• heaven transforms hell's exploits into goodness
• a remnant of rejected saints raise loving revolu…

Visiting our Orphans

When I came to Chicago, I noticed that our call for compassion cannot be lived as an idealistic dream. One night, I gazed at all the sleeping homeless men and realized I was standing in the midst of a sea of orphans; a hundred guys without families, ostracized and seeking someone to listen to their endless stories. What I was encountering was anger, grief, hopelessness, mental illness and incarceration, not a cute little orphan boy begging for another plate of food.

We unconsciously commit acts of neglect and favoritism when we conform or are stained by this cruel world. The weak get weaker, the poor get poorer and the defenseless continue to be enslaved by dominating forces. Our challenge is to wash away those dreadful stains, by not conforming to the pattern of this world!

As the world teaches us to prioritize money, power and popularity, we lose the capability to truly love and experience the biblical vision of “pure religion”. James was calling his listeners to live stain-free, b…

Redeeming Addiction

Bowing down before the idol
 tasting sweet & so seductive
  confidently holding head high
   it cuddles it grips it holds
    fastened it won't let go
     succumbing to the addictive power
Believing her propaganda
 living that lifeless existence
  trapped in endless mourning
   feeling insignificantly distant
    a deafening scream of powerlessness
     we have stooped into nothingness
Our weeping floods the abyss
 oh how we wept such bitter tears
  humbled by the consistent pain
   humiliated by ever-present weakness
    blessed are the poor in spirit
     that beam of Hope gently nudges
Bent knees finds miraculous Redemption
 rising from the grave reality
  death is conquered
   birth resurrects new Life
    Life is celebrating
     new found
      blessed
      freedom