Everyone worships something

Once a year we have our Sunday worship gathering in a park. It’s intentional though started by necessity. It began by needing to vacate our building that shelters a maximum of 100 men for at least six hours while the electricity was turned off to install a generator. The generator is needed in the event of power loss from a hurricane. (Since hurricane season is one of our two seasons...

We’re on a mission

The organization we’re with has a purpose statement for the area we’re assigned to. We have an overall mission statement but in our singularly focused area of ministry, we also have a statement defining our purpose. It says, in part: “The primary purpose of an Adult Rehabilitation Center is the spiritual regeneration and rehabilitation of men who have undergone a process of disaffiliation from those significant ties, which enable individuals...

Learning to Love ‘These People’

“Mama, are you going to give that man some money?” We stopped for after school Icee’s at the corner convenience store. The homeless man stood at the corner in his rumpled, dirty clothes and his blank stare. “No. We don’t give money to those people.” I continued the education that had been given me as a child. These people were different. They’re on drugs or drunks. They’re not like us....

Just above a whisper {Church, music and me}

I volunteered at a radio station as DJ for a couple of years. My friend who trained me told me the importance of pacing the music. You didn’t want to play three slow songs in a row or three fast ones. He didn’t need to tell me, I learned that from church. There’s a flow you try to create for the service. You don’t sing a rousing ‘When We All...

Church, Music and me (an introduction)

It would be a safe guess that Jesus Loves Me was the first song I learned to sing. Sunday School songs came long before Romper Room and Mary Poppins. I was raised with the kind of choruses that had motions. We sang about Zacheus being a wee little man as we held our hand out low and then we pantomimed his climb up the sycamore tree. Our fingers numbered 1,...

Is God only good when we are spared from tragedy?

  It seems every town will have its moment of tragedy. We know them by name: Newtown, Columbine, VA Tech and now our town that lives in the shadow of Miami made headlines last week as a lone gunman opened fire in the baggage terminal of our airport. Ten days before, we’d made several trips to that airport picking up family for the holidays. It’s a relatively small airport for...

Rescued and Redeemed

  I saw his grizzled face, breadcrumbs around his dry mouth, as he offered a smile that looked genuinely happy to see me. I returned the smile that probably showed more concern than joy. He didn’t look well, not like the last time I saw him. He was much thinner, unkempt, but his eyes eager to be seen, to be welcomed ‘home’. He’s not the only one I’ve seen worse...

Wait for it…..

Welcoming my young friend, Jaime, today. Her words are wise beyond her years and her heart is always open to take in one more soul. Thanks, Jaime, for sharing Advent with us. Advent. It’s that beautiful part of life where the world shines and sparkles and everything is decorated. Well, usually. A few years ago I was responsible for programs and activities at a sort of drop-in cafe for homeless...

Finding a tender companion to grief at Christmastime

More catalogs and advertisements are filling our mailbox this time of year. Tucked between Golf Digest, an ad for car sales and one actual Christmas card was the Mrs. Fields catalog. They come around holidays and are tossed in the recycle bin with old newspapers and unwanted ads. I glanced at it thinking, when have I ordered Mrs. Fields cookies and then I remembered. The past few years that mom...