Where Is The Love? 1 Peter 1:22 – 2:3

I was going to post today, but I think I will just send my reader here instead and not compete for your attention. Please, pay this post a visit. Please engage the discussion there. I beg you.

The Point of Reflection

In a nation divided, and once again bearing the weight of it’s original sin, the sweet aroma of Christ should have been made all the more fragrant. The display of our love for each other across the boundaries that have, before Christ, proven impassable should have declared His supremacy. The ancient hostilities having been put to death in the Church, through the cross, should have made known the multicolored wisdom of God. The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, should have leapt off the cultural canvas, setting off the uniqueness and worth of Jesus, the Christ. But sadly, again, it was not to be.

To be fair, there were pockets of unity. There were small displays of love. In some places, people, pastors, and churches, across ethnic lines, came together. They came to express their love for one another in genuine ways. But it wasn’t enough; not…

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If you were to take a seat on a bench near the corner of 4th St and Ave R on most any given day in the city of Lubbock, Texas, you would see, more often than not, a beggar “flying a sign” asking for money.  If you were a concerned Christian living in Lubbock, Texas and drove by this intersection, you would immediately begin evaluating the circumstance, your level of concern, and the options by which you might interact.  Of course the evaluations and considerations you engage in do not happen in a moral, emotional, political, economic, psychological, sociological, or spiritual vacuum, but rather all of these filters quickly come to bear on your thoughts.

The stage is now set for drama.  Not some shoot’m up action flick (so don’t get too excited), but in the heavens and behind the veil there is a drama unfolding which is playing out in our world here and now, yet goes almost unnoticed (so maybe take it serious anyway).  We will call our not-so-Shakespearean play The Clash of Cash and Trash at the Intersection of Mammon and Jesus.

Now, I am no politician, no economist, and I am not a psychologist (though I play one in my mind sometimes), but I am a street minister who has read my Bible and has been involved with street ministry over most of the last two decades.  During that time, I have witnessed the politically minded, the economists, and the shrinks coming out of the woodwork to guide our “concerned Christian living in Lubbock, Texas” in the ways of ministering to the beggars addressing the church, various parachurch organizations, and doing so supposedly in honor of Jesus.

The almost universal conclusion they come to is that this “concerned Christian living in Lubbock, Texas” will do harm to the beggar (and to themselves and to the larger economy) if they give a dollar (or maybe a hundred) to the beggar at the intersection of Mammon and Jesus.  They will tell us that we are “enabling” the problem to continue, that we are creating dependence upon our charity, and that we are developing a “savior complex” in ourselves while exacerbating an inferiority complex in the beggar, thus we should not give.

Oh, yeah.

They write whole books on this stuff.  Bestseller list books.  They hold seminars, webinars, teach courses, and post YouTube videos and podcasts outlining this stuff.  It has become an industry in and of itself now, and a “concerned Christian living in Lubbock, Texas” can even pay her church $30 to take their class outlining how and why NOT to give money to the poor (in the name of Jesus, of course).

If you are the “concerned Christian living in Lubbock, Texas” and you happen upon the intersection of Mammon and Jesus, you are already feeling a flood of emotions and thinking a ton of thoughts.  I cannot address them all, but they range from disgust, fear, pity, and frustration to anger, compassion, and embarrassment.  And among the thoughts… you are likely to wonder what other neighbors will think of you if you give a dollar to the beggar.

Yeah.  I think that last bit happens a lot.  Maybe not universally, but I bet that while your conscience is feeling pricked, and you consider all the stuff you have and all the lack this beggar appears to have, there is this other little battle in your soul about what people will think of you if you reach in your pocket, slow the pace of traffic piling up behind you and watching as you roll down your window and offer your alms.  And in Lubbock, Texas, odds are (if you are thinking about what other people might think) you think they will think you are a fool.

But you are in luck.  The charity industry of Lubbock, Texas is counting on you to think those thoughts and get a little bewildered by such emotions.  They are here to help with that.

If you go online or look up the phone number(s), or check the missions board at your church, you can find important charitable organizations in Lubbock where you can sign up to volunteer, and where you will be expected to undergo training in which the above mentioned books and seminars form the basic curriculum.  There you will learn to conform to the philosophies and agendas (or risk being labeled “rogue”), chief among them being NOT to give money to the beggars – but of course the organizations where you will offer your volunteer work will be more than happy to accept your offerings on behalf of the poor!

These organizations (for the most part), the bestselling authors they adhere to, and most of your fellow volunteers will offer their service, so they say, in honor of Jesus Christ.  Their lectures, books, and seminars will be peppered (to varying degrees) with Bible references.  Your fellow workers will come from various churches and will be motivated to care based on their faith.  And you, our “concerned Christian living in Lubbock, Texas,” will find it easy, then, to believe these agendas and philosophies do in fact honor Jesus.

But when you are sitting there in the little training seminar listening to all the lecture, the video, and the discussion questions, at some point there will be a chance for you to ask a question.

I want to suggest one.

“If Jesus tells the rich man in Mark 10 to sell everything he owns, give it all to the poor, count his blessings in heaven, and then to come follow him, then why is that not an option for concerned Christians living in Lubbock, Texas as they come to the intersection of Mammon and Jesus?”  

Yeah.  When Jesus tells that rich man to do that, it is in direct response to that man’s question about what he must do to inherit eternal life!  So it’s a big deal.  Now, of course you may not want to sell all you have and give it to the poor either.  And you may not sense that Jesus has demanded it of you.  After all, he was talking to that particular man on that particular occasion, and so I need not think it has anything to do with me personally and you need not think it of you either on this occasion.  I get that.  But how can the charitable organizations of Lubbock, Texas all come together and train you that what Jesus tells that man is not even an option for you?

In fact, if you follow through on the argument(s) made by some of these “authorities” leading you in this training, they will have you provide loans to the poor and charge them interest.  (A good rate, of course… in fact a charitable rate, but interest nonetheless!)  And the Bible clearly prohibits exactly that!  What happened to Jubilee and forgiveness of debt?

So here’s another question you might ask while you are there:

“Isn’t my offering of money, time, energy and skills to this charitable organization actually “enabling” the charitable organizations, the best selling authors, and in fact a whole industry to teach us not to do what Jesus says?”


Oh my!


What if I just gave a couple of dollars to the beggar instead?



If I go look at the charitable organization’s CEO’s refrigerator, will I find a beer or a bottle of wine in it?  Where did the money come from to purchase that?


Isn’t this starting to get a little hypocritical?  Sort of a log in your own eye kinda thingy???


If I go look at the charitable organization’s CEO’s search history on his computer in his office, will I find porn on it?  Where did the money come from to purchase that computer, that office, that air-conditioning and the secretary?  … oh… and the porn???


Oh my!


Does this mean that the charitable organization should not receive my money, my time, my energy?

(By their own logic, it does.)

Or does it mean there is a LOT of rethinking to do about the clash of cash and trash down at the intersection of Mammon and Jesus?

Well, I am committed to the notion that there is a lot of rethinking to do there.  But I am also mindful that if you dare to ask the simple, honest, and important questions I outline here, you will be picking a fight.

I know, because I dared to ask.

I am now one of those “rogue” kind of “concerned Christians living in Lubbock, Texas.”  I got a fight instead of honest answers.  (Oh, and I lost the fight.  I didn’t win anything.  I didn’t want to beat anyone up, but maybe get some conviction where it counts would have been a good thing.  But it got me in a fight, and I lost.)


So now I pose these questions to you.  You, the concerned Christian living in Lubbock, Texas.  Maybe I get some honest answers from you?  Maybe some conviction?

Think about it.

Let’s talk…


Church, justice, grace.



I pastor two Community Dinner Churches in Seattle, Washington and work full time as a Street Minister with Operation Nightwatch. My ministry context is with the socially isolated, poor, and marginalized of the city. Capitol Hill Community Dinner Church meets in the parking garage of a Salvation Army’s woman’s shelter downtown. White Center Community Dinner Church meets in a parking lot next to a busy bus route and drug store. My street ministry includes visiting homeless encampments, connecting people to services, developing relationships, and praying with people living on the street. These ministries and churches all welcome the poor into the kingdom of God. The people who don’t consider my work ministry or church are usually “church people”. People who attend church on Sunday, Wednesday Bible study, and prayer meetings are often confused by dinner church. The people who call Community Dinners their church are folks that don’t have traditional…

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In this season of political conventions, I am thinking about Jesus and how he campaigned for Tiberius.  Sure, Tiberius had a few shortcomings.  Who doesn’t, right?  What’s a little child molestation between world leaders?  So he was caught on tape bragging about his sexual conquests with the sons of various nobles.

When you’re famous, they let you!

So, anyway, I am thinking all about how Jesus campaigned for Tiberius who campaigned on that idea that Augustus had made Rome Great, now he was going to Make Rome Great Again!  That is what really mattered, and Jesus could plainly see it.  Thus, Jesus Christ (not only and not merely) endorsed Tiberius, but practically got crucified for it by all those idiots who were always siding with the lawless criminals and low-lifes.  All the bums and beggars looking for a handout.  All the riff raff in need of forgiveness.

Jesus NEVER did any of that!

That’s when it dawned on me: My church has yet to do one thing… just one… to help me follow Jesus better.

Maybe they did, and I just can’t remember it.  Maybe.  Someone please help me think of a time when they did.

Now, if I want to be a good Republicant, there is a lot of enthusiasm for raising money to not give to the poor, a lot of fantastic lip-service offered vainly to the NAME of God, and I might even get to go on the ski trip.  But if I want to head down to the streets tonight, roll out a bedroll and share communion with the bums I find drifting in the alleys, there won’t be one single person among the lot of them who will join me, support me, pray for this mission, or even offer a word of encouragement.

Not one.

I’m wondering where the Christians are.

I can show you a whole bunch of Republicants.  But I don’t know where the Christians meet.

If you see one, let me know.

Works of mercy, love of wisdom!

Listen to this word from God.

Is it just me, or is the world insane?

These words come from the book of Ecclesiasticus or the book of Sirach, and they speak directly to the man on the street, and his relationship towards the poor.  If this bothers you on account of it coming from a “Catholic Bible” ? Please note that these books were included in the “King James Bible” for over two hundred years.

Son, defraud not the poor of alms, and turn not away thy eyes from the poor.

Despise not the hungry soul: and provoke not the poor in his want.

Afflict not the heart of the needy, and defer not to give to him that is in distress.

Reject not the petition of the afflicted: and turn not away thy face from the needy.

Turn not away thy eyes from the poor for fear of anger: and leave not to them that ask of thee to curse thee behind thy back.

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I probably should have just hit the reblog button, but maybe this is more fun.

I invite all my homeless friends, and friends of the homeless, and people who love Jesus, and especially those who find it difficult to maintain agreement with one another (is that not at least half the blog-O-sphere???) to come on over to Harolene’s blog and feast on her post.  I guess I got there early.  I tried to leave a little leftover for ya.  Maybe hurry and get in on the big pieces before they are all gone.

Here is a link:


There’s only you and me and we just disagree


Bring your own forks, knives, torches and.. . oh… scratch that, wrong kind of party… and your napkins, and let’s eat on Harolene’s offerings tonight!

See ya there…


The Ones We Don’t See

I hope by reblogging this, maybe a few more people will see Julia.

BEYOND HELLO: Rekindling the human spirit one conversation at a time

The drug addict who steals to feed his addiction makes media headlines. The homeless who camp out in city parks evoke community debates. The panhandler who begs for change grasps our attention – at least until the light turns green. But what about the ones we don’t see? In every school, every workplace and every community, there are those that exist under the radar. They are the ones we don’t notice. They are the ones waiting for someone to say, “I see you.”

Today, grade 7 student, Halle, joined me in an effort to go Beyond HELLO and spread compassion throughout Maple Ridge. We began by driving through the downtown core, looking for someone in need who might benefit from a warm meal. We hoped we would get a chance to connect, and hear someone’s story.

COVID-19 has limited our ability to take strangers to lunch. Rather than sitting down…

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I don’t know …  it has been many months since I posted anything regarding Agent Z, and the followers who seemed enthused about him then don’t seem to be visiting here much anymore.  But today is a big day for him.

Here at Fat Beggars School of Prophets, we want to celebrate with Agent Z as he graduates with a degree in Christian ministry from one of our local Christian schools.

Yay!  Agent Z!

(He is also preparing to start a married life which will begin in October.  Yes, soon there will be a Mrs. Agent Z also.)

Agent Z is my stepson.  He is planning on starting his career in youth and family ministry, but he has his eye on grad school too.  Though his focus has been primarily on youth ministry, Z has also facilitated many “Luke-14” street parties over the course of the last 3-4 years.  Several of them here in Lubbock.

Agent Z worked his internship for two years with a church in Albuquerque, NM too, though, and while there immediately notice the homeless drifters passing by the church property.  He talked that church into hosting “Luke-14” parties each year he was there too, and deployed many from that church in street ministry, in manning the BBQ grill, in serving a meal, and in touching some of the lowliest lives on the streets of that city.

I’m so happy to announce this big day for him, and I am hopeful for the future God has in store for his world with Z devoted to ministering his Word to the rest of us.



School is back in session in Lubbock, and on Day 3 we had two elementary schools reporting exposure to the virus and a third being scrutinized.  Today was Day 5 and a report of exposure at MY KID’s school!


I don’t know that any transmission has occurred.  I just know that our own school system is already dealing with virus exposures AND reporting it in the media.

But we are taking precautions.  That is also the word on it.  Our schools OFFICIALLY observe 6 foot social distance guidelines, mask wearing, and hand washing with frequent deep clean sanitizations.  And still, we have multiple exposures in the first week.

We know, because we have learned it repeatedly for the last six months, that large gatherings of people, especially indoors, creates extreme conditions for likely spread of the virus, and there is almost no way to eradicate, and very little way to even mitigate, such spread between young people when gathered this way.  The state of Texas has suffered jammed ICU’s with helpless dying patients who did not learn these lessons.  Yet, we think it is worth the risk.

But I have some questions:

Why is it that the local TV news media covering these stories run video featuring the first day of class, and while the video rolls, the voice over discusses these precautions, even listing them off much as I have done just above, yet meanwhile the video itself shows families, kids and adults gathered in close quarters at the front door of the school with (by my count) at least five bare faces?  But the real question then is… Why is that local TV news media not asking the questions about the discrepancies between the stated precaution policies and the video evidence to the contrary?

I think I know.  Can’t prove it, but I think I know.  It’s a guess, and there maybe more to the story, but I have an idea, and I think I know.

The TV news watching public of Lubbock, Texas wants our schools open and our football games on this weekend.  We want our football!  Damn it!


To be fair, we don’t have a marked increase in new cases yet.  We will need to REMEMBER these observations 2-3 weeks from now.  We only need to remember them IF an outbreak appears on the radar, and THEN we can regret all the thwarting of precautions, the opening of schools, and the return of football.  We can REGRET it, THEN.

But for now, we can sure as hell ignore it.

So we do.