True Stories from Still Waters...
Bruce is a close friend. We first met when he found himself in great needhe
was homeless and a guest at MAIN St. Through many long late night talks, about God, government, and particularly History
(a subject where Bruce is very gifted), we discovered a very intelligent man, whos strength was made perfect through weakness.
His presence among us, completes us, and guides us toward the God of mercy.
God’s Story Lives Close To Us
I just watched “The Soloist,” and discovered my new
favorite movie of all time. It’s one of those movies that resonates deeply
on all levels; identifying, experientially on both a conscience, and emotional level. This is a movie that I totally understood
EVERY moment, indentifying with every character, finding myself connected with ALL of the characters. Robert Downey Jr. &
Jamie Foxx, brilliantly embodied the reality of homelessness, mental illness, and the pain of those who love them. Nelsan
Ellis, was brilliant too, as the director of the LAMP community. These folk are all unsung heroes, and he captured their quiet
profound, selfless love. This is a ministry prerequisite; impossible to watch through dry eyes.
It reminded me of our first year of sheltering people. There was
a very troubled, and schizophrenic man who, unlike the Jamie Foxx character, wanted constant attention. A lost soul who would
conjure up every emotion, within us; sometimes a pain, sometimes heartbreak, always a challenge to love. Fortunately he loved
us and forced us to recognize that Christ lives in some very troubling packages that once opened, are life in the kingdom
He loved music and could never hold onto a guitar on the streets...
So, we bought him one (a nice one), and kept it for him to play at the shelter. To some, this was his serenading them, to
Working through some touchy logistics, we managed to accommodate
his “art” and the needs of the other tired guests. I tried to buy him things that would cater to his “craft,”
like guitar picks. He didn’t want them. Instead, he preferred the make-shift ones that he would cut from old milk jugs.
They definitely fit his Richie Havens’ style of playing much better than my wisdom would have allowed.
He wrote songs constantly. Some bad, and some very good, and sometimes
a dozen-a-day. I wanted to capture some of his stuff, but through the schizophrenia,
his lack of education, and his finely honed lack of discipline, recording was very tough. We did begin to record before he
left for... let’s say, a little vacation. He will be returning to us in another year or so.
Until then, his guitar
is in the closet of my music room, awaiting it’s owner’s return to be played again. Here are examples of his soul. The first is just trying to record some scratch tracks, and to get levels, but it
was difficult to keep focused. And be warned of some language. This was a song he wrote for me. The second was the closest
to a real take, called “This Song’s For You.”
dear friend runs a very compassionate shelter. I’ve
watched her pour her very life into the hardships of others for years as God’s instrument of peace. Her shelter and ours, work very closely together, and in fact our MAIN Street shelter exists, in all too many way,
because of her and her compassionate vision.
At the beginning of December,
and very good man named Pastor Paul arrived from Kenya. He was here to do some speaking engagements at some local churches that are friends
of his, trying to raise money for his very poor church, and at their invitation. He is poor and his ministry is to the poor and handicapped back home. When he came here, he had a host, or so he
Well, Pastor Paul is wheel chair bound from polio. He is a big man and is fitting into a very small chair that is borrowed,
and falling apart. It will not last much longer. He became sick on the plane coming here, and Homeland
Security forced a landing to insure that he was not carrying the Asian
Flu. They cleared him, and he boarded another plane to continue his journey. His baggage was misdirected in the mix
up and was sent back to Kenya, while his motorized wheelchair was broken in transit.
When he got off the plane and called his hosts, they were not expecting him (another long story) and they did not know he
was wheel chair bound. When they came to meet him at the airport, and realized
all of this, they left him there. Later, after an apparent bout of conscience, they called others to picked him up and
dropped him at her shelters front door.
been here before and my Genny has spoken with pastors in Maryland, Delaware,
New Jersey, and even California. They all know him, and all of them are, unfortunately, pastoring poor churches too,
and cannot help him. One pastor was willing to give him a PA system if he was able to take it back with him. It
is in Maryland and Pastor Paul has no way to get it.
Paul does have a return ticket but his flight is not until January 16th, and he is in need of unique care, both physically,
and personally, more care than the shelter can offer.
This is a very good man with hardships here and at home, and I think that he might
be a gift to us.
The shelter has found him
a $3000 powered wheel chair that has been used for only a short time, in perfect condition for around $800, and since last
week they reduced the price for him even lower.
I am asking three things
for him in this email;
1. I am hoping to raise the cash for his wheel chair,
2. I need someone to pick up a donated PA System that would bless his ministry at home, and raise the money to help him
take it home when he leaves on January 16th, and
3. possibly raise enough money to take care of him properly while he is here.
It is Christmas, and I would
like to make this terrible time his best Christmas; One that Christ draws very close to Paul through the affection of His
Body... The Church.
Please consider helping our
Peace be with you,
Click HERE to contribute.
Only In My World!
I just visited
juvenile court again this month. I needed to put a friend (one of our single
mothers), at ease while we drove to an uncomfortable appointment.
a true story that I told her, and unfortunately, it is normal for us. (Please don’t read this if you are faint of heart
time I was at Juvenile Court I thought that I was going to jail myself.
bringing another person to her son’s hearing. I was just concerned for
her and trying to comfort her, thinking and acting all spiritual, and zealously wanting to know the right “God words”
for every question. Such a giant for God...
through the Court door (I’m not sure how my mind works, or what woke me up to a horrible fact), and must have visibly
turned white as the blood drained from my head in horror.
we held a church service at the Mental Health Association’s Peer Resource Center here in town. On any given evening,
we would have 2 to 20 people. Often, Big John and I would sit there and twiddle
our thumbs out of boredom. We’d create games like counting down to when
certain people would explode certain expletives while playing pool in the other room, and what each individual’s expletive
of choice was; we’d guess at where convoluted discussions would go, that we would eves drop on... Stuff like that. It
is those boring times, that rest you, for when the circus comes to town—if you know what I mean.
began to come in that Thursday, and we knew it was time to get serious. It was a decent size group. We solved the mysteries
of life and enjoyed spirited conversation, but Randy was wide-eyed and quiet—scary quiet! I was reading, with my nose buried in my bible (unaware of the rest of the world), when a really big hand
slams down on my bible in front of me, shocking me out of holy space. It was
Randy, and he screamed, “take this *%#@^&-ing thing away from me, It’s killing me!!”
his hand was his crack pipe.
and prayed. The whole room joined us and we made some big promises to each other. Incidentally, Randy’s openness and vulnerability led others to share terrible
stuff too. It was Christ. I told Randy that I’d dispose of the contraband
later that night. The meeting ended, and I went home.
to be the house parent for a very difficult person. He is mentally retarded, with a narcissistic personality disorder (totally
serious), and unbelievably addicted to rough gay porn. I made a deal with him
that I didn’t want to see it, as his landlord didn’t either, nor the other folks from his agency, nor the plumber,
nor... you get the picture. He had a huge amount, and also had this habit of
leaving it out in the open, and the deal was what ever was left out when I showed up, I would confiscate and toss in the trash. Earlier that day, that was the case. Playing
cards. Right there for everyone and God to see.
I flipped them into my bag.
are... Friday morning... walking up to the Juvenile Court door... Where I know there are metal detectors, and BAG SERCHES!! You
guessed it... I slid the pipe into my man-bag with the porn cards! I can only tell you that I broke into a sweat that made my shoes slosh, and I could see no way out as my
blood pressure dropped!
my slight miscalculation, I pulled the officer aside.
“Sir,” I said, “Do you believe in God?”
you believe that I am a pastor?”
look was worrying. “Yes,” he said.
got a story for you.”
only believe that he hadn’t laughed in years and was making up for lost time.
to all in ministry, always, always, always carry your Pastoral Credentials with you!!)
I think my friend forgot her
troubles temporarily, and I am the poster child for “Don’t let this happen to you!”