May 24, 2005, 12:44 pm
Filed under: uncategorized

Did you ever notice how not very many people have bad days on their blogs? People might talk about stuff they’re angry about, etc., but nothing beyond that. In an effort at orginality, let me say that I had a pretty cranky morning. Traffic sucked, I said stupid things to my undeserving wife on the phone as I sat in traffic, and then one of my MIA clients showed up out of the blue asking me to take him to the welfare office. Fortunately, that office is pretty close to my office, so I walked him down there instead of driving. Beautiful morning here in Seattle, and despite the fact that I was walking next to a homeless guy with some pretty ripe body odor, I did get some fresh air. That helped.

But I came back thinking that sometimes the blogosphere is a little bit like church – not very many people have a bad day. We just smile, wave, say everything is fine, or say nothing if it isn’t. Now, I’m not asking my blogging friends to start dishing on all the crap that’s going on in their lives, but hey, feel free to say you’re having a bad day once in a while. It might make someone else feel better about their crappy day.

And now that I’ve got some fresh air in my lungs and some clarity in my mind, I say with all sincerity . . .

Shalom, friends.


May 20, 2005, 8:29 am
Filed under: uncategorized

In working with a homeless population, in particular a substance dependent homeless population, I’ve been noticing some things about how the church (at least the church of North America) has done it’s work of life transformation. The majority of the homeless shelters that are available have some sort of a Christian faith base to them. In some cases, in order to be allowed to eat the food or sleep there, the shelters require their guests to attend a chapel service. In some cases, attendance is not required, but the chapel services are there in order to encourage the people. Some of my clients like that this is the case, while others roll their eyes at the thought of having to sit through some boring church service.

Jesus and his apostles told us in no uncertain terms that we are to care for the poor, etc. I’m glad that these organizations exist and that they are taking their following of Jesus seriously in that way. I applaud their efforts – even if some of them go a little too far in attempting to manipulate folks by using food and shelter. At least they’re doing something.

The thing that interests me is what the homeless people being served have learned from the church. I have clients who are actively using drugs, engaging in sexual practices of all varieties, stealing from others, and a long list of other things. And oh, by the way, they talk about how active they are in their Christian faith. Yesterday, I was talking to one of them about his personal faith, and he described it with impressive theological precision . . . just before telling me how hard it is for him to quit smoking weed. As I was thinking about how incongruent that was, I came to the thought that it actually wasn’t all that different than the rest of the church culture.

How much of a change in lifestyle is required of those who commit to following Jesus? It would be easy to blame the lack of lifestyle change on the seeker movement, given their approach of “lowering the barrier for entry.” But honestly, I think professed belief without noticeable change in lifestyle predates the whole Willowback/Saddlecreek thing. So today I’m pondering what a real, healthy Jesus follower looks like, and trying to be that.

May 13, 2005, 12:35 pm
Filed under: uncategorized

Favorite things about Seattle recently (in no particular order):

Favorite coffee house: Victrola Coffee
Favorite local band: The Lashes
Favorite bumper sticker: “What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?”

May 12, 2005, 8:32 am
Filed under: uncategorized

I did some training and orientation at the King County Correctional Facility. It included a tour, which was interesting, but kind of creeped me out. I work with convicted felons of all varieties every day, so it didn’t bug me to be around them. Rather, it’s because I was in a group of nine or ten people, being taken into the jail environment, and looking at how the “residents” are processed through the system. At this particular facility, most of the inmates are held in dormitory style rooms with 20 people, bunk beds, showers, toilets, sinks, and not much else. Instead of the typical grey bars, though, they are behind walls of glass – the nickname for these rooms is “tanks” (think fish aquariums). As I was paraded in front of these people, I tried to avoid eye contact, mostly because I didn’t want to be guilty of stripping them of their dignity any further. I know that the vast majority of them are in there for good reasons, and I’m all for it – even from a therapeutic perspective. But I didn’t like the feeling of being a tourist, looking at the caged animals.

But then, as we rounded a corner and entered one of the tank areas where inmates with medical conditions, like diabetes, are held, I did make eye contact with one of the inmates – and it was one of my clients. He recognized me immediately, and smiled, waving, trying to say something to me about when he’s due to be released. I had been instructed not to speak during the tour, so I just smiled, gave a nod of my head, and a quick wave. As I walked by, I could see him talking to his “roommates,” saying, “Hey, that’s my case manager!” Somehow in that moment, I felt a whole lot better about being there.

I’ll go back and visit my clients, partly because it’s my job, but mostly to see that smile again.

May 5, 2005, 8:33 am
Filed under: uncategorized

No blogging lately. I’ve been working on a couple of other writing projects. Hopefully by the end of this weekend I’ll have those closed up and shipped out. For now, I’m getting ready for the office Cinco de Mayo party. I made my legendary guacamole, but had a little too much fun with the lime juice. Oh well.

Tomorrow morning I’m taking Michelle to the airport – going back to SoCal for the weekend. Meanwhile, I’ll be writing, cleaning house, and playing with the dog. I’m kicking around a couple of ideas for entertainment, though. I’m not a very good bachelor, so we’ll see how it goes.