God is at work in Long Beach (written for Kingdom Causes December 2011 Blog Post)

God is at work in Long Beach. That’s my theory. It’s more than an intellectual thing, actually – it’s a belief. Tied in with my belief in God and trust in Jesus to be one of his children is the sense that God is at work in this world where he has put us. The […]

Do you guys have a written policy for your mercy ministry? Do you have anything that explains your process or exceptions concerning helping people in need?

Someone recently (late 2011) wrote me and asked this question. This is a slightly edited version of what I said. Think of it as a description rather than a prescription.

Actually, we do not have any official written policy. We are not primarily a service agency or mercy ministry; we just have lots of neighbors […]

Independence and Community

Recent experience has reminded me again of a difficult issue. The issue is independence. And how independence intersects with community. Americans, and perhaps westerners in general, value independence. We expect people to “pull their own weight” – to “contribute to society”. And there is merit in that, dignity even. Of course, we make exceptions. We […]

The Christian life is not a quiet escape…

As quoted by James Calvin Schaap in The Professor’s Death Song,” Books & Culture, Eugene Peterson wrote the following comment on the Christian life while considering Psalm 121:

The Christian life is not a quiet escape to a garden where we can walk and talk uninterruptedly with our Lord; not a fantasy trip to a […]

Ever been asked for spare change?

A friend of mine was recently in Houston. His report:

A street person asked me for change. I asked him if he could direct me to the best nearby restaurants. He knew every one, but confided that the cafeteria in the Presbyterian Hospital had the best deals. I gave him $5.

This is magnificent! Exchange. […]

Gerald May on Addiction, God, and Human Freedom

Addiction cannot be defeated by the human will acting on its own, nor by the human will opting out and turning everything over to divine will. Instead, the power of grace flows most fully when human will chooses to act in harmony with divine will. In practical terms, the means staying in a situation, being […]

Dignity and God’s Glory

It seems nearly impossible for people from conventional backgrounds, particularly Christians, in my experience, to approach those who are homeless or otherwise in unconventional circumstances without trying to “fix them”. It seems that we are afflicted with a desire to play God for other human beings. Watch the movie The Soloist for a great depiction […]

Four Reviews at Barclay Press

I reviewed four books a few years back. The reviews were done for Barclay Press, but are no longer available on the Barclay Press website (as of August, 2015). Having had some requests to be able to read them, I put them here. The four books are Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps from a Better […]