The Words of Jesus

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (The words of Jesus Christ–who is Lord, Liar or Lunatic, you decide. Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)

Touched By An Angel

I’ve always thought that TV shows lately have been pretty crummy, to put it nicely. Most network TV shows aren’t very clean, and for some reason sex is the topic of every sitcom. There are few shows out there that I’ll actually watch, The Simpsons being one of them, but I’ll save that for another day. Tonight I found another quality show: Touched By An Angel. When you only have four channels, you tend to watch whatever’s on. While washing my dishes I turned on CBS and watched this show. Now I’ve heard a lot about this show. I always thought it was some watered down network attempt to tap into that wealthy Christian audience. Just trying to suck some more money out of wherever they could with a soapy clean show featuring angels. The Christians will love it, and we’ll make some money. Of course I don’t know if that speculation is true or not, but I now know something about the show. It is not a watered down, feel good TV show. It expresses the truth of the gospel. On prime time, network TV I actually heard the Bible being quoted, and it wasn’t by some psycho murderer about to gun down half a dozen people. The truth of Christianity was being preached, and not in any hoaky, lame manner. It was good. My hat goes off to the producers of this show, along with my apologies for being so skeptical.

Words of Jesus

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you? ‘

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth; whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (The words of Jesus Christ, Matthew 25:31-46 NIV)

Inner Beauty Only Goes So Far

I also witnessed something else this weekend that I’m afraid I’m just going to have to go off on. I mentioned a billboard advertising Maidenform bras in these ponderings before. This weekend I saw those same advertisements on the sides of buses in downtown Chicago. The ads feature well tanned (aka, future skin cancer victims), skinny, women wearing (what else?) nothing but their underwear. The caption reads, “Inner Beauty only goes so far.” A blatant lie. As soon as I can find an address to send a letter to, I’ll be writing this company to complain. I’d like to see a poster of those same models when they’re 40 with a caption reading “Outer Beauty doesn’t last.” I’d like to see the advertising executives who came up with this campaign tell their daughters inner beauty only goes so far. Explain that one when their daughter can’t get a date. Explain that one when their daughter is one of the 3 out of 5 teenage girls who suffer from some type of eating disorder. Explain that one when their daughter is horribly disfigured in an accident. “Inner Beauty only goes so far.” I’ve never heard such a complete and total lie. Is selling bras that important to them?

See So Much More in this World

It seems that life is quite full of choices. The guy sitting behind me on the train seems to have it all figured out. He’s pulling in a cool 80 g’s a year. But is that all it’s worth? Is life just a race for the almighty dollar? That’s not what life is about, yet so many of us think it is. Is making a buck the most important thing on your agenda? Or is bringing a smile to a young child’s face? Impatience, greed, and anger plague us. While standing on the corner I hear horns of impatient drivers blaring all the time. People are not very nice. Perhaps it’s because we have our eyes focused on the fleeting things of this world. I see so much more in this world, won’t you open your eyes and see it too?

Another Day on the Streets of Chicago

Another day on the streets of Chicago, proof that life isn’t always easy. Today was a pretty rough day. My body ached, my bruised palm hurt, and my fingers bled. And you thought a yo-yo was a toy. Yesterday I was hustled by some kids, today I was robbed. Well, not really. They tried to. Four eight year old kids decided it would be fun to spend their Saturday running up and down Michigan Avenue harassing people. First they tried to use my spare yo-yo’s, against my will of course. Then they took off with the yo-yo’s. I trusted they’d come back, and they did. Next they tried to take off with my money. They grudgingly came back. For the next hour and a half they kept coming back and bugging me. Sometimes you just want to strangle kids.

Continue reading Another Day on the Streets of Chicago

Experiences as a Yo-Yoing Street Performer

Life is hard on the streets. A hard days work for a hard day’s money. For everybody but me! I spent the day yo-yoing at the corner of Michigan and Pearson in downtown Chicago. But it’s not all fun and games. I did have to figure out the Chicago Transit Authority bus system, which is never an easy thing to figure out. But you know what I learned? It’s almost faster to walk. After waiting for the bus, and then considering that the bus stops at every stinkin’ corner, it takes just as much time to walk. I also earned myself a few cuts and bruises today. You think yo-yo’s are nice, safe toys, do ya? Well, I got news for you. I usually wrap three of my fingers to save them from string burns and blisters, and today I had to bandage a fourth. I also managed to bruise the palm of my hand. And as if the yo-yo wasn’t giving me enough trouble, I was hustled by a group of kids. They were determined to show me how good they could yo-yo, and were adamant that I pay them for their trouble. Kids. But to be serious, I did receive a few comments that me stop and think. One lady described my yo-yoing as, “real pretty,” which I think says a lot for the yo-yo itself (I can assure you the sweaty kid attached to the yo-yo wasn’t too pretty). Another kid asked what I was majoring in (the sign on my box says, “College Student”). I replied, “Writing.” He tossed a buck in my box and said, “Well write me a book.”

I’m also still loving the public transportation system here in Chicago. Rather than fight traffic for over an hour, I curl up with a book on the Metra. I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Rather than try to recapitulate what Lewis said and really mess it up, I’m just going to tell you to go read his book. It’s a very practical, very honest, and very logical defense of Christianity. Sometimes it’s a little too logical for me, but if you can wade through the deep mental waters, he says some very powerful stuff. Add it to your summer reading list. Oh wait, it is summer. Silly me. Go pick up the book now and read it.

Stranger Danger

What are you looking at? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? I see the faces around me, so many confused and lost souls. So many self assured and confident souls. Their lives are in their hands and they know where they’re going. Or so they think. So many cars back up on these city streets, each one has an owner, each one has a story. Each one has a life of their own. Each one has their own hurts, each one has their own joys. Each one doesn’t know me, and could probably care less about me and the thoughts in my head and the hurts in my heart. But I see them and they see me, and the question is do I care about them and the thoughts in their head and the hurts in their heart? This world has become one crazy mess–or maybe it always was and we just hope for something better–where nobody cares about anyone else. How right is that? What kind of humanity is that? Danger stranger keeps us locked behind our doors, I’m scared of you and you’re scared of me. But is that what we’re called to? I walk down the street, and this closed door and mask pulled tight get us nowhere. I dare to knock at the door and pull the mask away. What will happen if we open the door and let one another in, instead of hide behind our metal bars and racial stereotypes? What happens when you cross the line? It’s not exactly what mommy and daddy taught me.

“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11 NKJV)