View from the Street

A grimace of pain clouds his face.

A child’s simple smile as she looks over her shoulder, being dragged along by a parent in a hurry.

An unexpected yet extremely welcome gift from less than an acquaintance.

One friendly face in a sea of thousands.

A common occupation draws strangers together as music and a toy cross culture and language barriers.

A woman in wheel chair, pushing with every ounce of strength in her just to get across the street.

These are my days, snippets and snapshots from a sea of memories, pictures of an adventure in the city, learning what it’s like to be alive and what it really means to be a person.

Walk Right By

You walk right by and you don’t understand. You won’t take the time to lower yourself and talk to me. Your time, your agenda, and your money is more important than anything I have to offer. Don’t bother giving me the time of day. You won’t even let yourself smile, enjoying the day and what I have to offer. That would be giving in. What kind of world do we live in when you can’t even exchange understanding smiles with a stranger or hear an encouraging word? I don’t need your money. I just want to crack through your hollow shell and shed some light inside.

Noble Dreams and Noble Goals

Confusion pounds your skull and the heat makes your brain melt. My glasses fogged up when I walked out of the grocery store tonight.

What’s the difference between reality and your dreams? Reach to touch the sky and perhaps you will. Then again maybe you won’t. Reality grounds us all and forces us to concede. Compromise. Can you compromise your dreams? Can you compromise your goals? But is it really a compromise? As long as the message the still gets out, what’s the difference? Intellectual tug-o-war–and frankly, I’d like to sit this one out. Nobody ever wins.

Noble dreams and noble goals. Does what you do matter? Do the events of your life shape and impact people’s lives? Maybe not the way you earn your money, but your day to day actions. Do they change people’s outlook? Maybe you work on the assembly line and tightening screws can’t possibly change someone’s life. But do your very actions work for good? So often I have this twisted ideal that you have to do something so noble and earth shattering, something to make a difference in the world. Your very profession must do this, or somehow you’re second rate. But is that so true? If I don’t take that step with every minute of my life, in every inconspicuous action, then how can I expect to last in a profession where I’ll do that? If I don’t tell the kid on the bus about Jesus, then what makes me think I’ll tell the kid in Africa about Jesus? Of course that’s no reason not to go to Africa, but it boggles my mind sometimes. We can only get out of our comfort zone for so long. Can such a thing be a lifestyle? Is that even possible? I so want to find out. I so want to break these chains of apathy–but I can’t do it.

What If?

As you look down the road, there are so many open doors, hallways, twists and turns. They open up before you like a maze. So many possibilities. And so many questions. Where will the money come from? What if I fail? What if I choose the wrong path? Yet somehow I know I have no need to fear. A hand guides me through the darkness of the night, showing me the way. A hand of provision. A hand of mercy. A hand of love. A hand of love that will help me rise above the hills and carry me through the canyons. And so why do I worry?

Scream Your Dream

So what’s your reasoning? Is this for your glory? Something you can tack your name on? So you can proclaim loudly to the world, “I did that.” So you can feel the pride grow in your heart? No, that’s not what I’m after. It certainly does feel good, but that’s not what I want. What do I want? I want someone to open their eyes. I want them to see. I want the light to come on inside their skull and for everything to begin to become clear. Of course it’ll never be crystal clear. They’ll always struggle with the haze. Don’t we all? I want someone to look at something like they’ve never looked at it before. To hear something and make them see life in a new way. I want them to experience God in a new way. I want them to change. Butts have been asleep for too long–mine included. It’s time to stand up. It’s time to scream our dream. I want people to find that kind of passion within themselves. I want to do whatever it takes to get them there. That’s my reasoning. I want to see God change hearts, change minds, change visions, and make dreams. I want to hear those dreams. I want to see those dreams being lived out. Scream them if you must, do what it takes. It’s time to raise the volume. Let’s get loud.


So you want to change the world? What?

No, I want to change the channel. This one sucks.

You’re just going to sit there and watch TV?

Yeah, you got a problem with that? Now leave me alone.

Well no, I don’t–yeah, I do have a problem with that.

Well why don’t you write me a memo and I’ll discuss it with you after this commercial.

You’re just going to sit there on the couch, while the world passes you by?

Is somebody talking?

Where is your motivation? Where is your drive? Don’t you have any dreams? Don’t you have a vision? Don’t you want to do something with your life?

Could you pass me a beer?

How can you just sit there ignoring everything? What about your children? You had the gall to bring them into this world, and then you pour nothing into them. Are they a chore to you?

I think I hear that annoying little voice again.

You realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you, don’t you?

You’re standing there talking to me, the TV’s sitting over there talking to me–things seem to be revolving around me.

Ahhh! It’s like I’m talking to a wall.

Yeah, it’s great ain’t it? Now would you do me a favor and shut the hell up? I’m trying to teach you something.

Stephen Saint

“My name is Stephen Saint. You killed my father. Prepare to live.”

Somehow that doesn’t seem like a line you’d hear in the Princess Bride. But yet it makes sense. Auca Indians in Ecuador killed Stephen Saint’s father, along with four other men in 1956. Stephen Saint and his family now live with the very men who killed his father. These men have come to follow the God that Stephen Saint trusts in. It is a story beyond Hollywood and beyond imagination. It is a story that has touched lives in such far away places as Timbuktu–literally. The God of this world transforms lives like you wouldn’t believe. Do you still want to keep him in your box?

(does that make up for three days of neglect?)

The Day of Reckoning is Upon Us

With the sun glaring down, and the weight pulling down, I trudged on. Alone. Hundreds of strangers passed by, but not one knew my pain. Not one offered to help. When the weariness sets in and your head feels light, when you can feel your body sway and you reach for something to steady yourself–there’s no worse feeling than being alone and away from home. There’s no one to take care of you, no one to hold your hand. When you double over in pain or rest your sweating cheek against the vinyl seat, trying in vain to melt away from the anguish–nothing would bring relief more than a friendly hand on your shoulder. The panic and terror seizes you, the bags drop to the ground in scattered disarray, and somehow adrenaline carries you through. Your hand shakes, your body aches–and reality is vain disillusionment.

The day of reckoning is upon us. We will all answer for the decisions we have made, for the choices, for the actions, for the paths we have chosen. You will have to answer. I will have to answer. Will your answer hold up? Or will you look back in shame and embarrassment? People are counting on you, people are relying on you. Will your tender hand lead them astray? Will you ignore the protests, the murmuring in the night? Will you ignore the crying of the children as you disband their growing power? As you cover their light what answer can you give? I can only pray for mercy for the things we have done.

He sat there talking to himself. Hadn’t shaved in weeks, a dirty cap on his head, and his sneakers. They truly lived up to the word. His grimy toes poking out his sweaty socks poking out his dilapidated shoes. Those shoes. I watch him stamp out a cigarette under those shoes, and I see his toes wriggle as he does so. After seeing such a sight, how can I buy myself a brand new fifth pair of shoes? It just doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t make any sense.

Why is JFK Jr.’s Death Such a Big Deal?

Okay, it’s time to take a break from the vague, descriptive narratives and talk about something we can all easily understand without straining our brains. This whole JFK Jr. thing is really confusing me. Now I’m not a totally heartless guy, I feel for the Kennedy family. This is quite a tragedy and I can’t imagine having to go through something like that. But what I don’t understand is why CBS had live coverage of the entire thing all day Saturday. Why is this the biggest news story since the height of bombing Kosovo? Sure, he’s the son of JFK, he’s rich, he’s a Kennedy. But frankly, I don’t care that much about him. How many people die in plane crashes all the time, and the whole nation doesn’t stop and wait for every detail. Maybe I should correct that, the entire news media doesn’t stop and wait for every last detail. I don’t think the average American is too concerned about this whole thing. An online poll on showed that 81% of the respondents thought there was too much news coverage (of a total 80,000 people). Now sure, that’s just an online poll, but that’s a pretty high percentage. People often refer to JFK’s days in the Whitehouse as Camelot, and subsequently JFK Jr. has been called America’s Prince. I hate to break it to ya, but America has no royalty. Not in name and not even in sentiment.

Misshapen Yesterdays

Misshapen yesterdays and forgotten tomorrows. You can’t go home and you can’t stay here. Cell phones and pagers and the apathetic glow of the TV screen, screaming for you to stay. Coke, Pepsi, Bottled Water or $3 Coffee–what happened to a glass of water from the tap? When did this existence become so disinterested? Does it take a bundle of life falling into your lap to awaken your senses and realize that life is so much more than your close knit circle of loose acquaintances? The shallow conversation echoes endlessly at the bar and you live such an ill-fated heartbeat when your eyes scan the horizon for the next good time. Someone should tell you to grow up, but the sad thing is that you already have.