i called jeff today (pastor) and we talked a bit about getting moving on the gardening for the homeless idea. so far the response has been great! i started up a gardening blog for the church, nothing too fancy but a place to talk and share what we know and what we've got. the justice revival really inspired me, like REALLY inspired me. jim wallis told the story of a gang member who, at night when no one was around, got shot on the steps of a church. later, the church had to ask themselves was it their fault what happened? the answer was yes for them (and i feel it should be yes for us all). what happens in your community is your responsibility. this is where the idea of a "parish" came from. an imaginary 12 block radius is set up around a church and whatever happens in those 12 blocks, good, bad or indifferent is the responsibility of the people in the church. a long time ago, gosh probably 1997? (wikipedia confirmed!) there was a song out by a christian hardcore band called Tourniquet called "Crawl to China". so while i can't spout off the lyrics by heart, my fingers can search for them lest i botch them up.
Is God asking you to crawl to China - or just to cross the street?
to trudge through the desert through Arabian heat
or to accomplish the impossible - an Herculean feat
or maybe just trade in bad thoughts obsolete
Is it the concentration camps at Dackow?
is it Joan of Arc revisited?
Niagara Falls in a barrel?
or to mend a broken relationship instead?
Crawl to China
He is faithful - it remains in His hands
from the cold barren Arctic to the war stricken lands
from the place in your heart where despair takes its hold
to the lairs of the demons where deceptions are told
is God asking you to crawl to China or just to cross the street?
Crawl to China
With emotional rigormortis freezing your step
you won’t be going far at all
it feels pretty safe but the danger is real
you won’t grow until you face the fear that you feel
Crawl to China
i think we can all be fooled into thinking that in order to do something for the Kingdom of God it's got to be HUGE and GRAND. but do you know what we are most often called upon to do? love mercy. act peacefully. pursue justice. take care of the downtrodden, cast out and cast aside, the poor, the broken, the unloved. so it got my mental wheels turning thinking about all that's going on in the 12 blocks around my house, around my church. there is a homeless camp tucked away off of high street first of all. tucked away neatly as to not impose upon the hipness and cool aesthetic of clintonville. that makes my heart bleed. so i talked to jeff today and, inspired by the WWII efforts in creating "victory gardens" we are going to propose "justice gardens" wherein people tithe their gardens, giving of it freely to the homeless. flower bulbs, fruits, vegetables, herbs, hanging pots, arrangements, ANYTHING. we treat the poor with disdain, throwing them the bare minimum we feel comfortable giving. having this awful they should be happy to receive ANYTHING attitude. it's humiliating and degrading to my Brothers and Sisters. i want to, as jeff said, bring dignity to the place where they live and eat. that means more than a constant flow of institutional grade food darn it!
to act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.