Please Know...

As I come to know the men and women of Kensington, specifically the homeless and addicted, their stories become increasingly sensitive and personal. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist in regard to these fine people. Names are rarely their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Was this really necessary?

Every once in awhile I do a video instead of typing something up. This is one of those moments.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tomato Tomoto Connive Survive

  1. Synonyms: Scheme, Conspire, Plot
  2. to plan secretly to do something, usually something wrong or illegal
  3. to pretend not to know about or do nothing to stop a wrongful or illegal act, thus showing encouragement of or consent to the act

  1. Synonyms: Stay Alive, Live to Tell the Tale, Continue To Exist
  2. intransitive verb to remain alive or in existence or able to live or function, especially succeed in staying alive when faced with a life-threatening danger
  3. transitive verb to come through a life-threatening experience or a period of difficulty and remain alive, in existence, or in a previous position or life

Since starting this ministry of serving homeless and addicted men and women, I’ve been connived a few times.  In blissful ignorance, I have found myself in some interesting situations of which I’m not going to discuss details other than to say Lisa Ling of CNN would probably give me a high-five and ask me to do a guest appearance on her next show.  Enough said…

The more innocent side of homeless addicted conniving includes taking more clothes than any one person personally needs from donations from people like me and selling those clothes that they’ve just been given for a dollar or two each, selling lucies (individual cigarettes for much more than their per pack price) and more.

It’s not until I merged the words connive and survive that I found peace in knowing that no matter what I do, I will be connived by a few men and women who are desperately trying to survive the hellish trap of homeless drug addiction.

Living Example:

I carry my cell phone at all times.  Sue and Brad, two individuals, have asked me if they can borrow my phone to call a family member.  They each call to say hi to Mom or Dad and just let their loved one know they are sort of ok.

And then there is Brenda who connived me to let her use my cell phone.  I didn’t know that she used my phone to text a “man” and ask him to call her back quickly while she had access to my phone.  A few days later, this man called my phone and asked for Brenda.  I referenced my involvement with Urban Hope so he would not say anything for which he may feel embarrassed in the following moments.  Realizing that I was a “church guy”, he opened up to me and shared his story of recently stopping his out of control drinking.  I praised him for that.

He continued…

“I’ve stopped drinking but I’m still dealing with my sex addiction.  I love a good whore.  Is Brenda there?”

For a brief moment, I forgot I was a church guy and that it’s virtually impossible to put my fist through my cell phone and connect it to this “man’s” face.  Instead, I wrapped up that phone call as quickly as I could think to do so.

Brenda is doing whatever she can do to survive her current life of homeless addiction.  She needs her medicine to keep from getting outrageously sick.  She may or may not be interested at this time in detox and recovery.  As I’ve already mentioned, the system for helping her get into detox is so broken that even if she wants it, renting her body to men such as this is the only way she knows to stay “not sick.”

When I merge in my own head Brenda’s conniving use of my cell phone for an inappropriate cause with her need to keep surviving, I can look at her and not be upset that my phone was used to try to arrange a “date.”  Instead, I can sit on the sidewalk and look at Brenda as I have several times.  This time, I can remind her or tell her for the first time ever heard by her ears that she is a child of God[1], made in the image of God[2], loved and adored by God[3] and worthy of dignity, honor, respect and love by every man and every woman.

Conniving            Surviving              Tomato                Tomoto

[1] Galatians 3:26 New Living Translation (NLT)  For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.                      

[2] Genesis 1:27 New Living Translation (NLT)  So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

[3] John 3:16 New Living Translation (NLT)  “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Breaking Chains in Emerald City

Hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken served to homeless and addicted men and women while they sat at tables and chairs…  

You might think I’m describing a homeless shelter somewhere…  Well, in a way I am except this homeless shelter is not recognized as such by the City of Philadelphia because it is a community of 40 to 60 people under a railroad bridge on Emerald Street.   This community of rather transient people has been around so long that it has picked up the name “Emerald City” and it is here that something of a miracle happened yesterday. 


The humanly visible portion of this miracle started when Tammy Vaughn, the drummer for Dana Isles and Facedown, walked up to me at MusicFest two Saturdays ago.  We chatted for a bit and wandered over to where the rest of the band was sitting down and listening to the Catinas.  Tammy said that she had been reading these blogs.  I casually said to Dana that it would be cool if someday the band could present their music and message to the people under the bridge.  She said “Okay.”  A few of us looked at our calendars and eight days later, at least seven ministries were working together to bring God’s Love to hurting people under a bridge on a crystal clear day.

By the end of the day, people’s bellies were full with chicken, hot dogs, and hamburgers that had been prepared by Rick Alvares and friends from the House of Adonai and Never Give Up.  Most ate at tables and chairs instead of on the sidewalk at their mats.  Two barbers, one from Salvation of Sorrows, cut hair and a manicurist did nails.  Multiple tables of clothing and shoes and blankets were given to this community.  These good people heard a powerful spoken message from Rick Cartagena and an inspiring message and music by Dana Isles and Facedown.  At least two people from this community accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Two others firmed up their previous commitment.  Another moved out of Emerald City and into the House of Adonai.

God arranged for multiple people from different ministry backgrounds and giftedness to come together to meet the real and essential needs of the people who have moved into this community known as “Emerald City.”

Emerald City…

When we think of that name, an image from the Wizard of Oz might come to mind.  Ironically enough, one resident of Emerald City shared his opinion with me that “When Doctor Oz embarrassed Philadelphia by exposing the issue of “The Tracks” to the nation in one of his shows this spring, the city of Brotherly Love and Conrail cleaned up that area and our Emerald City’s population grew.”

I can tell you that Emerald City is at the corner of Emerald Street and Lehigh Avenue.  That’s true enough but that’s not the total description.  The news media gave the tracks regional (if not national) notoriety this summer as negotiations for their cleanup and cleanup itself happened.

The Tracks are in a deep gulch that runs through a residential area in Kensington.  To get to the tracks, people had to walk down a steep hill.  Emerald City is about two blocks east of the end of that gulch.   

The tracks that people walked down to in the gulch are the tracks that rattle the bridge above the heads of the residents of our Emerald City. 

Stop reading and digest the significance of that low setting. 

In this low setting men and women live as best as they can determine to do so as they find themselves trapped in addiction.  As they smoke and/or inject, Moms and Dads think of the children of whom they’ve lost custody.  Some of those Moms and too many parent’s daughters shed a tear as they dress for their afternoon or night of “dates.”  Most every resident harbors in their heart regret for the pain and embarrassment they have caused to their families. 

And it is into this location, under this bridge, in this tunnel, that The LORD of the Universe made His presence known yesterday in a real and tangible and audible way to love on this community in the Name of Christ and to tell them that the chain of addiction can be broken.[1]

[1] Every effort was made to NOT show the faces of the residents of the community as I created this video.  Dana Isles and Facedown are just outside the bridge and I was sitting in the middle of the closed road on the far end of the tunnel about a hundred yards away.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Broken Hug

Yesterday as I was listening to a woman's heart break about the tension in her relationship with her equally addicted boyfriend of several years, towards the end of our chatting, I asked her if I could give her a hug. She said yes and sunk her head into my chest and wrapped her arms around me as a broken daughter would hug her father and as if she were completely defeated. I realized in that moment that I had received this same hug from several different women in recent weeks who find themselves homeless and addicted. This is not a happy hug. It is a sad hug. It is a completely defeated hug. It is a hug that says of the giver, I have nothing left.  It is a broken hug.

This is where we have an opportunity as Christians to bring light and hope into a broken life.

Mary, Bob, Sue, Ralph, Louise and so many more Trapped In Addiction

The more I get to know the people under the bridge, the more I see themes emerging.  This blog is not so much about an event that happened as it is the theme of being trapped in addiction…

I sat on the sidewalk conversing with a couple on a clear Sunday morning before going To Urban Hope for church.  A man asleep a few feet away woke up and sat up quickly from his thin mat as he vomited out his mouth and nose.  The vomit ran down his face into his long beard.  With no water available for washing, the stench will stay until soap and water can be found.  Such is the situation when dope-sickness sets in. 

Why would anyone put themselves through this agony?  To the world beyond this bridge and beyond Kensington, it's easy to label people there as looser, lazy, trash, worthless, hooker or whore.  Spend some time with them and your heart will get nicked and it will bleed for people named Mary, Bob, Sue, Ralph, Louise and so many more.[1] 
Keeping with these names, Mary and Bob went to the local hospital with the sole purpose of checking into detox.  They met the needed criteria for admission in every way and yet there was a snag in the paperwork that the hospital staff didn't care to resolve.  They were told to leave seven hours after arrival and they remain on the streets three weeks later.  The tension of their life is destroying their relationship and they continue to inject heroin that could kill them while both WANT the help that they need.

Sue's approach to getting clean is to go to a methadone clinic.  The process of bringing her to a therapeutic level of methadone is so slow that she continues to use heroin that could kill her.

Ralph would go to detox in a minute but he knows that to do so will land him in jail for the warrant that is out for him for an extremely minor drug offense a year ago.  Legal issues take precedence in Pennsylvania over health issues.  This means that Ralph runs the risk of detoxing (a medical process) in a jail cell rather than in a hospital where he can be properly monitored for his medical situation.  The end result is that Ralph stays on the street and begs at street corners or breaks into houses and steals to support his addiction that could kill him.  Rather than being able to get the help he needs for his medical situation as the top priority, he runs the risk of being arrested for burglary or shot by a home owner for breaking and entering.

Louise is in a similar situation as is Ralph.  As a woman, she has an added option for raising funds for her addiction that could kill her, an addiction that she would gladly put behind her if the system currently in place would allow her to get into detox.  She can rent out her body and run the risk of getting or spreading a sexually transmitted disease, further deterioration of her self-esteem, and arrest for prostitution.  The latter, of course, will land her in a jail cell where she will detox without medical oversight.   

Much of what you have just read was recently explained to me by a man who takes great pride in the MSW (Master of Social Work) degree that he earned from a local major university and bears much shame for his heroin addiction that prevents him from using his degree to professionally counsel the people who reside with him under that bridge.

I have asked several friends who have served in the realm of addiction recovery to review these blogs for factual accuracy.  If they see some point that is not accurate, they will let me know so that I can make the needed correction.  Factual accuracy is irrelevant in light of perceived reality.  The perceived reality of Mary, Bob, Sue, Ralph, Louise and so many more is that the system in place to make detox and recovery possible is not what it needs to be to meet the factual reality of drug addiction in this 21st century. 

What is the answer to solving this?  That's beyond me right now.  There are other people who know the possibilities for that answer far more than do I.  My corner of this issues is to look at Mary, Bob, Sue, Ralph, Louise and so many more and tell them that I care about them because Jesus Loves them.

[1] While there probably are people with these exact names under this bridge and in similar places, this is a hypothetical list for the sake of the point I'm trying to make in this blog.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Does Your Daughter Know?

Dear Mom and Dad,

I met your daughter a couple weeks ago and had a nice conversation with her and two of her friends as we sat on the sidewalk under the bridge.  They were sitting on a blanket when I offered them each a bottle of water and some fruit.  We all talked for a while. 
I saw her last night around 9:00 pm.  She said she wasn’t feeling well and was upset because she couldn’t find a date.  I asked if I could give her a hug and she said yes.  As I hugged your daughter for you, I quietly told her that I prayed that one day soon she would no longer feel that she needs to find dates so she can feel better.  She looked up at me with a tiny tear in her eye and quietly nodded her head in agreement.

Unlike that afternoon when we first met when everyone was in jeans and tee shirts, your daughter last night was wearing tight dress pants, a revealing blouse, and suggestive bra, all her interpreted requirements for finding a date to feel better.  This must grieve you so much as it does me.  Her thinned face and chest is pimpled not with the acne of her aging adolescence but with the damage of her addiction.

Mom, Dad, your daughter loves you.  Your daughter needs you.  She doesn’t need that burned bridge that was created by all she has done that has hurt you so deeply.  She needs a toll bridge upon which to return to you while agreeing to certain reasonable and achievable requirements mutually determined. 

Deep in her heart, she knows how much she has hurt you.  She’s ashamed of her behavior and her outward appearance.  She needs to know you still love her regardless of the pain she has caused and how she looks.

She is still your daughter.  Her body may have lost considerable weight and her skin may be damaged.  Her personality may not be what you remember from better days but she is still your daughter.  She looks at herself in a mirror or in the reflection of my car's side window and compares it to a Facebook picture of not so long ago and she outwardly grieves and longs for the appearance of the woman who she used to be.  She is still your daughter and she is still she.

Luke 15:11-32, provides a wonderful template upon which to develop your plan for accepting your daughter home.  In this story, the father did not stop his son from leaving.  He did not burn a bridge.  He waited and looked to the horizon for the first sign of his son’s walk home.  It was his son’s decision to start walking home.  As soon as his father could get to him, he celebrated.  He did not dwell on the pain caused by his son.  He moved forward with a party to celebrate his son’s return.

Mom, Dad, does your daughter know that the bridge between you and her is a toll bridge and not a burnt bridge?  There in may lay the first step to your daughter’s healing journey home.




I have had a request for a Spanish Translation: Thank you Google Translator!  Please let me know if you see an inaccurate translation.

He tenido una solicitud de traducción al español: Gracias Traductor de Google! Por favor, hágamelo saber si ve una traducción incorrecta.

¿Sabe su hija?

Queridos papá y mamá,

Conocí a su hija un par hace semanas y tenía una conversación agradable con ella y dos de sus amigos mientras que nos sentamos en la acera debajo del puente. Estaban sentados en una manta cuando les ofrecí una botella de agua y fruta. Todos hablamos por un tiempo.
La vi anoche alrededor de las 9:00 pm. Ella dijo que no se sentía bien y estaba molesta porque no podía encontrar una cita. Le pregunté si podía darle un abrazo y ella dijo que sí. Mientras abrazaba a su hija por usted, le dije en voz baja que rezaba para que algún día ella ya no sintiera que necesitaba encontrar fechas para que pudiera sentirse mejor. Ella me miró con una pequeña lágrima en el ojo y silenciosamente asintió con la cabeza de acuerdo.

A diferencia de esa tarde cuando nos conocimos cuando todo el mundo estaba en pantalones vaqueros y camisetas, su hija anoche estaba usando pantalones ajustados, una blusa reveladora y su sugestivo sujetador, todos sus requerimientos interpretados para encontrar una cita para sentirse mejor. Esto debe doler tanto como a mí. Su rostro adelgazado y el pecho no está acentuado con el acné de su adolescencia envejecida, pero con el daño de su adicción.

Mamá, papá, tu hija te ama. Tu hija te necesita. Ella no necesita ese puente quemado que fue creado por todo lo que ha hecho que te ha lastimado tan profundamente. Ella necesita un puente de peaje sobre el que volver a usted, mientras que el acuerdo de ciertos requisitos razonables y alcanzables mutuamente determinado.

En el fondo de su corazón, sabe cuánto te ha lastimado. Ella se avergüenza de su comportamiento y de su aspecto exterior. Ella necesita saber que todavía la ama independientemente del dolor que ha causado y de cómo se ve.

Ella sigue siendo tu hija. Su cuerpo puede haber perdido peso considerable y su piel puede ser dañada. Su personalidad puede no ser lo que recuerdas de días mejores, pero ella sigue siendo tu hija. Ella se mira en un espejo o en el reflejo de la ventana lateral de mi coche y lo compara con una foto de Facebook de no hace mucho tiempo y ella externamente se aflige y anhela la apariencia de la mujer que solía ser. Ella sigue siendo su hija y ella sigue siendo ella.

Lucas 15: 11-32, proporciona una maravillosa plantilla sobre la cual desarrollar su plan para aceptar a su hija en casa. En esta historia, el padre no impidió que su hijo se fuera. No quemó un puente. Esperó y miró hacia el horizonte para el primer signo de la marcha de su hijo a casa. Fue la decisión de su hijo de empezar a caminar a casa. Tan pronto como su padre pudo llegar a él, celebró. No se detuvo en el dolor causado por su hijo. Él avanzó con una fiesta para celebrar el regreso de su hijo.

Mamá, papá, ¿su hija sabe que el puente entre tú y ella es un puente de peaje y no un puente quemado? Allí, puede sentar el primer paso para el viaje de curación de su hija a casa.



Thursday, September 7, 2017


For people who read these blogs and don’t know me in my day to day life, it’s not apparent that I’ve never had children of my own.  Well, I haven’t…  For whatever reason, that blessing has never fallen to me and never will in the natural sense of the privilege.

Having never been a parent, I’ve never had some questions and sentences pointed at me until I became involved in ministering to and befriending homeless and addicted men and women.  Take for example the question and sentence, “Did you bring fresh underwear I could have?  I messed mine a little bit.”  This is a reasonable sentence to hear coming from a young child to his or her Mom or Dad.  Such was not the case when the question was asked of me Tuesday night by a man somewhat older than myself.         

Homeless and addicted, this man sheepishly walked up to me and quietly asked: “Did you bring fresh underwear I could have?  I messed mine a little bit.”  Sadly, I had to tell him that I didn’t have any and even the wash water that I kept in reserve had been used up by a red hair dye incident a few hours before.[1]

I had seen this man only a couple of times prior to his question.  He was grateful for the opportunity to ask and not be condemned or judged for his situation.   As if wanting to explain his situation, he told me that he has been battling cancer for some time now and that it is starting to affect his bowel habits.  Imagine being addicted and then homeless because of your addiction and now battling cancer with little or no insurance to open medical intervention to you…

I don’t normally ask people anything about their story of how they got to this point in their lives but I did this time.  The words just flowed out of my mouth as if God knew I needed to know his answer.  God pulled them out without me knowing they were coming.

“When did this journey start for you?”  I wasn’t expecting such a quick and painful answer…

“I started down this road the night a stray bullet killed my three-year-old son.”

“Oh my…  I’m so sorry… When did that happen?”


Stop reading this blog and let that sink into your heart for a bit…

In 1985, a stray bullet found his son and killed his son instantly.  This man’s life has spiraled out of control ever since and brought him thirty-two years later to the underside of a bridge with forty to fifty other people on that night – this past Tuesday night.

As I have reflected on that conversation, I slipped into compare and contrast mode with similar stories of tragedy from years ago that I’ve heard at “Road to Recovery,” a Christian recovery group at Urban Hope.  I’ve heard testimonies of how this man or that woman started drinking as a child when this truly horrific incident happened.  Some of these men and women in this recovery group have had equally horrible things happen as did the man standing in front of me last night and yet they are healed.

What’s the difference between the men and women in that recovery group and this man under the bridge?  Well, that’s an answer too big for this short blog but that big answer can be summed up in five letters...


To be continued…

[1] (The hair was beautiful when she was done but the sidewalk looked like there had been a recent gang war!)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Five Dollar Bill

It’s time for some reader participation…  Before reading any further, open your wallet or purse and find a five dollar bill. 

Hold it.  Feel it.  Smell it.  If it has any age to it and if it could talk, here’s what it may tell you on behalf of the five dollar bill that experienced the following today under the bridge.

I was stolen today.  I was the last piece of paper money owned by a heroin and crack addicted women.  She was going to use me for bus fare to a clinic to help her with her addictions.  I can’t help her with that anymore.  In the next few minutes, I will be walked to a house near “The Tracks” area and used to purchase heroin which may kill the person carrying me.

The lady from whom I was stolen is now terrified.  I was her last money.  She has no one from whom she can borrow another five.  Her only choice tonight to earn another five, and maybe a little bit more, is to find a “date” and do as that date wants her to do for the next hour or so.  That’s if she’s lucky.  She’s especially frightened tonight because of the “date” that never seemed to end down by the river where she was stuck for hours with a ‘man’ who never spoke to her.

This story is real (well, except for the animated five dollar bill) and played out in front of me tonight as tears flooded down this woman’s face with sobs from deep inside her soul.  This is the side of addiction and prostitution that seldom gets seen. 

As a non-drug user, I don’t know the inside story of addiction and it’s way of kidnapping a human being’s regular manner of conducting life.  There’s a mystery there for those of us who have not been down Addiction Road.  This mystery plays itself out in the lives of thousands of people, right now, as I type this and as you read this.

In the case above, this woman apart from her current addiction is a deep philosophical thinker who proposes profound questions about her life and society.  She cares deeply about the people around her.  She loves her family.  She is kind and courteous and thoughtful and understanding.  She has her personal plan for recovery well thought out.

And yet, she is trapped…

The part of her trap that should be easily remedied is to identify the resources around her that are failing her in her hour of truly wanting recovery.  She arrived mid day at a clinic to begin recovery only to be told that she needed to be there fifteen minutes earlier and now must wait three days to try again.

But it’s more than that and here’s the mystery for those of us who sit on the sidelines of addiction and wonder why people don’t just stop…

In just the short time that I’ve been involved at this depth with homeless addicted people, they’ve tried to explain the agony of withdraw that varies a bit from person to person but typically involves starting with something that resembles mild allergy at first which quickly turns to severe cold to severe flu to vomiting to legs and arms twitching uncontrollably to your skin wanting to jump off your body to unwittingly crapping your pants to fever all mixed together in a 24 hour a day, non-stop multi-day nightmare. 

Is it any wonder that addicted people do whatever they can to get their medicine?  Some will steal from family and friends to retrieve the money needed.  Others will steal five dollar bills from other addicts under a bridge.  Other’s will subject themselves to renting out their bodies to some guy who doesn’t understand the agony he’s causing in his landlord’s soul.

The next time you wonder why that addict doesn’t just stop, pull out your five dollar bill and ask it where it’s been recently.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

But Wait... Don't Wait...

Dear LORD, I repent of my sins. 
I accept you as my LORD and Savior.  
Lead me. Guide me into your Way. 
In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

These words, or at least words very similar, were wholeheartedly prayed under the bridge two weeks ago by Bob and Sue as Pastorish George guided them following a discussion of accepting Christ as their LORD and Savior.[1]

Within minutes, Pastorish George drove Bob and Sue to Episcopal Hospital to enter detox and to take the first steps toward a clean and drug-free life.  They arrived at Episcopal Hospital around 1:00 pm.  Around 7:00 pm, Bob called Pastorish George to say that Episcopal Hospital was telling them to leave due to a snag in the paperwork.  This snag could have been easily corrected by Episcopal Hospital and wasn’t.  The end result was that Bob and Sue, after days of trying to fix the issue themselves have given up trying to get into detox and are still on the streets, under the bridge, using their drugs and, given the deadly nature of what’s on the streets these days, are playing Russian Roulette with their lives as they do so.

But wait…

During these two weeks, The City of Brotherly Love has come along two times and evicted Bob and Sue and everyone[2] else from under the bridge.[3]  If Bob and Sue move back to the bridge, and The City of Brotherly Love comes along again, and they will, they run the risk of being taken to jail with a legal charge of some kind that goes beyond my understanding.[4]


One week ago, on a Friday, I took Ralph to the treatment center of his choosing.  For reasons that go beyond this blog, this particular center in The City of Brotherly Love was the best for his situation.  We arrived at 1:30 pm, well within their office hours of 8 to 5.  We were told that the new intakes, that is, new patients, can only be seen and entered into the system up to 1:15 pm each day – 15 minutes before our arrival.  This being a Friday, Ralph had no choice but to continue to buy his medicine off of the street for at least the next couple of days and play Russian roulette with his life.

This is an example of three people among countless other people who would love help with ending their addictions… who would love to get and be clean and can’t get clean when they are ready to get clean because the system for getting them clean can only work at its own overwhelmed pace and no faster.

But wait…

What if Ralph was a woman alone on the streets?  Not all but many women raise funds for their addictions by renting their bodies for an hour or so to ‘men’ who don’t give a rip about them as being the children of God who, in fact, they are.  If Ralph was actually “Rachel,” she would continue to run the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and incarceration for prostitution over this weekend of not being given the treatment that she sought when she was ready to seek it.

Looking just at these three people: Three sets of parents, countless siblings and numerous offspring and aunts and uncles and childhood friends, etc… run the risk of losing their loved one simply because the system currently in place cannot accommodate the need when the owner of the need is ready and willing to have their need met.


City of Brotherly Love, You can do better than this!

But Wait…

Churches of Philadelphia:

You can do better than this! 
  • Philadelphia is The City of Brotherly Love. You are the Body of Love Itself! 
  • You are Philos: Brotherly Love! 
  • You are Agape: Unconditional Love! 
  • You represent the Love of the Savior! 
  • You represent the Compassion of The Christ!

Don’t Wait…

[1] As a reminder, names in my blogs are almost always changed.  “Pastorish” is a term I’m using here to describe a person who is acting in a pastoral way but is not a licensed pastor.  I need to give credit where credit is due.  That term comes to me courtesy of Kelly (which may or may not be her real name) who keeps a list of people who visit the bridge and documented my name as “Pastorish Chris.”
[2] I’ve estimated as many as 50 people living there at one time.
[3] As of this writing, the city evicted everyone, yesterday, 9/1/17, after a 30-minute warning. During the eviction, one woman overdosed and was saved with Narcan by compassionate bystanders.
[4] not necessarily drug related

Friday, September 1, 2017

You Will Harvest What You Plant.

Following a very good discussion on Galatians 6:7-9 at Urban Hope's "Road to Recovery" meeting, I returned to my community of friends under the bridge.  After distributing a few bottles of water and plugging in two resident's cell phones for charging in my car, I sat down with three who I knew would be open to my sharing a thought or two about this passage.  One, in particular, was very interested.

She read this passage out loud off of my BibleGateway App on my phone and wholeheartedly agreed with the concept and the lesson of the passage.  And then she shared this real life example of how she plants decay and death in her own life:

"Sometimes, when I go on a date, I cry because I don't want to be doing what I'm doing.  The guy sometimes asks me what's wrong and I just say that there's something in my eye that's making me tear up.  In reality, though, I hate doing what I'm doing."

Having had many conversations with this same person, I know that she is also planting the seeds that will eventually produce a harvest of everlasting life from the Spirit provided, of course, that she is able to find the fertile soil as described in the Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed in Matthew 13.

It is moments such as this that keep me going to visit this community of people.  As I sat there last night on the sidewalk on this thing pretending to be a mattress, a musty dampness was settling in.  Motor cycles roar and cars with stereos blaring, sail past at breakneck speed while a train travels above us and crickets chirp in a nearby patch of grass.  And people share their lives with me.  One, a school dropout... Another with a master's degree... Still another, a surgeon want-to-be... All there because drugs are an ingredient in their life's journey.

Sitting down with these people is an incredible experience.  I do need your help by praying for these people.  I also need funds to continue to provide iced water and fruit on a regular basis, basic medical supplies and so much more.  If you would like to help me with this otherwise self-funded ministry, please visit my GoFundMe page.

If you live within range, you can help me with funding by allowing me to serve you through my service business.  Please let me know.

Thank you.
Chris Battin