Anawim Christian Community

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Portland, OR 97227
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  1. Jesus the Master Ninja and the Secret of the Universe

    Jesus Ninja

    When the Son of Man comes, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne and divide the gentiles before him, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He shall say to those on his right, “Blessed are you, chosen of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you!  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.  I was naked and you clothed me.  I was a stranger and you invited me into your home.  I was sick and you came to me.  I was in prison and you visited me.  Enter into my rest.”  And they shall reply, “Lord, when were you hungry and thirsty and we gave something to you?  When were you naked and we clothed you?  When were you a stranger and we welcomed you?  When were you sick or in prison and we visited you?”  The King will say, “In as much as you did it to one of these, my brothers, so you did it to me.”

    This is a pretty familiar passage.  And we are pretty sure we know what to do with it—give food and clothes and shelter and healing to people.  To visit people in prison.  The church has been doing these things for centuries, millennia, so we don’t need to learn these lessons, right?

    Well, if that’s all we get out if the passage, we still have something to learn.  We need to learn that Jesus is a ninja master.

    1. Jesus is among us, now.

    No, don’t bother looking around the auditorium.  You wouldn’t recognize him.  But he is here, possibly right next to us.  Not just in spirit, either.  He is a person whom you recognize, a person you have met.  It’s just that he doesn’t have the classic Jesus look.  He might be an old man, a little girl, a smelly street person, a beautiful woman, a black pastor, a Hispanic immigrant, a single mom.  All we know is that Jesus is in need.  That’s the only clue we have.   And he is looking at our response to him.

    1. Jesus is in disguise

    Jesus is not going to be who we think.  We may look at him and think he’s a drug addict, a lazy bum, a person who takes advantage of the system.  We may think he is a false teacher, a liar, an alcoholic, a party animal, a sexual deviant—because that’s what some people thought he was the first time he came, so that’s still what some people think.  Some will listen to the rumors and think he is a thief, a secret wealthy person, a con man, or the face of Satan himself.  All these rumors and speculations are part of his disguise to make you think that you need to keep your distance from him.  The fact is, he is helpless.  He makes himself helpless.  For your sake.


    1. Jesus is the master trainer

    Jesus lives in disguise among us in order to train us to be people of mercy.  The weapons of our battle is free food, clothing and water.  Free rooms to host those who can’t pay.  Our time given to those in the most desperate circumstances.   And these weapons must be given to the most unlikely people—desperate drug dealers, prostituting paupers,  illegal immigrants,  travelling preachers with no shoes and a bad speaking voice,  woodsmen.   People who can’t budget, whose money runs through their fingers like water, who couldn’t make ends meet even if they had twenty feet to spare, people whom even Oprah would have a hard time liking.  Why are we helping these people?  Because they might be Jesus.  Just maybe.  Probably not, but you never know.   Because Jesus has shown up in more surprising places than these, and we can’t be too careful.  In this way, because of his disguise and his demand to help him in whatever disguise he’s in, we learn to live generously to whomever comes in need.  We learn to be merciful to the undeserving, to be less judgmental, to be open-hearted people.

    1. Jesus is a master plotter.

    The odd thing, is that Jesus isn’t doing all this for the sake of the needy, although that doesn’t hurt.  He isn’t training us for our own sake, even, although he loves us and wants to see us be the best we can be.  In the end, Jesus is doing this for his kingdom.  The stunning point of Jesus’ mission is not that he is creating a whole nation of open hearted, generous people.   He separates people based on their ability to be generous to those unlikely to deserve it.  Open your mind, for a bit, and consider the imagination of Jesus.

    He has in mind a huge nation full only of the most giving, merciful, compassionate and thoughtful people.  A whole nation full of people ready to give their own plate of food at the first sign of a person in hunger.  A kingdom where every individual is open to give a space in their house, if they have it.  Can you imagine what a population like that would be?

    • A nation without hunger, because everyone is ready to help the hungry, without selfishness.
    • A nation without nakedness, because everyone is willing to give or to make what other’s need.
    • A nation without homelessness because every home is open and the owners welcoming to anyone in need.
    • A nation without sickness, because all are willing to set their own time and knowledge and power to those who are sick.
    • A nation without prisons, because the selfish are banished and the needy have all their needs met—even people to spend time with them.
    1. It is easy to mistake Jesus’ purpose


    Jesus’ ultimate purpose is to establish a kingdom of generosity and mercy and love.  We can so easily lose the game, because we never understood the ultimate goal of the game.

    Suppose that Monopoly had a special rule, that anyone who went broke during the game would instantly receive all the money from the current winner.  Those who played Monopoly normally would end up losing the game, because they would think the purpose was to get more money, when really they’d progress better if they had less money.

    That’s how most people play Christianity—a game only roughly based on Jesus, but with a different purpose in mind.  Some people play the game Christianity as if those who believe the right things win.  Some people play the game as if those who go to the right church win.  Some people play as if they can obey the right laws, then they win.  Some actually play as if they could be successful in this life, they will win the game.  Others as if they have enough faith, they will win.

    But Jesus… and the rest of the Bible, interestingly enough… say that God judges only on deeds, not on religious ritual or even faith. And the kind of deeds he judges on aren’t this or that law, but actions of mercy and generosity, especially to those in need.  The final rule of the game of Jesus is those who display the quality of mercy, compassion and generosity to the needy are those who win.  No one else does.

    • So anyone who is generous only to those who are not in need, they didn’t give to Jesus, so they lose.
    • Those who judge those in need, for whatever reason, they judged Jesus, so they lose.
    • Those who ignore the needy because they have better things to do, they ignored Jesus, so they lose.
    • Those who spend days studying the scriptures, teaching them, but fails to help the poor, they failed Jesus, so they lose.
    • Those who praise God day in and day out, but can’t find time for the needy, they didn’t have time for Jesus so they lose.
    • Those who give everything to a church who somehow fails to give to the poor, they failed to give to Jesus, so they lose.
    • Those who have suffered all their lives and kept everything they had to themselves so they could survive, they kept everything from Jesus so they lose.
    • Those who used their smarts and energy to build up a kingdom for themselves and those who were smart and strong enough to work with him, and never needed anything—they lose.

    The only ones who win are the generous.

    No matter what religion, if they used their religion to learn to be more giving to those in need, they win.

    No matter what theology, if they use their theology to be more generous to the poor, they win.

    No matter whether rich or poor, if they surrendered all they had to those who had less than they, they win.

    Be a winner.  Use what you have been given to help those in need.

  2. The Fullness Thereof

    Or ElseIn the Celtic Christian Theology we believe we have a responsibility to the whole of creation not just humankind. Kind of, “The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof*. So having said that let me share a really cool event that happen today as I was driving home from Church.

    So, I was driving down NE Glisan and was just crossing over the 205 freeway, when this group of ravens who were feasting on some road kill launched into the air. At the same time a Trimet Bus was heading west bound and one of the ravens, who was late in his launch, bounced off the Bus’s windshield and fell directly into the path of my truck. Well, I hit the brakes and the emergency flashers and put the truck into park.

    I jumped out, scooped up the raven who was unconscious, plopped him into the passenger seat while the car behind me was expressing their hot displeasure by leaning on their horn. Once I was in the truck, I turned off the flashers popped into drive and took off. I took the first street which happen to have a Baptist Church on the corner and a parking lot behind it. There were about a half dozen high school and junior high aged kids there and so I parked away from them got out went around to the passenger side and picked up the raven and placed him on the hood so I could look him over.

    So I am checking out the unconscious bird and there is the flutter of wings and soon I have a half dozen ravens on the hood and roof of my truck, watching me examine their comrade. Before I was done there were about 20 birds in all some circling some on the ground near my feet. They are all quiet, except for some clicking and twrilling sounds from their throats. Well the patient did not appear to have any broken bones and was just knocked out. I spent about 5 minutes stroking his head and finally his eyes rolled and he fluttered and tried to stand and a couple of ravens stepped forward to steady him. About a minute later he tried out his wings and then launched along with the rest of the flock. Away they all flew up to the rooftop of the VA medical clinic.

    Now while all this was going on there was the audience from the Baptist Church. A man came over to see if I was alright and when I tried to explain and brought out the part about Celtic theology the look on his face as he was backing away was that I was definitely some kind of Pagan.

    None-the-less it was a very cool experience. One of the ravens were so close I could feel his/or her feathers touching my beard. There was no feeling of malice, just concern.

  3. 6 Reasons Why Every Cause Should Talk about Homelessness

    homeless2(All light text is a link to articles that prove the sentence)

    I have a number of friends who are activists for various causes.  And I love the causes.  We are in a water crisis when corporations sell water back to those in droughtBlack men are being attacked by U.S. society.  Indigenous peoples have always been oppressed and attacked.  We live in an age of information and openness, and the realities of racism and sexism in our society are finally being revealed and we are speaking out and taking action.

    My plea today, however, that no matter how serious and important your key issues are, you should also be talking about homelessness, and standing with the homeless community.  Again, I’m not saying your issue isn’t essential.  It’s just that the homeless are the focus of abuse of today’s American society.

    I’m going to keep this short, so let me just give you a few statistics.

    1. The homeless are seen as worse than any other social group

    Sociologists have studied the reaction of different social groups to American minds, using an MRI.  They have determined that we have a “disgust” response in our brain to certain social groups, including welfare moms, undocumented immigrants and Arabs.  But the social group with the strongest and most pervasive negative automatic response is the homeless.   Dr. Susan Fiske says that the homeless are considered “inhuman garbage piles”.

    The homeless are constantly feared, distrusted and the cause of anger of the far majority of housed people. Cities criminalize the very existence of the homeless, disallowing them to sleep, receive food or finances, and they arrest them for having bedding.  This is due to the overwhelming response of the housed who, without cause, blame the homeless for the ills of their society.

    1. The homeless are life-threatened than any other group

    The average life span of an American is almost 79 years old.  The average lifespan of a homeless American is 48 years old, 36 percent lower than other citizens.  This is a result of stress and trauma, more than anything else.  90 percent of all homeless men suffer from PTSD or other stress disorder.  100 percent of all homeless women suffer from PTSD.

    Although most people consider this the fault of the homeless, it is not.  Most of the homeless find themselves on the street through no fault of their own, due to job loss or no cause eviction.  They are thrust into an impossible economic predicament and then treated like criminals, and due to the stress and poor health conditions, they die young.

    1. The homeless are severely attacked

    About 64 percent of all women are assaulted in their lifetimeAbout 92 percent of all homeless women are assaulted. All kinds of homeless suffer attacks, and the number of attacks have risen 23 percent in the last few years.

    Although the actual numbers seem small, this is because very few attacks on the homeless are reported, because there is such a distrust between the homeless and the police.  If they report a crime, they believe that they will be accused of something.


    1. The homeless can’t hide

    The majority of citizens can feel a certain amount of security from the oppression of society if they go into their home and lock the door.  The homeless don’t have that luxury.  Even those who live in cars or tents are just as vulnerable their shelter as they are outside of it.  They are sometimes dragged out of their shelter, only to have it taken from them, because their shelter is not seen to be their possession or to be under the protection of the fifth amendment.

    1. Truth brings freedom

    We can change this, if we all work on it together.  The primary source of the suffering of the homeless is the false idea that all the homeless are criminals or immoral.  There are two ways that effectively change this point of view.  The first is spending time working on a project with the homeless, for then the homeless are seen as equals.  The other is if a loud minority continue to speak of the humanity of the homeless.  Not just their pitiable state (like I did here), but about their common humanity with us, the shared citizenship, the joy of life, their hope for the future.

    1. Every Tragedy is Made Worse by Homelessness
      Black men live in oppression.  That oppression is made worse by homelessness.  Women’s rights should be upheld– but women on the streets have no rights even to survive.  LGBT rights are worse when they have no home to protect them.  Sex slaves are more frequently raped and suffer when they have no safe home to go to. Poor children find it more difficult to make it to school when they are homeless.   For every cause, homelessness is the worse tragedy behind every cause.

    Please, alongside your important issues, please speak about the homeless.  You can help give them the humanity they lack.

  4. Fight in the Spirit

    I am in the parking lot of Albertsons and I park and get out of the car and turn to see a young man grab a young woman by her hair and cock back with the other hand clenched in a fist.

    “STOP!” I shout and he stops. “Let her go,” I said.

    “If I let her go and she runs I am going to come over there and kick your *ss.”

    “Fine,” I said, “now let her go.”  He does and she gets in to a car and locks all the doors.

    The young man comes over with fist clenched and spewing angry colorful metaphors at me. He is in my face. He was drunk. He was near tears.

    I just stood there hands at my side and then this voice came out of my mouth, “Can I pray for you?”

    Without waiting for and answer I laid my hand on his shoulder and began,”Our Father who is in Heaven….”  

    By the time I finished the tears were flowing and he walked over to the car and asked for forgiveness and handed her the keys and walked away.

  5. Holy Brokenness

    Grace to the lowlyThere are some common words that are used for the work of the Spirit—salvation, deliverance, grace, mercy, forgiveness.  They all have a common basis, that the one receiving the work of the Spirit has a desperate need.  They are in crisis, they are imprisoned, they are beyond their own help, they are desperate, they are separated from their good.

    In our society we are trained to tell people that we are “fine”.  No matter what is going on in our hearts, or relationships, no matter how self-destructive our souls are, no matter what oppression we live with, we are to put on a good face, to display strength.

    The Spirit requires three things if we are to receive His work.  One is complete honesty.  The Spirit wants us to be open about our weaknesses, about our failings, about our hurts.  We cannot attempt to hide our true selves from the Divine, because he already knows who we are, to our deepest core, better than we know ourselves.

    The Spirit also requires that we take our very selves, our core, and recognize our weakness, our brokenness. We need to look our inadequacies in the face, and admit—if only to ourselves and the Spirit—our brokenness. We are the child who accidentally broke the precious item of the parent.  The child has the choice to hide the broken item, or to admit and bring it to the parent.  It is the admission that leads to the deepening of the relationship.

    Finally, the Spirit requires that we come to him with our broken selves and ask for repair.  Just as the child might request, “Can you fix it?” so we come to the Divine and ask for our renewal.  Both the parent and the Spirit looks down on the child and says, “Of course.”  And that is the grace of the Spirit.  He repairs within us what we cannot fix ourselves.

  6. What Can You Get for $3?

    SplashA meal, a hot drink……..

    I am standing in line at McDonald’s. There is a young guy counting out dimes nickles and pennies for one of those dollar burgers and he is 12 cents short. For the lack of 12 cents he was going to go hungry. Plop, a dollar bill covers the pile of change and a have a cup of coffee to wash it down. A grin from the young man.

    I place my order and along side me a guy and his girl friend are trying to scrape together change for a large cup of coffee they 30 cents short. Plop and the words no tricks my treat another dollar magically appears in their hands.

    Ever tried to eat while sitting across from a street kid counting change to see if he has enough to buy something?  It is really hard to swallow.

    The kid leans back and the look in his eyes tells you he is way short…..How much ya got I asked. 82 cents he sighs, Plop a couple of bucks magically appear along with a a quarter and voila! the sound of smacking lips and a sigh.

    Now I know that some one is going to say “Hey that was $4.25 not $3!” but ya know our Father in heaven has a policy of pressed down and over flowing when it comes to passing out blessings and, well, its contagious….

  7. Dealing with Chronic Stress

    CloudyI’ve got some severe chronic stress in my life, and it will take a long time to recover from it.  It’s good that I know about it, and good that I’m working on bringing balance in my life.  Even with the balance, however, it will still take a long time, perhaps years, to recover from the years of emotional and physical pummeling I allowed my mind and body to suffer.

    Studies have shown that every single person who has suffered chronic poverty or homelessness also suffer from some kind of chronic stress condition.  This shouldn’t be surprising, but it isn’t something that we often think about either.  Ninety percent of homeless men suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a hundred percent of homeless women.  A person who suffered from homeless for more than a year is a prime candidate for adrenal fatigue.   The chronically poor person will often suffer from a cognitive disorder related to stress, causing one’s attention to only focus on the short term.

    Symptoms of chronic stress disorders might include:

    • Insomnia
    • Anxiety or depression
    • Increased feeling of pain
    • Lack of energy
    • Increased need for protein and fats
    • Decreasing ability to handle stress
    • Morning fatigue—inability to feel alert for hours after waking
    • Body pains, usually as a result of tensing parts of the body, such as the jaw.
    • Overreaction to petty annoyances
    • Frequent sighing
    • Weight gain or loss without a change in diet
    • Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol
    • Trouble learning new information

    Many of the poor and homeless experience these symptoms, causing increased mental health issues and more severe physical crises. Also, the longer one suffers chronic stress from being poor or homeless, the less likely one will have the cognitive ability to escape such states.

    Our society somehow expects the poor and homeless to leave poverty by increasing the stress load they already experience.  If a person has a cognitive breakdown, unable to function in a modern work environment due to accumulated stress, then they are called “lazy” instead of what they really are: mentally broken by severe stress.

    If you are poor or homeless and recognize that you are suffering from this level of extreme stress, there are some things you can do.  We need to recognize this: any change in our lives has a cost.  Any new discipline takes time or energy or both and if we are going to see improvements in our lives, we will have to sacrifice something we consider essential in our lives so we can make an overall change.  I know for me, I realized that I couldn’t keep expressing fury at small slights, because I was breaking down trust.

    The other thing that made me realize that I had to deal with stress is because the stress I was experiencing was bleeding out to my wife, children and others I lived with.  Everyone had to deal with my stress, not just me.   If I was going to bring health to everyone (or anyone) I knew, I had to get to a place where I could control myself.

    Here are some things that we can do to deal with our stress, bit by bit.  There are no quick answers here.  If we have dealt with (are dealing with) severe stress for years, it will take years to overcome those symptoms completely even after we get out of poverty.  This sounds overwhelming, but it’s not.  It just takes time.

    Leap over Long Windows

    1. Eat differently

    In our moments of deep stress (which might happen parts of every day), our body wants to eat a lot of calories, usually filled with protein and sugars and fat.  It’s okay to treat ourselves with that every once in a while, but we need to keep it as a treat, not as a regular part of our diet.  There are three ways we can eat differently that will decrease our stress:

    -Eat fewer calories

    -Eat frequently and regularly

    -Eat more fresh vegetables, less meat and fats

    I know that eating more veggies seems tough because fresh veggies are expensive.  One thing I’ve found is helpful is that carrots are pretty cheap, tasty and they are filling.  Some folks don’t have the teeth for carrots, so I’d recommend spinach, which is full of great nutrition and not expensive if you buy it in a bundle.  If you don’t like spinach plain, throw it in casseroles or sandwiches. Just look at your grocery store and see what sales you can find.

    Again, I know this transition is tough.  It’s hard for me, especially the reduced calories when my body is demanding food to have more energy to deal with the stress.  But you will get used to it eventually.

    1. Increase activity

    This is usually known as “exercising”.  The problem with exercising is that we have to create a time and place to do it, and we might not be able to.  But we should just generally be finding ways to increase our activity.  If you have a car, instead of taking it everywhere, walk.  Or just walk around the block a few times.  I found that if I do a few sit-ups or push-ups in the morning right after I wake up that I’m generally more alert.

    But what killed me early on in trying to exercise is doing too much.  When we lead a stressful life, what might be considered a beginner’s pace of exercise will exhaust us, and then we don’t have the energy to do what we need to the rest of the day.  Take it slow, ease into it.  Gentle, slow exercise is great to start with, and then increase it as you feel you are able.  Just don’t quit.

    1. Get in the zone

    In my family, full of creative people, we have what we call “the zone”.  It’s a mind-space, a kind of self-hypnotism, where we can do creative work or deep thinking.  My one daughter writes novels, another daughter draws, my son paces and listens to music, I write essays, and my wife reads.  When we do this activity, our primary mind shuts down and we become really focused on our task.  I can get in the zone watching movies, or through prayer, others do this through meditation or listening to music.  The important thing is that you aren’t allowing your mind to “shut off” or to be passive.  Rather, we are focusing our energy on one activity.  This can replenish our whole mind to accomplish all kinds of tasks that we otherwise would be unable to do.

    1. Laugh

    Depression is a real thing, and it results in sapping the energy from our lives, so we feel we can’t do anything.  And enjoying ourselves really helps us build our energy again, if only for a while.  Find someone you really enjoy being with and spend time with them.  Watch a movie you really enjoy or read an entertaining book.  Read stupid puns and jokes until you laugh out loud.  Once you start, you’ll find there’s a lot of things around you that are funny, even tragic circumstances in your life.  You’ll feel better and have more building blocks to deal with things in your life.  Try not to use alcohol or some other substance to instill joy in your life, though.  Because while it will temporarily fill this need, the overall cost is greater than what it gives you, throwing you into a deeper depression.

    1. Get time off of the internet

    Most of us have the internet now, and it is great.  We are able to communicate with people we never had before and we have so many more jokes to laugh at.  However, spending time on social media also sucks energy out of our lives.  I know that I would spend time on Facebook in order to feel like I’m connecting with others while I was also keeping at arm’s length from them.  It provided me with a false rest.  Recognize that interacting on the internet is work, although a low-level work.  So let’s take a break from it.  Instead of the internet, read a book, talk to a friend, take a nap.  Then get back on.  Because you need to…


    1. Get support

    Honestly, the best place to find support for your chronic stress issues is the internet.  In general, most people don’t understand.  But there are plenty of people who do.  There is a support group called “”.  Find a place you feel comfortable with and an online group that you can vent to, and they’ll help you and you can help them.  If you can find a doctor or therapist (covered by Obamacare!) or pastor who can help you out, that’s great, too.  But don’t try to overcome stress yourself.  It’s too stressful.

    1. Be grateful

    One of the greatest things to give you happiness is to regularly express your thanks for the people and things and situations that make your life better.  It isn’t enough just to think about it for a moment.  You need to speak how much you appreciate them.  The best thing is to find a person who has really helped you and express your gratitude to them.  In a letter or in person, but just do it.  After that, think of another person and do the same thing.  You won’t believe how much better you feel.

    1. Help others

    One of the best ways to get out of our own stress is to help others with their stresses.  It is a key building block to happiness, and it exercises parts of our brain like compassion and hope that we might not otherwise be able to utilize.  It may be we can cook something for a friend, or seek to volunteer at a place that has helped us out.  But we will find our stresses reduce when we think about how to improve other’s lives.

    One last thing I want to mention.  Any organizations out there that help the poor or the homeless, hear me out.  Part of our main task should be to reduce the stress of our guests.  If we give them too many hoops to jump through, especially when they are unnecessary, we aren’t helping them, but piling on stresses that make their lives more difficult.  Let’s provide entertainment for them.  Let’s see if we can give them breaks.  Let’s help them with better food and opportunities to volunteer.  But most of all, let’s be gentle and hopeful.



    The American Society on Stress–

    Natural News–

    Psychology Today–

  8. Gathering Storm

    IMG_20150902_183506My wife and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We have been in ministry in one form or another together for almost as long. And according to one of my journals we have been serving with Anawim a full 8 years.

    It has been a great run, but I am sensing a change in the wind.

    Ya know how when a storm is drawing near, the air grows thick and sticky? There is a tension, and uneasiness. Then there is the breeze that carries the scent. Then the breeze increases in intensity and the clouds form on the horizon and the first ones are horsetails light and wispy, then the next are a bit poofy and the next are transitioning from white cotton balls to a grey that just keeps growing darker and air chills and then the first mist forms followed by small clusters of drips followed by the down pour.

    We are in the air growing thick part.

    Please pray with us.

  9. A Shiny-Bright Future (edges still fuzzy)

    light from belowThe last two months at Anawim have been huge.  I’m going to try to summarize what’s going on.

    For years the Anawim board has been concerned what would happen if Steve (me) would no longer be capable of leading the ministry.  Everything depended on me, connections, finances, supply lines, peacemaking, etc.   So we discussed what would happen if I had a stroke?  Not a very comfortable conversation, but also no real answers emerged.  For the last two years we took some steps to depend less on one person, and more on others, but nothing seemed to stick.

    Three months ago, in August, it was clear that I was unable to continue.  Something inside me had broken and I was unable to function.  (If you want to learn more about this process of brokenness and what happened during these months, you can read my journal here: )

    On August 11, I had reached a turning point: I could no longer lead Anawim.  My path had led to a place where I could no longer continue.  Having no direction from anyone, I determined this:  I had a group of the homeless and formerly homeless who I was training at that time.  I would give them an opportunity to take on leadership in Anawim.  If they worked out, then we could talk about continuing.

    I took the month of September off of everything.  I rested, developed some disciplines to improve my physical, mental and spiritual health.  I left Anawim in the hands of those trained, not only seeing if they could do the work without me, but also see if they could deal with the inevitable crises without me.   If I found that I couldn’t do any of the work anymore, or if the new workers couldn’t bear the burden, then Anawim would end.


    Bright holidayAt one point in my month off, I whined to the Lord.  It’s good to do that, once in a while, just to see what He replies.  I was whining about the difficulty of the work, with so few people to help, to donate, and so many people to tell you that you’re doing it wrong or caring for the wrong people.  The Lord replied, “Just stand back and see what happens.”

    As a leader, I forget that part of the process of leading is letting go.  If we want to teach our kid how to walk, we guide them by the hand, but we have to let them walk on their own.  Yes, they will fall.  And fail.  Maybe they will hurt themselves.  But until you aren’t there anymore, they don’t learn to go on their own.

    I don’t feel that Anawim was ready for this time of homeless leadership until this year.  A core group of leaders just weren’t there (I could be wrong, but that’s how it seemed to me). It was always my ideal to let the everyday work be done by those receiving the most.  And to give the poor the true reigns of the work, to let them make the decisions.

    And now, only because of my own weakness as a human being, my limited capacity displaying itself at the right time, we have it.  We are a self-sustaining unit (except financially… but in time, we will.)  The work is continuing and no one else has to burn the candle at both ends.

    All the neighbors that were complaining and afraid of our homeless folks have now good things to say about our work.

    The city wants to work with us, as does our larger church organization.

    I no longer fear for the future of Anawim.  The Lord is as good as his promise.  If someone had told me, “You know in two months this and this would happen,” I would have laughed at them.

    That’s the way God’s work is.  The laughable comes true right when you least expect it.

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