I kid you not. At one point, all four Vietnamese voices together began to sing,
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So . . . I did a thing. I got a tattoo. On my face.
“Went and knocked up some other woman. Got hisself some other kids. But we was his first childs. He just left. How do you do that?!”
It’s a very public space, and most everybody knows if you leave something, it’s kind of at your own risk. So the barista reminded her of that, to which she turned and said to everyone in the room, “This is my food. I’m coming back for it. Nobody eat it. K?”
Tears welled up in his tough-man eyes, and he said, “They beat my other cat to death. I couldn’t let this one die.”
But sometimes the mountain of failure and shame is just too big, too hard to climb, and the path is impossible to trek alone.
There he was, lying unconscious in a pool of his own blood. I pushed my way through the gathered crowd, caught the eye of one of the cops, and announced, “I know this guy. I have all his information.”
One even felt like an inquisition, in which my answers were to be discussed amongst a group of “elders” who would make a determination to uninvite me from a previously scheduled event.
I didn’t know Melvin when he committed his original crime. I do know that he was twenty-two when he was convicted. How many of us did stupid stuff when we were young adults?
He was filthy. Dirt and grime in every orifice. Hair matted in unintended dreadlocks. His clothing reeked of bodily fluids. Immediately it became clear that he has not been taking his medication.
the next piece of information that got back to me on the community grapevine was: THEY ALL TOOK TURNS SLEEPING WITH HER THAT NIGHT!!!
I turned to little Jewel (who is nine) and told her she had to stay in the car. Her eyes were wide and full of tears.
While I hear Churchians talking about how “the poor are poor because they make poor choices,” I daily watch single mothers working at the drudgery of minimum wage jobs that just cannot pay the bills, and daily facing the temptation to dance (and more) in the strip clubs on our street
One of the more frustrating elements of ministry at Joe’s is the complexity of the roots of problems. More than your average congregants who have their family background and personal emotional woundings for baggage, we daily encounter these plus the worldview and value system that is inherent to generational poverty. Add to these the ingredients of drug addiction and mental illness, and otherwise simple needs become recipes for extreme frustration to a minister. We struggle to know whether to hope for improvement or simply to recognize one another as family and love each other IN the condition some are.
“This is the original revolution: the creation of a distinct community with its own deviant set of values.” John Howard Yodel
Joey’s stared at me, his eyes widening and filling with tears. He said, “I am in darkness. I’ve been in darkness my whole life. That can’t be what God is saying.”
Local politicians prevent any legal action from being taken against the forced prostitution rings because they owe their position and influence to the wealthy business interests behind the brothels.
“I’ve been living 50 years of my life entirely for myself. That’s a long time. I know how to do that. I am starting to live a different way now, not for myself, but for others. It’s new to me. It’s a way that I want to go. I think I’m going a new way. But I don’t want to start calling myself something, until I’m really sure that I am actually able to go this new direction.”
Finally, I’m seeing and experiencing the love of Jesus the Bridegroom. Until recently, this was the side of Him that I most adamantly denied.
I cannot remember having ever read a book that has touched me more, other than the Bible. Jamie writes not just from her heart, but from God s. One of my favorite works of all is Tozer's The Pursuit of God. I truly believe Simple Obsession should rank right up there and should be required reading for every Christian. My fervent hope is that it will become a classic in Christian literature I know it so rightly holds that place in my own heart. --Lawrence Cook, Attorney, Louisville, Kentucky
I have heard Jamie speak several times and consider her to be one of the best speakers I have heard. After reading her book I realized that it was Jesus through her that was so life changing. In this simple book the great truths of God are available as the sweetest morsels. Like a spring of refreshing, this amazing book has given life to my spirit. --Dr. Thomas R. Sattler, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Retired, Morehead State University
Not only has Jamie started and continued to pastor on of the coolest churches I have ever encountered, she is a powerful author. I just finished reading her book Simple Obsession. I have read all the famous Christian authors and theologians of the past and present, yet never has a book been more powerfully used by the Holy Spirit in my life. It is a devotional, a theological treatise and a guide for practical ministry. This instant classic is for every Christian. --Rev. Jeff Roartet, Associate Pastor, Evergreen Fellowship, Evergreen, Colorado