Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I was joking with some friends last night about what Jesus would say… in regards to listening.
I had just been in a listening position at Mo for well, probably close to an hour. A nice lady came in, who’s come in several times. And I think she is in need of being heard, having a voice and someone to listen to her.
Well, my question to my buddies was… does Jesus ever say… “dude, I have no idea what you’re talking about…”
I felt that way a few times throughout my “conversation” with this neighbor lady.
And yet, I felt that it was my place, my position, and my responsibility to be willing to nod, smile and be a listening presence in her life.
This experience has caused me to wonder what it means to listen and be patient. I often want quick answers and only hear half of what’s told me in anticipation of getting it done. Well, at least that’s how I seem to function with God. Maybe last night was a reminder that I need to be willing to slow down and be patient with others as well as with myself and God. Maybe last night was a reminder that just as I have an innate desire to be heard, others have that same structuring. And as such, my position just might be a position of hearer – and not always doer.
You know, maybe our doing really does need to flow out of our hearing. Especially those of us who seek to model our lives after Christ.
It just might be that our doing wants to get ahead of what we have heard, when in actuality our position should first be to hear the cries, laughs, and passions of those around us before our time of action.
Although throughout my time last night, I wanted to say, “I have noooo idea what you’re talking about” I believe that my listening ear was well received. I don’t always have to know what is being said to be able to hear who is speaking.
In all the names that were dropped and the stories told, my friend was seeking a place for her voice to be heard and a person to call friend.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


What does this mean?

deprived of the rights of citizenship especially the right to vote; "labor was voiceless"; "disenfranchised masses took to the streets"

As a church we believe we are for the down and out and the poor. We say we're available to the widow and the orphan. We desire to be a place for the disenfranchised.

Yesterday we had a guy come in who I (in my anti classification mind) would classify as disenfranchised. He'd been in before. The first time he came in he scared our friend who was working to death. She wasn't sure if he was going to come in with a chainsaw and cut her arms off or just pull out a gun. And to be honest, the first time he came in while I was behind the counter he freaked me out too. I had the phone ready to dial 911 and the alarm ready to sound off to the police. His very demeanour beckons you to stare and want to leave his vicinity.

As soon as he walked in yesterday, with his hat on and plastic bags wrapped around him I could smell him. As he walked down the galley to our main door I immediately looked over to the Demitasse in concern for the parents and children. Did I mention he smelled. It was the kind of stench that stayed for a minute or two after he had left. It reminded me of a children's film, some anime that my wife had me watch, in which a cloud would follow the character. This is how it was yesterday. I didn't want to run around spraying air freshener, but I didn't want the coffee house to smell like this guy for the rest of the day.

Our very structure as a coffee house is set up to engage with the community, every aspect of the community, including the poor and disenfranchised. And yet, when the poor, the disenfranchised, and the sometimes scary step into our lives, we long for the upper middle class annoying woman who drives a BMW and is happy to have a place to bring her snotty child who leaves a mess when they exit. At least this snotty woman doesn't smell and require much, well much out of the ordinary.

So what does it mean to be for the disenfranchised? What does it mean to provide space for them? Is this true... even when the smell like they've been in the dumpster for weeks only now attempting to come out into the open? If so, how can we love them. How do we love them and move beyond our desire for them to sit on the bench drinking their coffee OUTSIDE?

I've been thinking about social justice lately. Which is common for a lot of people. But, I haven't been thinking about in regards to reading books and participating in global activism. I've been thinking about it in regards to my own life (I can't even say I think about it alot, cuz frankly I think about it when something hits me in my face). but, I've been wondering how I am participating in the justice of those around me. How is the very organism I helped create and form (the coffee house) functioning in the life of social justice.

I don't have answers to these questions. But I suppose it's been helpful to write them down. I suppose that in the coming days I will continue to balance providing space for anyone in the community while maintaining a family friendly environment with being for the poor, the disenfranchised and even the scary.