The Deeper Root–How God uses Silence

In the winter of 2005 we were living in New York, in a house with good bones, but poor insulation. It was bitter cold in the attic that night. I knelt before a candle, under a blanket, and prayed against an urgency which pressed like gusts of wind against my contemplative desires. I agonized for…

Jenna

Out front of the café, I noticed a young lady in a yellow floral dress next to an older man. He was leaning on crutches.  They both turned to look at me.  “Do you have any change?” she asked. “I typically don’t carry cash,” I responded, “but I’m getting coffee, would you like one?” Their…

A Grace We Cannot Live Without

 “Lord, I offer this post to you, not a masterpiece, but a broken piece, to honor those, who through their broken gift, offer back a grace they cannot live without.” In my memory, I am trying real hard to coax a single word out of my voice box.  The patient lady with the long jowls…

A Day At Stoneman Douglas High School

We didn’t know what to expect. Our team had travelled several hours south to pray with, and for the Parkland community. It was our intent to prayer-walk the high school campus. We arrived to hundreds of milling people, standing, huddled in some places, arms around each other. The scene spread several football fields long. On…

MLK & The Bread Lady

During the early nineties in East New York, people of my skin color were not seen very often walking down the street. I remember a Cru mission I joined that was helping a local minister advertise a tutoring program at a notorious high school in the neighborhood. We would go door to door in the…

The Little Girl With Generous Eyes

The little girl with generous eyes and small teeth set in a wide smile, drifted from one side of the parade to the other. She offered a small pamphlet to everyone watching the parade, an invitation to a pageant at the African Methodist congregation. Courageous young spirit, I thought to myself. The marching bands, floats…

A Father Again

Clouds hung low, spitting light rain mixed with sleet. The weatherman predicted a brown slushy holiday. He had promised a mom he would visit today. He had met her son that fall, but he was slipping, headed for the streets. Jesus, you are enough to save from the pull of easy money, aren’t you? As…

A Savage Gospel

The voice on the phone sounded familiar, but his smooth street lingo was missing, now faint, halting, a whisper. “Mr. Kevin,” (long pause) “Hurry!” Mo Brown lived in Brooklyn, on a dark treeless street. We met up on his stoop, where he explained that he and his family were moving out, “tonight!” While I followed…

The Last Turn

When I sat down I noticed that her eyelids were tightly drawn, lips moving, but with no sound. Her fingers caressed a string of beads, and her head was titled upward. I watched, rather rudely, but then relaxed. It dawned on me that I was invisible. This elegant silver haired lady found herself on a…

What Letters do for Lovers

In the summer of 1980, I was in New Jersey working for a mason contractor named Alphonse. One day a post card arrived from, “Ginnette,” who was living in Michigan. I remembered having dinner at her apartment once, but I couldn’t quite picture what she looked like! We began to write, and once we left…

Climb the Stairwell

Back in the 90’s we would take our new staff into East New York, Brooklyn, for their first brush with evangelism. It never failed that the beat cops would stop our group, point to the subway and say, “leave! It’s too dangerous for you here.” We didn’t. We had an affiliate, Willie Branch, who ran…

This Favored Wound

I was weeding with a double-edged machete, and hadn’t noticed I disturbed a hornet’s nest. Forgetting I gripped a weapon, I swatted at my stung hand, and sliced open my forearm, a gaping wound. It has taken a long time to heal. I like to think of wounds as a mark of God’s ownership. Spiritual…