Ken Loyd checking or the winter meeting place for home.pdx

Ken Loyd checking or the winter meeting place for home.pdx

April 30, 2007

Yesterday my daughter, Mary, went to a church in Portland called “The Bridge”*. I went to a church in Portland that met under the Hawthorne bridge** called “Home.pdx”. “Home” was the name chosen by a handful of young people who don’t live in houses and who are the make up of this church. They wanted to call their new church “Home” because that’s what it represented to them. My friend Ken Loyd, the pastor of “Home”, had come up with a very clever and edgy name for this edgy gathering, because Portland is an ‘edgy” city. But he was overruled. “Home” is it.

It was a nice Sunday, except for the reoccurring thoughts of injustice.

The church I normally go to is full of really nice people, most of whom live in really nice houses, and I don’t think any of them live outside so they don’t need to name their church “Home.”

The kids who don’t live in houses and attend Home are very poor. Last month my son Willy and I went to Ghana where we went to church with a lot of really wonderful, and really poor people. Those people, poor as they are, all live in houses. And are definitely NOT poor in spirit.

I thought about injustice a lot. What would it be like if you we’re 14, 15, 18 or so and had to choose to live at home or live on the street, and you chose to live on the street because the street was safer?

Later the same day back in Seattle, Mary and I joined my son Willy as we celebrated by first granddaughter, Carmen’s, second birthday. We celebrated inside the nice warm home of my Daughter Sandra and her husband Rob. Carmen was surrounded by her paternal grandparents, Bob and Mary Ann Gray who love and protect her. Along with her aunt, my other daughter Victoria and her husband Jose, who love and protect her. Carmen’s younger cousin, my other granddaughter, Lily was there. I suspect Carmen and Lily will grow up to love and protect each other. Carmen and Lily have lots of family who will love and protect them.

What would it be like if you knew the street was where you could trust your fellow street dwellers to look after you more than you could trust the people back at what was supposed to be your home? And supposed to by your family. Injustice really sucks.

The Bridge Church where Mary attended is different in some ways and the same in others. Most of those people live in houses. Some even own homes, which is a recent development. Some of them learned about loving a protecting each other my learning about Jesus by being in community at The Bridge. The Bridge is meeting in a rented hall that costs way too much each week to rent. They do this because they can’t afford a building. This kind of thing happens to poor people a lot. They have to pay more or make a choice that is not financially in their favor just because they are poor. They people who are not poor wonder why poor people are “so bad with the their money”.

The church I usually go to is about to build a brand new building. It’s going to be very nice. We have most of the money already. It don’t think that’s an example of injustice, but if I was one of the people pouring my life into the people of “Home” under the bridge, or The Bridge under the gun for a place to meet, I would be forced to wonder even more about injustice.

I really love my friends Ken and Deborah who started and respectively pastor both these churches. I’m sure that from time-to-time they ask God the injustice questions, too. But most of the time they get up, pray, love each other, then do without much for themselves so they can keep on helping these young people who’s poverty breaks Gods heart.

Wondering about injustice is OK, I think. Doing something about it is OK, as well.

At least that what Jesus teaches us.

*The Bridge Church is a powerful metaphor for “connecting people”, spanning gaps in generations and cultures, crossing over to the other side, and of course an architectural feature very connected to Portland.

** Bridge—An actual structure (the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown Portland) that serves as the current meeting place for a gathering of friends known as home.pdx. Pretty nice on a warm spring day. I hope they still don’t have to meet there on those bone-chilling, soggy Portland days in November

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