Rev. S. Brandt
We are all called to have a conscience for the poor and to minister to them. Our city is not a melting pot, it is a boiling cauldron. The way of brokenness is empty of self and full of God.
Those who are homeless cannot pitch a tent in a public park or erect a plywood lean to on a vacant lot which is what the poor can do in many foreign countries.
When you are close enough to touch something but know you just can’t reach it the feelings of frustration and hopelessness build steadily after several generations of living like this the entire value system of these people is bankrupt.
TV ads exploit young folks by telling them that they are nobodies without $150 sneakers and $300 jackets.
When you live day after day in an atmosphere of conflict and violence you think it will never happen to you but it does. It’s not a matter of it, it’s just when.
After a few confrontations you develop a street sense a perception of what is happening all around you – always watching ready to react instantly to the slightest sign of danger, losing concentration can be deadly.
Most outsiders never stay around long enough to learn. It takes time.
Many churches that pledge support for a ministry such as ours have an unrealistic idea of what is really needed on an urban mission field. Some people think that all we need are leftovers.
If you were in my shoes you would understand that we simply canot disrupt our mission to train people who are not going to be with us for the long haul.
But you can earn the right to be heard – it just takes more time than most folks are willing to put into it.
Why am I accepted – because I sit on the same filthy heating grates that the homeless do; because I hug them whether thy have on designer sneakers or no shoes at all, whether they have lice in their hair or not.
People respond to love and concern. They are tired of promises from people who disappear into the night. They want reality.
I sincerely believe you do more harm than good by starting something you don’t plan to finish. Your actions shout “Christianity doesn’t work – not here.”
But after the workday has ended the people in those neighbourhoods know who belongs there and who doesn’t.
Because there is no future, the people develop a take it now mentality – Today is all they have.
I’ve yet to meet the person who does not have within him a flicker of light or glimmer of HOPE. Everyone has the potential for total transformation.
People down the street up the block in the suburbs are all looking for someone who is real.
They don’t need someone who is willing to be vulnerable to come and place themselves in someone else’s world at the risk of being hurt – mentally, physically, or emotionally.
I cannot expect anyone in this ministry to do anything that I’m not willing to do myself.
I am nurtured in solitude and strengthened in conflict.
If you know why you are doing something you will figure out how to do it by yourself.
The need is the call.
Do you want a call from God? You can have it immediately by opening your eyes to a specific need that surrounds you, then step forward and throw your entire life into the project.
That is how you respond to God’s call.
I just found a need that I believe in and I have given my hear and soul to make a difference.
When you make a total commitment, there is a price to be paid. The cost may be higher than you ever imagined.
If people don’t know how much you care they couldn’t care less about how much you know.
Church bulletins and marquees declare WE LOVE YOU. But the attitude which is conveyed once the unlovely actually step inside is WE LOVE YOU but just don’t sit next to me.
The folks of the innercity don’t need us to tell them they are living in sin. They are smart enough to know it. What they need is for somebody to tell then, “No matter what you have done the LORD loves you and is ready to forgive you.”
Build on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
You cannot unscramble eggs.
For me to follow Jesus is to be with those who have been cast aside and to meet him in and with them.
The poor can be the economically poor who are hungry, homeless, and our of work or the rejected ones – those put aside because of their infirmities, and handicaps, and apparent uselessness. They are longing to be accepted and loved, longing for meaning and a healing relationship. The poor are those caught up in sin yet craving also to be liberated from it.
The poor are also any of us who are sad and alone, feeling guilty and unloved.
The poor know their own emptiness – They do not hide from it. They long for a savior who will heal their hearts and bring them peace.
Walking with the poor I have touched on my own poverty. Their wounds reveal mine. If someone can see His light in a corner of my being then there is hope.