Category Archives: Menu

One Week…

There are times when I realize that I have a blog and I would like to express myself through writing. Well, since I have a blog, why not express my thoughts and feelings through the blog. So here it goes…

In one week, I will be getting married. !.

I didn’t know whether or not I should have ended that sentence with a period, an exclamation point or what. I guess because I am extremely excited about making a covenant to God with my to-be wife, Kendra Sutton. I am excited about having a ceremony for that and having a party to celebrate.

But sometimes, this wedding stuff can be a hassle.

Do you mind if I open up?

Thank you. Continue reading

What are the Poverty Chronicles???

Light exposes the truth to darkness.

Being the product of a sinful world, poverty has existed since the beginning of time. From the garden of Eden, we begin living in a world lacking of Justice, full of poverty and trading love for hate. That is what has led me to writing on poverty. Specifically, within my hometown of Louisville. I have seen poverty within my own city and have been shaken by the negligence of many believers. I know that many people don’t know where to start. I hope to be able to give them a good starting point.

The Poverty Chronicles are simply going to be the stories of people and places within the city of Louisville who have lived below the means of others for years.

My hope with the Poverty Chronicles is that they become small lights. That the injustice that happens among the people of my city would become visible and that Christ followers would have a good starting point for love.

These will take time and will be spread out over several months of work. As I said before, I know where I’m starting and not sure where I am ending. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

The Journey Starts Soon…

I was one of those wanna-be ballers in high school. Truth be told, I wasn’t that good. But I loved basketball.

When my senior class took our trip to New York City, there was one spot on my mind that I wanted to visit, Rucker Park. For those who love basketball, they know that Rucker Park is the mecca of streetball. That desire to see that court opened up something completely unexpected for me.

In Louisville, I wasn’t used to using public transportation. In New York though, it’s a must-have for getting around.

When I was riding the bus from Manhattan to Harlem on 7th Ave, I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. In fact Kansas wasn’t on my radar anymore. My shire was a far gone memory to the place that I was in. In Harlem, I had seen levels of poverty that I had never seen in person. I was young at the time but while in that place, God spoke clearly to me about my call to Inner-City ministry. Specifically to ministry among the poor.

I’ve spent my entire adult life working with the poor on some level. It’s definitely been an interesting ride and has reinforced the constant notion that I don’t know what I am doing most of the time.

Most people feel like they don’t know what they are doing regarding ministering to the poor. For many that is because they don’t know where to start. That is why I am writing is to make a proposition. Love. Let’s just simply learn to love the poor.

And to give people ideas of where to start, I felt that it would be good to just tell stories of poverty on the local level. Give props to people who are doing work. And show area’s where people need help. As I write about the stories I have been studying as of late, be encouraged to pray.

That is what leaves me here for this blog series.

The Poverty Chronicles…

OUTcaste

Sitting in the car all you hear is awkward sounding car horns and other random noises that cloud your ears. It’s awkward to sit on the American drivers side while the steering wheel is on the right side. Then on top of that your car being on the left side of the road is an adjustment. But it’s not a bad thing, an adjustment though.

I asked John about the Caste system before. I knew a little about it. Not much though. From what many people told me, it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. Shine had told me some stories his grandfather and other family members had been through.

The Caste system is simply a social categorization of the people based on several criteria, some being facial features, family name, birth place and a couple of other things. Your family name is primarily the majority of it.

What caste you are apart of determines who you’ll marry, Where you’ll work and who will be your close social circle. Talking to John about this was interesting though because I know that he is a Dalit. Dalit’s have historically been one of the lowest Caste. Some Caste are high ranking and well privileged while others will extremely limit your capacity for employment success and other things in your life.

As John pulled over for a second to concentrate on our conversation, he told me how the Caste system had ran through the churches. Certain churches are for Dalits, while other churches are for other Caste. It was disheartening to see how this had divided the body of Christ. I asked John, how can this be changed? We discussed it for a while and how it’s so sad to see the body of Christ divided like that. Knowing that your brother or sister who may have a different people group, you don’t fellowship with because of that one difference.

And wouldn’t it feel incomplete to think that’s the end of my story?

But then John made a really great point. He said, “I’ve been to America, Mark. I’ve seen the churches there. Our division is not a good thing but the division in the American church is just as ugly.” I couldn’t have agreed with him more. Knowing how the most segregated hour that Dr. King pointed out is in America, at 11 AM on Sundays. And I don’t care what people try to say about how the churches are so integrated today, that’s a joke. I still rarely find a church where 80% or more of the people are not one color. And we manage to now not just separate on color. We do it on socio-economic levels as well.

I have these discussions with people all of the time. Do we need multi-racial? How do we get it? Will it ever happen?
The truth is, I don’t know. It may or may not. We might have to repent of that sin until the day we arrive in glory. It’s unfortunate.

Leaving India, someone told me that the Caste system was becoming something of the past. Though it will always exist, it’s division in society was taking less and less toll. Racism will always exist in america in one way or another. The hope is that eventually, our church can work beyond it. And our hope is that this starts with pastors but goes beyond elders and onto deacons. And eventually the rest of the congregation.

“They’ll know you by the love you have for one another…”

Mumbai

As I am writing this, I am blessed to be sitting in a room next to about twelve ladies reading scripture, praying and worshipping together. Most of the ladies are orphans and a few are older and living on their own. It’s an awesome site considering the country I am in and the lack of Christians in this country. It is beautiful to hear these prayers in Hindi and the sound of simply a tambourine to compliment these beautiful voices being lifted up.

I have contemplated how to start this initial letter from Mumbai,I have decided so people don’t worry, I will simply post a note of encouragement. When I arrive back in the states I will have several notes I will post examining different experiences. What I can say to this point is, Wow! This place has really struck me and these experiences have been awe-inspiring. I have honestly wept bitterly over many things I have seen that I would love to imagine don’t exist. I have been hurt to see the pain that some have to go through. But I have also been touched to see how God is working here in spite of some terrible circumstances for many people.

A picture to give an idea of where I have been…

Departure for India

In the first book of the Lord of the Rings series, The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Sam had come to a point in their journey when they had realized that they were going the furthest out of the Shire then they had ever been. They knew that taking the steps beyond where they had come, would bring many question marks but in the same way, adventure was inevitable. As fictional as that story is, I can say that at this point and sitting here at this laptop that I am at the same point in my life that they were at. Standing on the edge of my Shire and looking out into the unknown. Uncertain about where the path ahead would lead but also certain that the path ahead would definitely bring a journey that would challenge and shape me.

I am excited about the opportunity ahead. I know that I have been washed with prayer from every direction. And though I have been on a couple international trips, I know that this will definitely be the most challenging and difficult of trips to go through with. Not because of the people, place or culture necessarily but simply because it will be a time where traveling alone, I will simply have to trust God’s providence more than I ever have.

I want to thank all of the people in my life who have loved and prayed for me regarding this venture. My one challenge through this is that our prayer lives would change towards an intimacy with him that isn’t contingent on a big need but instead is finding simple satisfaction in being his. Where when God is silent, we can enjoy his presence and not demand his response. Like being in a car with someone and needing a conversation instead of enjoying their being and company. I desire that many of us would seek this intimacy with God. An intimacy that isn’t always based on demands or words but sometimes in simply enjoying the fact of who he is.

He is good, and that has been the one statement that has revolved constantly in my mind. To quote another piece of fantasy literature, Chronicles of Narnia, this dialogue gives a good understanding of what I believe God is like in our lives:

“Is – is he a man?” asked Lucy
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion, the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh,” said Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, abd make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.”Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.”

Aslan the lion plays the Christ figure in this book series. And I must say that when following Christ, you realize, this isn’t safe. It’s not a safe journey to trek on. It will cost you a deep cost. But it’s a good journey. He is not a safe God to follow. But he is good.

I fly out in a couple hours. Hopefully I can post from India.

I love you all and am excited that I can share this journey.