Showing posts from December, 2010

A choice in the year ahead

In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. - Luke 1:78, 79

Christmas in Chicago brings side by side signs of the power of this world and the power of another. A child will go before them, we hear in Zechariah's song in the Gospel of Luke, "to guide our feet into the way of peace." Then, as now, we are in need of this voice.

An early Christian text from the second century or so, the Epistle to Diognetus, suggests that being a Christian is neither an ethnicity or an earthly citizenship but a way of life that is somehow at odds with the the societies in which Christians live. Christians may look like everyone else, but our practices of hospitality, charity and nonviolence should make us different.

But all this changed by the end of Constantine's reign, the emperor who Christianized Rome, in the fourth century A.D. Diana Butler B…

Making Room

Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel (God with us). -Isaiah 7:14

Last night, I slept overnight at my church. One week each quarter, our church hosts the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), a local organization that works with churches to provide overnight transitional housing for people in our community who find themselves homeless.

Usually, I'm grumpy when it's our turn to sleep at the church. I don't sleep very well. And it interrupts my morning routine. But usually, the stark reality of the situation breaks in pretty quickly.

Last night at the church, a young woman in her early 20s had two young children with her, the youngest just a few weeks old. Two more children were staying elsewhere. She had hoped to move in with a friend this week, but even the shared rent and utilities seemed too daunting.

The second woman had two older children with her. The youngest was celebrating his eleventh birthday and was looking forward to …