In 1957 my cousin Jr. showed me his switchblade. He said it was “necessary to carry it on the streets of Detroit, Michigan.” I was only 7 at the time, and it made me afraid for my cousin. He talked about the African Americans of the city by using the “n” word and spewed (I can’t think of a word strong enough to describe it) hatred and violence toward them.
I didn’t know it then, but that was the last time I saw him. Shortly thereafter, he ran away from home.
The family searched for him, but had no luck finding him. I guess they all figured he was dead. Seven year olds just wonder about such things.
30+ years later his sister exclaimed, “We found him.” He was living in a mobile home in Charlottesville, VA, of all places. He was a grandfather with a plethora of kids.
It was joyful thought to me that my cousin was alive, that he got to speak with his dad on the phone before my Uncle died, and that I had a boat load of cousins living in Charlottesville, VA….until yesterday.
As the posted pictures scrolled past my eyes, I searched the crowd for young men that looked like they might be related. Frankly, I saw more than a few, and I had to stop looking.
It’s one thing to be disappointed that racism isn’t dead, but a completely different thing to question if your own family members could be wrapped up in the thick of it. I’ve heard enough of it from my own family to know the seeds for it are far from dead and buried.
I want to hide my face in shame, but that won’t help. So I speak out. I call my own family out. I refuse to let the hatred go any further.
As one of my seminary professors said while responding to an African American student pleading for justice, “The white community has to lay an axe to that tree themselves.”
Moments ago, the news streamed again. A car slammed into the protestors.
STOP! PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS AND FIND THE PEACE OF GOD. IN THE NAME OF JESUS – STOP!
Interim Pastor Neil Allen
I learned to fold origami cranes about 40 years ago. I wanted to teach my youth group about Sadako, the girl who survived the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima in 1945, only to die 10 years later from Leukemia due to radiation overdose.
Sadako’s brother, who had also endured the blast, explained recently that it was a beautiful day. “Not a cloud in the sky.” The family (with the exception of their father who had gone off to work), had just sat down to eat breakfast.
There was no siren, and no warning.
Sadako (age 2 at the time), was blown out of the house and was found sitting on a box outside with tattered remains of her clothing. No one knew how she got there. A friend rescued them with a boat, and took them far down river, dodging the floating bodies and other remains of their once proud city.
When Sadako was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1954, her father told her the legend of the 1,000 cranes. “if you fold 1,000 cranes you will be granted a wish,” he explained to Sadako. She began immediately folding cranes. In all she completed 1,644 before her death.
“That no child would every have to endure this torment.”
As North Korea and world leaders ramp up their war of words, we pray that Sadako’s wish will continue to hold as it has since October 25, 1955 when she died.
Interim Pastor Neil W. Allen
A few days ago we unloaded the news to our grandson. He’s going to a new school (he’s a freshmen, so we reminded him it was a good time to transition). We also told him school will start earlier.
He gave us that “WHAT?!” look every kid gives their parents when it’s time to go back to school, but then he was told that he would be getting out earlier next summer, and that seemed to make the news seem okay.
Yep, it’s just a few more days until the school season is back up and running. A couple of things every parent and grandparent want you to know:
Interim Pastor Neil Allen
Occasionally, due to our mail slot/cardboard box mail slot, mail can go MIA at QACC. Here’s a note that ended up under the little use shop vac. I think you’re going to love it.
This is Phillip. How are you doing? I hope that things are going well for you and the others at the church.
The good news is that I how do have a current new Apt I am calling home for now, until I do indeed return to Seattle. But never-the-less, I am thankful, truly, for a place to live.
Funny thing is…I was starting to like the city, I was a stranger, yes, but I felt immediate care, love, support and compassion when you guys were beginning to take me in.
I just felt it was time to go back, think things over, straighten out things
Speaking of…my credit score was not a problem. It was the “landlords” at the previous building they owned but I lived in, so the mistakenly filed an official notice papers from the courts; even though they eventually dropped it. I guess they just decided it was not worth it.
In other words…my credit is okay. I am working to get that court paper off of my credit report.
So, I am very sorry that I am now just writing back; I was getting myself settled in and getting back into my daily Ohio resident life style (just joking)!
So how is everyone doing? I really totally miss each and everyone of you guys. I cannot thank you and the congregation for helping me…every step of the way, and even though I made my share of mistakes, frustration and despair, each individual treated me special.
No one has ever douted my courage to experience the things I have personally experienced myself, but I just wante to say thank you all, form the bottom of my heart.
I pray for everyone and their families and friends, wellbeing also.
I am really sorry for the Seahawks. I was rooting fo them to beat the Falcons, but they came up short.
Maybe next year, huh!? Anyway, it is going on 11 pm (EST) on a Sunday night, actually, I am writing this letter now and this letter will be mailed in the express mailbox at the Post office, mail for Ohio are mailed pretty fast, so you might receive this letter in a bout a week , maybe 2 weeks. I gotta go, I will write back whenever/or if I can soon. Thank care of yourselves, I love you all, and God Bless,
In the middle of a 90 hour work week, after a series of 90+ hour work weeks, I joined the 350 million people who suffer from mild to moderate depression. For me it was as if the rug was pulled out from under my feet and I went into a very sharp downward spiral. For others, the descent into darkness is much longer and more prolonged than my steep drop off, so, while my story has a happy ending that came quickly, others have a longer/slower drop off, or can’t recall the last time they felt “normal.” Some may be physically unable to define “normal” so the the “one size fits all” classification doesn’t work.
But this I can tell you, it was frightening for me, so I can’t imagine what others must feel. So, while I know my personal story may not fit all, I can tell you it was rather clear to me that I needed help QUICKLY. Mine came within a few weeks, and nearly too late to have a prolonged affect.
Also, I know now that drug therapy alone was not the full reason for my eventual recovery. In short, I needed to change my work load, my behaviors, which wound up being much harder, but having much longer lasting results.
After 10 years of intense work, I gave my resignation and reshaped my whole world.
I became an Interim Pastor – dramatically reduced my stress and found, after two years, and with the doctor’s help, that drug therapy was not necessary over the long haul, but regular exercise, reduced stress and healthy thinking all contributed to a better version of me.
If you are one of the people who suffer from mild to moderate depression, know that there are many people just like you, and many are finding help through the ever advancing scientific studies that are currently making strides.
Here is a simple link to one of many videos out on the internet. Good luck with your struggles. If you need uplifting, please know you have a friend who doesn’t claim to understand, but one who can empathize with you along the path of recovery.
If you haven’t spent a night at the theatre lately, you really need to get out more. Here’s a suggestion, go see Fun Home. It’s tragic and humorous, well scripted, beautifully acted and the staging is impressive. Yeah, it’s good….or better yet, beyond good.
It’s timely, important, suitably appropriate for those who have no idea what it’s like to “come out of the closet” or for those who have, and wonder how the journey has been for those who don’t and won’t and feel that they can’t.
It’s a time warp of a musical, where the lead character changes ages, tries to capture feelings, and process many hundreds of questions all at the same moment.
You will laugh, you may cry, and you may come away wondering, if you’re straight, how anyone could possibly think of homosexuality as a choice one makes.
You might come away a bit more open-minded or a bit less judgmental, especially of those who feel trapped into acting in ways society finds acceptable. You might come away wondering how a family might have open discussions without fear, and possibly why some simply can’t navigate the cascading emotions.
Yeah, it’s that good.
Go see it and then you can tell me where you heard God speak to you, and what questions you are still processing about human nature and family dynamics.
Interim Pastor Neil Allen
(From the Sermon on 7/16/17)
...if it might be appropriate to call for a special offering of praise might generate out of this thankfulness for our electing a New General Minister and President who also happens to be the first African American Woman to head a Major Denomination in the World? Would that be appropriate? We could donate it to her office and let her decide what God might do with the over and above giving.
You know $I dollar – with George Washington’s face on it might be an appropriate gift. After all, Washington was the first…and he got credit for being the first.
But then there is Lincoln who authored the Emancipation Proclamation and called for Abolition from Slavery….maybe a $5 gift would be okay too.
But Hamilton, was a few steps ahead of his time and called for Abolition of slavery long before Lincoln….maybe a $10 note with his face would be a good idea.
Now, Jackson was a racist. I’ve walked on the property he once “owned” and saw the fields where slaves were held and I also know how he ordered the removal of first nation people from the east to west of the Mississippi river…And, speaking only for myself, I would gladly see him replaced on the $20 note, but would a donation of $20send a strong message that racism cannot own us….Dr. Teresa Hord Owens said it her speech, “This is where we go high and nothing will hold us back.”
But then Grant, a man who put his life on the line to end Slavery, is on the $50 bill…that might be a big sacrifice for those of us to whom $50 is a lot of money.
But then there is Benjamin Franklin…and he’s on the $100. He wasn’t a president, but he did like experiments and did write documents that started us on a path to freedom and equality.
Oh, never mind me, I’m just a preacher who has walked up the mountain, seen the face of God, and I’ve come down again to the place where live and breathe and have my being. You should let God guide you to do what’s best.
The QA fun run occurred on Saturday 7/15. It was fun for me, because I didn’t run. I only helped make sure those who did run were blessed and hydrated.
We handout water, made sure the recycling was clearly separated from the waste (believe it or not, people are still confused about it). We set up tables for registration and for refreshments, and sound systems so people would hear a word of gratitude.
QA helpline website says this:
Services offered only to residents living in 98109, 98119, and 98199 include:
This is a great ministry and now I have a T-Shirt to remind me that even small gifts help others.
Do you have any spare coins? Given them to the QA helpline. They will know where to direct them.
Interim Pastor Neil A. Allen
…So, when we gathered in Indianapolis to celebrate our unity as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), I must tell you, I was so pleased to see our wider church has begun to realize that “church” in the formal sense of the word, that focuses on building, needs to be replaced with “church” as a body of believers where you go to gather spiritual energy, share testimony, encourage brothers and sisters, share holy focus, divine inspiration and mission, over pews and walls and all the pettiness of institutional/denominational/ecclesiastical eeeeeehhhh. I am pleased to tell you that one can actually feel, and celebrate as healthy, the direction our faithful remnant is heading.
We do, however, have a very long road ahead of us. Many pastor’s hear from their ever shrinking numbers that we live in a scarcity of resources… One can almost hear the complaining from the “Back to Egypt” committee, but, and I say this with great respect, when I last checked, we serve a God who always speaks from abundance.
I’ve heard that Jesus came to give life and to give it abundantly….if that’s not in the bible, it should be.
I’m so thankful for those who love, serve and trust God, and grateful to share with you a few tidbits from our recent assembly and to tell you, God has not abandoned us, or left us orphaned. A new crop of holy guides is being produced in our camps and seminaries, in the mission field, and yes, even in the hallways and pews of the institutional churches, in engaged thinking and acting with like-minded souls who have been touched into faith by a loving God. A fresh wind of the spirit is blowing across the dusty pews of our aging church, and bones are rising-up from the ashes.
You can say Amen and mean “Let it be so” but the time for saying it without living it, have come and gone.
Interim Pastor Neil W. Allen
Charles Sheldon once asked, “What would Jesus do?” The true answer is, “We don’t really know.” We’d like to think he would side with the poor, help those least able to help themselves, not worry if people had preexisting conditions, and in general do things that contributed to the betterment of all, but we truly don’t know. He might have turned over the tables in the great houses of government, and sat, or starved himself, as Gandhi did, in protest of unjust systems.
In the end, it’s kind of academic to ask, “What would Jesus do?” The better question is always going to be “What are we going to do?”
We recently received a request for funds from “REST” (Real Escape from the Sex Trade), who claim that 500 youth and 3,000 adults are being trafficked in our community at this very moment. While they don’t cite the source for those numbers, it’s likely a rational number, considering all of it is hidden.
Looking out at the peaceful Queen Anne streets that order our hillside vantage point, we can’t imagine how some are blocked from this serenity by others who want to make money from children and vulnerable adults.
The Hill, with its steep climb and higher prices provides a barrier between us and the realities in Lower Queen Anne and downtown Seattle, but it’s likely that people are trafficked here too. Most likely, they are just harder to find here.
I’m passing the request back to the leadership of the church with the idea that even a small contribution is good. My research turned up R.E.S.T. as a 501-C3, that began in 2009, with no negative reviews, (at least I couldn’t find any). Their budget is $1.8 Million and they provide shelter and escape for those trafficked, and those exploited by the sex trade industry here in the Seattle area. Administrative costs and advertising are .24 cents on every dollar.
I’m interested in what we can do here to prioritize a mission first mindset. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged.
Interim Pastor Neil Allen
Pastor Neil Allen
I am blessed to serve as the pastor of Queen Anne Christian Church, an amazing community of wise and thoughtful people.