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
Queen Anne hill was made for summer months. It is quiet walks through shaded streets lined with tiger lilies, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas are dreamy and calming. It is busy streets of local shops selling the latest sugary-somethings and chain stores filling the “geter done” holes. It is farmers markets and chic coffee shops, ice cream shops and decadent cupcake stores.
Queen Anne is towers sending and receiving messages from the globe, and churches sending and receiving messages from other realms.
From the “Hill” you can see the city, the waters, ferries, buses and cars of nearly every description. Queen Anne is where the tourists come to overview and snap pictures. It is both a destination and an orientation to the Metro Area.
Dogs stroll on leashed anchors while cats view them with contempt from the windows of exquisite architecture. The squirrels and crows plot their invasion of the ground between these human companions in competition for things that hit the ground.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the peaceful streets and cozy churches, but then one must find parking, and the slopped hills remind us that winter is deadly when all streets lead up and down, and down is a fast ride.
QA is not only reserved for tourists and shoppers. It is a place where the hearty ride bikes and the healthy take long walks amid sidewalks that are constantly being pushed upward by the beautiful trees. Watch your step…slow down at the intersections.
What I love: The cool ocean breezes of summer that wash over the Queen Anne Hill and remind us that the Spirit of God is in this place.
Yeah, you might say I am both enjoying this Interim ministry and wondering if I’m up to the rain and snow that will eventually descend.
Trusting God, I walk in the summer sun and remind myself that “worry will not add a cubit to my life.” Oh look, there is a new coffee shop opening. Let’s spit a molasses cookie and see who can best describe this place.
Interim Pastor Neil W. Allen
Fun, creative, engaging…the neighbors and the kids are out on the streets looking for something to do.
Excitement is in the air.
Festivals, celebrations, music late into the night are all part of summer…but it’s not all fun and games. Summertime allows for longer work days in the gardens, and the lack of rain, invites us to do projects we put off all winter (I’m reminding myself the roofer is coming on Wednesday morning to replace that rotted board.)
Today we gathered at Pride Fest to celebrate a work we’ve let slide through the years; to proclaim to the world God’s Love for all…to have fun and enjoy the many ways God has made us. Also, to show the world, which has gone backwards lately, that God has shown us a way forward…a way to engage each other in loving wholeness.
These summer days allow us to show our thankfulness to God for such diversity.
God bless you church for being open and affirming, not just of people who are of the LGBTQ community, but also to a God that is still speaking love and reconciliation for all.
Shine brightly sun, so we can show the world what love truly looks like.
Amen (Let it be so)
Pastor Neil W. Allen
My father was a harsh man when he drank. He said things that pushed my fragile child heart to the deepest depths, and he pushed, and pushed, and pushed, until I pushed back. I think that’s what he wanted to see in me; if I could stand up for myself.
My father wasn’t the easiest man to love.
But, when he was not drinking, he was quite charming. We fished together every Saturday, so I spent many hours in a boat row across the scattered ponds and lakes of Southeastern Lower Michigan. I can still hear his command, “Get the worms Butch. We’re going fishing.”
We spent many happy Saturdays out on the lakes. The only time he reverted back to his harshness was when I made a loud sound with my oversized feet, and scared the fish. I tried so very hard not to make any noise, but I would bang something eventually, and then it was my job to pull up the anchor and row to a new spot where the fish would be unsuspecting.
One summer night as I was preparing for bed he came home in a drunken mood, but he as more pleasant and uplifting that evening for some reason. I think it was due to the man he brought with him. It was my first time to meet the guy, and he was just as drunk as my dad, so don’t expect me to recall his name.
Dad announced that we were going fishing, despite the fact that it was 10 p.m., and I was very tired, but fishing was fishing. I dug the worms by flashlight and we loaded the gear in the old Dodge and headed to a favorite spot on Columbia Lake where you could rent boats. It was about midnight when we got there, so if you could imagine a drunk man arguing with the farmer whom he had woken up…long story short – we got the oars and took them down through the field to the lake.
My job? Row the boat and DON’T BANG ANYTHING!
I was careful…quieter than any church mouse had ever been in the history of church mice. I rowed, as best I could, to one of our favorite fishing holes and we plunked down the anchor. The two of them dropped in their lines and began to fish. I sat there for ages waiting for something to happen. Nothing happened. I wondered, “Can fish see in the dark? Do they get hungry for a midnight snack?”
The time ticked away slower than a Michigan ice melt, and I grew so very tired…but I didn’t make a sound.
Desperate for something positive, I slowly reached for my pole. I found the worms like a ninja warrior stealing your family jewels while you slept…and eased the line into the water just inches from the boat. I was so proud of myself….I was very, very quiet.
Of course, this only made things worse. There was now something I had to attend to other than my big feet. I concentrated….waited…nothing…a long time passed…still nothing.
Then, as carefully as I could, I lifted my rod to cast a line further from the boat. My first attempt barely got me five feet from where I had dropped my line….so I tried again….slowly taking my arm back between the two drunks, and blindly flicking the rod forward, only I got hung up somewhere…I couldn’t tell…I jerked the line…once, twice…GREAT, I’VE CAUGHT A BRANCH, I said in my head. Now what?
I tugged again.
That’s when I heard my dad’s new friend yelling like a madman. Dad said some choice words but still the man screamed. When the flashlight was found, it seems that I had hooked him very nicely in the earlobe. It had taken several tugs to get the feelings past his drunken state to his brain and from his brain to his mouth.
What followed next was a nearly comical script where dad, drunk and stumbling, climbed over me in the middle of the lake in the dark to cut the fish hook from the man’s bleeding VERY SORE ear.
Blood and cuss words were flying everywhere.
After 10 minutes of this madness, when the unnamed man I never saw again, was set free, I was ordered to row back to the dock….more choice words followed….and then a long very quiet car ride back home and to bed.
For some reason that was the last night fishing trip I was invited to take.
Dad died in 1986, but as I drive past the water and boats here in Seattle, I can hear him speaking to me, “Get the worms Butch. We’re going fishing.”
Happy Father’s Day dad…I hope you forgave me, because I certainly have forgiven you.
I know it’s June, but I’m thinking of Christmas already. I have to think of Christmas all year. Once you’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars in a nativity collection, you think of Christmas nearly every day of the year.
I got a new nativity last week! June is a great time to buy nativities, because NOBODY is looking for them now. There are great bargains waiting to be discovered.
The latest is a garage sale find that cost $1. It’s tiny, but it’s amazingly detailed. It’s probably 15-20 years old (my guess) and I love it!
Nativity collecting is optimistic, uplifting fun. In a world of bombings, violence, investigations, espionage and war, it brings hope into an otherwise dark world.
If you want to see some of my collection and links to other collections you can find me on Facebook under “Nativity Collections”.
Keep watching. I’ll be posting an event for the Queen Anne Christian Church in December (probably the first weekend). I should have about 300 sets up in the Fellowship Hall and hope for a great turnout. Our big –BIG show, will be on December 18-21st in Springfield, Oregon. We are anticipating displaying over 600 sets and hoping to reach 3,000+ visitors. There may be a few smaller, one day, events, but for now we’re anticipating two larger shows.
Perhaps now you can see why I’m constantly thinking about Christmas!
Happy Bargain hunting, garage sale finding, and hopeful summer!
Pastor Neil Allen
Fun times are happening. I’m talking about my driving experience to get here each week. Oh, so much fun….NOT!
So, I bought one of those new Garmin GPS devices to help me get around the city. It’s been wonderful in so many ways. It tells me where to go on a regular basis. NO, NOT THAT WAY.
It also has a forward-facing camera and alerts me to traffic hazards and other things happening on the road such as accidents, delays, and even those pesky traffic cameras! It’s very helpful even to suggest alternative routes, which I usually ignore because I want to experience the full meal deal.
As a bonus, it also tells me when I am straying over the lines in the road – which can certainly be VERY annoying when you are deliberately changing lanes and trying to focus. The “twiddle-dee-dee” sound can be startling if you’re praying you don’t bash into some speeder changing lanes from the right in your blind-spot. And while I’m complaining, I must say that I find the “Forward collision warning” frustrating when someone zips in front of me and steals my safe driving distance. I know I’m at risk, THAT’S WHY I LEFT THE SPACE!
But the WORST “Twiddle-dee-dee” sound comes blasting into my ear when the stopped traffic (which is frequent) begins to move. It flashes a blue headline and that annoying “twiddle-dee-dee” to alert me that the traffic is moving. I can see the traffic is moving! I’m moving, for heaven sake!
I suppose this feature is required in the annoying sound list because many people are busy playing with their phones. And yes, if you’re wondering, I do know I can turn all this off! However, It’s like driving with a backseat driver that can occasionally be helpful….but mostly it is terribly irritating, infuriating, bothersome, exasperating, aggravating, frustrating, trying, grating and generally A PAIN! (THANK YOU THESAURUS! I would have come up with those words if I wasn’t so distracted with “Twiddle-dee-dee” every five seconds!
This got me to thinking that I am grateful God didn’t implant a device in us to keep us on the “Straight and Narrow” path of faith. It might not shut off….ESPECIALLY WHEN I’M TRYING TO DRIVE.
Rant over. Perhaps you might be wondering if your new pastor has some spiritual insight in how to drive less stressed.
Pastor Neil Allen
I am blessed to serve as the pastor of Queen Anne Christian Church, an amazing community of wise and thoughtful people.