Monday, March 3, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 61

   In the bible program at Pacific garden mission we have a class on Hermeneutics taught by Donald Connolly. Hermeneutics is derived from the Greek word ἑρμηνεύω (hermeneuō, 'translate' or 'interpret') and we use to it understand the Bible better. It's a fascinating class, once he gets done introducing himself for the first 10 minutes, lol. In the last class he asked a question to the guys and went around the room looking for answers. Why did we come to Jesus? many of the guys had decent answers, but I was having trouble with it. I could drag out my testimonial and say how I screwed up I was and how I saw the light, but instead gave a Biblical answer in that God had chosen me before the foundations of the earth (Eph 1:4). Donald challenged that pat answer, and in a way, he was right in that the question was not about what God did, but why did I come to him. I thought deeper about it, was it because I admire Christ and what he did for us? Was it something inherently inside me that said it was the right way to live? Then there is the idea that just because it's one of the more dominate religions in the USA, you're bound to get into it, but I've studied many of the belief systems in this country, even took classes on them in highschool. Then this morning I had a thought, that Jesus had been with me all through my life, beckoning for me to come to him, and I was finally so worn out that I got tired of fighting him. Maybe I humbled myself, but even that implies too much of what I have done. I'm like a wild horse out on the plains, fighting the bridle even with the oncoming freezing blizzard, like a wary wild Mustang circling the man with the soft voice and outstretched hand. I found him later in the week and told him about the battle in my mind to get my hands around the thought and told him straight up, I never came to Jesus, I simply quit from turning away from him.
   I always get a bit of a laugh when I am out and about walking and a beggar asks me for money. My normal reply is, "I'm PGM." Most get it, some are like, what? So I tell them ,"Pacific garden mission." A few, upon hearing that, looked like they wanted to give me money, lol. I had one guy ask for money while holding a smart phone and texting, I told him, pointing at the phone, that he had more than me! And why is it always some odd number? "Can you give sityfye cent?" Round it up already, you ain't foolin me. Then there was the day that a guy tried to sell me a copy of the Onion. I told him I don't like that rag, and he got indignant and said, "Man, it's to help the homeless", and I fired back, "I AM homeless." He looked at me like I was lying, cause, you know, I'm white.
   On Monday I rode with Dean on an AM route, starting way deep in the city, inside the sub basement of the Hancock building. Built in 1965, the 1,127 foot tall building is a landmark on the north side of the Loop, to be able to go in it was awesome for me. The hall ways where extremely tight, with boxes of stuff along one side of every wall. We pick up donations from the freezers of some restaurant there, filling plastic bags with blocks of frozen soup while waiters, cooks and people with two wheelers try to get past us. It's exciting and irritating for me, I try to keep small, but the designers of these termite tunnels didn't think ahead enough, everything is so compressed.
  On this run we also stop at a K.F.C., a steak house and a couple of Pizza huts. I've been in a lot of back areas of restaurants now and there seems to be a basic theme to them all. Unlike the areas where the customers sit and relax, the backs areas are all tight quarters, those dirty hanging plastic wind stop strips that you have to push through, really cold areas, rich smells, people that know the areas really well weaving in and out quickly, stainless steel everywhere, power cords dangling from things, stacks of half crushed boxes of produce and it's sweet earthy smells, long shelves of huge amounts of stuff and always, always, loud Mexican music. Many have patches of rubber mats with round holes in them, huge stainless steel sinks with over head hoses held up by springs, chrome racks with every kind of ingredient they would ever need in rows and never a hall way that is free of stuff against the walls. Then there are the walk in coolers made of silver metals, patched from years of people ramming carts into them. They all have those big pull handles that slap back loudly when you let them go and often have the tiny windows so you can look out and scream if you ever get locked in.   Those back areas are jammed, built for a purpose, not for comfort, and yet so many live out half their lives back there, running, sliding, washing and cooking for the rest of us.

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