Quote of the Day

“Conservative religious people involved in kingdom-of-the-world thinking often believe that their enemies are the liberals, the gay activists, the ACLU, the pro-choice advocates, the evolutionists, and so on.  On the opposite side, liberal religious people often think that their enemies are the fundamentalists, the gay bashers, the Christian Coalition, the antiabortionists, and so on.  Demonizing one’s enemies is part of the tit-for-tat game of Babylon, for only by doing so can we justify our animosity, if not violence, toward them.  What we have here are two different religious versions of the kingdom of the world going at each other.  If we were thinking along the lines of the kingdom of God, however, we would realize that none of the people mentioned in the above lists are people whom kingdom-of-God citizens are called to fight against.  They are, rather, people whom kingdom-of-God citizens are called to fight for.

Our battle is “not against flesh and blood,”  whether they are right wing or left wing, gay or straight, pro-choice or pro-life, liberal or conservative, democratic or communist, American or Iraqi.  Our battle is against the ‘cosmic powers’ that hold these people, and all people, in bondage.  Whatever our own opinions about how the kingdom of the world should run, whatever political or ethical views we may happen to embrace, our one task as kingdom-of-God disciples is to fight for people, and the way we do it is by doing exactly what Jesus did.  He defeated the cosmic powers of darkness by living a countercultural life characterized by outrageous love and by laying down his life for his enemies.  So too, we contribute to the demise of the “power over” principalities that hold people in bondage when we refrain from judgment of others and rather extend grace to them, when we let go of anger toward others and instead “come under” them in loving service.”    

–Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation

the story of Nickelsville…continued

well the story of nickelsville is definitely one that has it’s up’s and down’s… mostly downs it seems from the perspective of the media and mayor Nickels, who’s continuing threat and personal agenda to put an end to Nickelsville once and for all, has been chasing them out of every location they have popped up in.  

What is Nickelsville? http://www.nickelsvilleseattle.org/nickelsvillefordummies

Well it is much more than a ‘tent city’ as some would call it.  On the contrary it is a vision… a vision to make a better living for many who have no place to go and can’t afford housing in the area.  the idea started because of the 15% increase in the number of homeless people in Seattle, along side of the mayor making it illegal to sleep out in public and coming through and sweeping homeless camps out of the city.  There are not enough beds for all the homeless, and there is no affordable housing, so the homeless have no place to go and the vicious cycle that they find themselves in, when trying to sleep in shelters, keeps them from ever moving forward… it perpetuates their dilemma.  

Think of how difficult it would be to hold a steady job with a steady income, when your living situation changes regularly, or when you have to struggle to find food or water, or find a bed or shower.  Even the tent-cities, which give them a little more stability, have to move very 2-3 months and so keeps them from establishing any real consistency where they can start to get a footing and make a change in their situations.  And the mayor is not exactly excited about tent-cities either, it’s just that there is not really anything he can do about them.

There is a great ‘speech’ on the matter of homelessness in the city and the need for Nickelsville here!

Also check this out for more info on why Nickelsville should happen!

So Nickelsville is now at its fourth location, after being chased from it’s prior three in the last four weeks by the city.  It is currently in a parking lot in the University District of UW, owned by Universtiy Christian church.  They hope to stay there until the first of the year.  Since being there, the church has been threatened with fines for allowing them to stay yet they have ignored the cities threats.  It is still uncertain how long they will be able to stay there and may have to move again soon.  

 

I have had numerous opportunities to hang out with my friends in Nickelsville, sharing my music and my words with them and have been quite moved by their sense of community, love for each other, and how organized they are and such a diverse group of people.  They have one over-arching commonality… they have no home.  No one understands what they go through like themselves.  The mayor doesn’t know, I don’t know, most of you who may be reading this don’t know.  What amazes me is that those who are completely outside of their situation are the ones judging their situation and making rules against their situation without ever experiencing or participating in their situation.  

I am humbled when I am with them.  My experiences with them has made me ever aware of how much I have prioritized the want in my life for things which have no significance.  I have pursued the ‘finer things in life’ and completely taken for granted my warm home, my warm bed and blankets, my hot food, my cold water… all at my disposal… while my brothers and sisters go hungry, thirsty, cold and bed-less on the streets.  Yet we are the ones who think we can judge them and their situation… we are the ones who think we have all the answers to their problems.  

So I stand up for Nickelsville, because I see the grand vision… to build a safe, self-sustaining community where people in need can live without fear, and begin to build a life for themselves, with the help of a community of others who want to do the same help others do the same as well.  

I stand up for Nickelsville because I know their names and their stories.  They are my friends… they care for me and I for them.  They have welcomed me with open arms into their community.  I have shared my music with them, and they have shared their lives with me and I am changed because of it

I stand up for Nickelsville because I am awed by the sense of love and community that many others only dream of.  Sure they have problems, sure they have issues… who doesn’t?  We just have so much stuff to cover up our issues and our problems… they don’t have that… they are laid bare, on display for the world to see, and so we judge them because of it.  

Yet, we ourselves are just like them… we have the same basic human needs.  Will you stand with me to support Nickelsville?  Please join the support Nickelsville group and cause on Facebook!

http://www.nickelsvilleseattle.org

the story of nickelsville (prologue)

i have been wanting to blog about the story of Nickelsville, a homeless community in Seattle that has decided to take matters into their own hands to correct their situations.  I have been involved a little during the process and my good friend Dustin has become one of their biggest, non-homeless advocates, spending most of his days with them, even to the point of being arrested with a group of them.  so, i will write soon about the story… the events that have taken place over the last week or so and some of my thoughts on the situation and how we are involved in helping them out!  stay tuned for that blog coming soon!  In the meantime, here is a synopsis of what Nickelsville is all about!

 

WHAT IS NICKELSVILLE?

Nickelsville is a permanent homeless shantytown in Seattle WA which will accommodate up to 1,000 people. Nickolodeons (Nickelsville’s residents) will live in permanent structures (not tents) and will not have to move every few months. Emphasis will be on safe and sanitary conditions.

WHY NICKELSVILLE?

This year’s one night count showed an increase of 15% in the number of homeless people sleeping outside. Sleeping outside is dangerous; unfortunately there are not enough indoor shelters. There is safety in numbers, there is power in being organized.

WHY THE NAME NICKELSVILLE?

Mayor Nickels’s edict to systematically drive people out of their encampments and to destroy their property was the trigger for the present crisis. It is only befitting that our shantytown be named in honor of Mayor Nickels and his “humane” treatment of the homeless.

WHO?

Anyone who is homeless, willing to take charge of their living conditions, participate in a community and follow some basic rules is welcome to Nickelsville,

WHAT STANDARDS?

Houseless people are neither better nor worst than housed people. Resident of Nickelsville will be held to the same standards as those of any civilized neighborhood. Nothing more, nothing less