Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Posted by Jack

I’m told that all people involved in urban ministries are supposed to have exciting stories to tell about their exploits in the ‘hood. Well, here is one for our collection.

Today, I came home from work to find that our house had been robbed. Someone kicked in our basement window, trashing the whole area and then coming upstairs to rob us.

Also, I entered the house while the intruder was still here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

US Homelessness and International Opinion

Posted by Jack

(This is an article from Guardian News.)

A United Nations special investigator who was blocked from visiting the US by the Bush administration has accused the American government of pouring billions of dollars into rescuing banks and big business while treating as "invisible" a deepening homeless crisis.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Death of a Homeless Veteran

Posted by Jack

Some of you who live near us may have heard about the man who was struck and killed by a train just a few blocks from our house. (The story can be read, with an accompanying video, here.)

What the news story did not tell you is this: Lorenzo was a homeless man who often slept outside a garage near the site of the accident. He had many injuries, some of which were associated with his military service in Vietnam. He had lost sight in one eye and his hearing was poor.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009


We are now equipped to accept monetary donations online. Click the "Donate" button below to contribute any amount securely via Paypal account or credit card.

If you have questions about the donation process, or where Caesar's money goes once it is rendered unto us, feel free to email Jack using the contact information located on the right-hand side of the page.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Little Less Conversation...

Posted by Jack

Please note: This is a sister-post, meaning it is meant to be read in conjunction with a previous blog posting. This is an extension of my earlier reflection entitled “Courting Mulberry Street.”

As you may have read in my previous comments, I have a healthy suspicion of “success.” When goals and projected outcomes are on the table, especially in terms of concrete data, I recognize the need for extreme caution and careful meditation. As such, we have shunned the compilation of any sort of 1 year, 5 year, or 10 year projected plan.

Courting Mulberry Street

Posted by Jack

Friends and lovers,

What follows is a "re-post" of some thoughts which appeared on the blog earlier this year, in a post entitled "The Best Laid Plans..."

I am posting these thoughts again, in a shortened form, for 2 reasons.

First, I think it is important that our friends and neighbors understand this aspect of our community development. Second, I have come to realize that some more needs to be said. The other side of this coin can be found in the sister-post entitled "A Little Less Conversation."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Words from a Profit

Posted by Jack

Hoooray!!!!! It's time for us to celebrate. Our banks are making billions of dollars again!

In what major news outlets are calling a record windfall, banks who received taxpayer bailout money just months ago have reported a huge increase in profits. Citigroup reported a second quarter profit of $4.3 billion. Bank of America reported a profit of $2.4 billion. Goldman Sachs raked in $3.44 billion, and JP Morgan-Chase went home with a comfortable $2.7 billion.

While many would consider this a victory, banking on the idea that a prosperous Wall Street will translate to a prosperous populace, the truth of the matter is far different.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Prayer

Posted by Jack (adapted words from The Book of Common Prayer, and some pieces of the world to root them in, courtesy of The National Center on Family Homelessness)

Lord, have mercy on us. Hear our prayers.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

An Unlikely Insurgence

Posted by Jack

This piece first appeared as an article in Consp!re: Issue 2.

We sat in the bar, smoke circling our heads as we quietly sipped our drinks. It is a tradition of ours, at least once a week, to walk about our battered neighborhood as improbable ambassadors, greeting all we meet with smiles. We seek out the seediest, shadiest, sleaziest bars in town and, in the simple act of pulling up a stool, we plant a flag for Jesus.

August Speaking Dates

Posted by Jack

Hello all,
I have been invited to speak at a few events/church services this coming month. I thought I'd post the information here for the curious observer.

You know what they say about idle hands...

Posted by Jack

In a sudden burst of creative energy, we acquired the first Mulberry House Sewing machine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Consp!re: Issue 2 is Here

Posted by Jack

Hello friends and lovers,
I, on behalf of all of us here in the house, would like to apologize for our stunning lack of blog-updating lately. We've been "busy": both in the real sense that we genuinely have much to do, and in the false sense that have convinced ourselves that we are more important than we really are.

I personally intend to create time each week to post more consistently... so, if you read what we write here, you can expect more content soon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Letter to the Editor

As appeared in our local paper, The Springfield News-Sun, and on their web page here.

Anti-begging law should be repealed

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Greatest Fear

It is my fear, Christian, that you will find a decent-paying job and reside in safety and stability for the rest of your life. I fear you will live in comfort and calm, oblivious to the world outside your white picket fence. I fear you will be an upstanding citizen who goes to church three times a week, having never caused a stir. I fear you will live to a respectable old age and die peacefully in your sleep, with the covers drawn neatly around your chin. And I'm afraid your many descendants will gather around to bury you, under a shade tree, in a t-shirt that reads, "Radical Follower of Jesus Christ."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Welcome, Stranger

Posted by Jack

Several weeks ago, as a part of our efforts to reach out to the Body of Christ in the area, Tim Miller and I attended a Sunday morning service at a church in downtown Springfield.

We love this church and the members of the Body represented there.

To call this church affluent is an understatement.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Beggars can't be Choosers: It's the Law

Posted by Jack
(a) No person, either directly or indirectly, shall beg, or solicit alms or ask subsistence by charity in and upon the streets or public places of the City, or enter a dwelling, yard or enclosure without the permission of the owner or occupant thereof to beg, solicit alms or ask subsistence by charity.
(Ord. 1970. Passed 9-15-24.)

(b) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

This is an ordinance still on the books here in Springfield, OH.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Doctrinal Statement

Various questions surface from time to time about our "doctrinal positions" here at the house. In response, we now post this statement.

We believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Written on my Wall: C.S. Lewis

"Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in His great campaign of sabotage."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Underground Seminary

A project of the Mulberry House.

EDIT on 9/12/2009: Okay, we admit it... we have not officially launched this neat idea. We tried to, sort of, but in the midst of all the tangled and strenuous efforts we've been making to the house, this project has been postponed a bit. Give us some time and patience, and we will rock this idea like nobody's business!

Note: We are not THE Underground Seminary, but we are AN underground seminary.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We too can live

[The following is an article I wrote for Conspire, a new quarterly journal that some of us are working on. The article was cut due to space constraints, but it can be read in its entirety at the Conspire website]

“Quincy says people can’t change.”

The 14-year-old boy was looking at me from the passenger seat of my car.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools

I felt kind of silly standing there. I had just parked my car illegally in the street, turned on my hazard lights, and stepped out on the sidewalk. I walked over to the doorway of the abandoned building and looked down at the pile of blankets. Wrapped in those tattered quilts was a human figure, barely discernable to the disinterested observer.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Angry Conversations with God

Posted by Jack

As some of you may know, from time to time I write alongside an eclectic little group of writers known as Burnside Writers Collective.

Through my interactions with this motley crew, I met a talented friend named Susan Isaacs. Susan is a writer and performer with credits in TV, film, stage, and radio. She is also a noted comedian.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kids say the darndest things

Posted by Jack

Three stories from the past 2 weeks.

The police officer was visiting our classroom full of young children as a part of their "Safety Week" activities. She had brought along her canine partner in order to demonstrate how they search for drugs and illicit materials. As she passed out some coloring books to the children, she began to ask them questions about their experiences with the police.

"What is a police officer's job?" she asked.

A young boy in the back raised his hand.

"Police officers take daddies to jail."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lord, make us instruments of your peace

Violent crime up in city and county

By Valerie Lough, Springfield News Sun
Feb. 13, 2009

SPRINGFIELD- Violent crime in the city and in Clark County rose above the national average in 2008, according to data released by law enforcement officials.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

Posted by Jack

One of the most common questions I get here at the house goes something like this: “What are your plans?”

Everywhere I go, there is someone with a deep interest in what we are doing in Springfield, and they often frame their interest in a question about our plans.

Several folks were even pushing me to write a 6 month plan, a 1 year plan, and a 5 year plan for the growth and development of our community.

I don’t fault people for this. I genuinely appreciate their interest in us, and I admire their efforts to make us articulate just what it is we are trying to do.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jehovah Jireh

Posted by Jack

I didn’t say this to many people, but here at the house, we were down to our last dollar. For the past few months, our bank account has had a slow leak. Our money was steadily dwindling away and any income we received was inconsistent and unpredictable. I recently came to the conclusion that this coming bill cycle would drain every last penny and leave us with nothing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weed, Wings, and the Kingdom of God

Posted by Jack

I stood outside on Mulberry Street staring into the sky in amazement. Hundreds and hundreds of circling crows filled the sky. The trees across the street were full of the black birds as well, and their loud squawks and squeals demanded my attention. It was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Celebrate the Legacy of Dr. King

Not because he was a great man, but because he was an ordinary man who dared to seek God's will on earth... just as it is in heaven.

Unarmed truth, unconditional love, and the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood.

May we never forget that another world is possible...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Revolution: Why it doesn't happen in your church.

Posted by Tim

Many youth groups and some church bodies discuss from time to time the idea of revolution or revival. It is a common idea when churches seem stale or exhausted. In youth groups, the pastor will discuss (usually very excitedly) about how every kid needs to bring their friends.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coming out of the closet

Posted by Jack

As many of you know, we have a community closet here at Mulberry House. (If you didn’t know that, shame on you! Didn’t you watch the cheesy video tour?)

In fact, many of you are so familiar with the concept that you have graciously offered to donate your stuff to us… lots of your stuff.

I (Jack) have been doing some serious thinking lately (unemployment lends itself well to serious thinking), and I arrived at the conclusion that we need some clarifications in this area.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prodigals and Runaways

Posted by Jack

Tuesday, 3:00 p.m.

Your mother calls me from work. She is angry and upset that she got another call from the school about your behavior. She is more upset that you, her teenage son, hung up on her after saying, “Fuck you.”

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rich Young Ruler

A song from one of our modern day prophets, Derek Webb.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Written on my Wall: Dr. King

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Written on my Wall: Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. AMEN

Friday, January 2, 2009

Winds of Change (Apparently)

Those of you who live in the area know that we have had some strong winds recently. We certainly know it!

After leaving the house unattended for one day, we returned to find some serious carnage! Take a look...

That pile of wreckage represents the small shed we once had in our back yard. A tree was growing directly behind the shed, between the building and the fence. The force of the flying shed was enough to snap the tree off at the ground. See the tree back there?

We are going to talk to our insurance agent and see if something can be done. We really aren't sure what to expect though.

Eventually, we will need a place to store our lawnmower and outdoor tools, so if anyone can help us out with a small building, let us know!

Be careful out there, and watch for flying tool sheds.