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Crime in Beaverton, Oregon, Part III…Justice Unserved

A long, long time ago, in a land not so far away, a baby was born. Not just any baby, but one whose life purpose was already indelibly stamped on his heart. He was to become the Guardian of Beaverton, Oregon, USA. He would to go on protect the sanctity of the city, defend its honor, and see to it that all who entered into its boundaries were of sufficient spiritual stature so as to not pull the city down into degradation and moral turpitude.

And so…there he was that day in February, lo these many decades later! Yes, born for such a time as this!

The officer, observing the crime unfold, strode up to Larry Reynolds, excuse me, the nameless cur and wrote him a ticket for obstructing traffic. $250 fine. He also informed Larry Reynolds, the villain whose name shall never pass my lips as long as shall I live, that he was not welcome in Beaverton, Oregon, a fine upstanding, American, city.

Crime Scene Photo

Justice served? Not so fast…

Long story short, a shyster lawyer was found, the fine reduced to eight hours, one crummy day, of community service by some atheist; liberal…no doubt; Socialist…for sure; Communist…perhaps, judge. In late April of 2010 could you feel a disturbance in the Western American Moral Fiber Force? (You know what lack of fiber does.) Did you sense that our coast began tipping in the direction of Hell? Did you then, and even now, fear that God’s judgment was going to rain upon our land because a homeless man went virtually unpunished for the crime of stepping one foot into the street? I did.

Dear Lord, how far we have fallen. Have mercy upon us.

Tomorrow: A Modest Proposal

Crime in Beaverton, Oregon…Part Duex

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Warning: May I suggest at this juncture that you prevent anyone under 23 years of age from viewing the description that follows  lest they be corrupted or horribly maimed in emotion and/or spirit as a result of such viewing? YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Once upon a time (February, 2010) there was a man panhandling in Beaverton Oregon, a city of upstanding, right living, folks.. On this particular day as he was holding his sign a truck stopped and the driver proffered a dollar bill.

Larry Reynolds, that is to say this unnamed crazed criminal, stepped one foot into the street to retrieve the dollar bill from the outstretched hand of the misguidedly generous citizen. My God! One foot into the street! Yes, dear reader, I said, “One foot into the street!” A searing mental picture. Forgive me for even uttering the words.

Perhaps, the crime spree of the new millennium. If not, close to it.

To be continued…

Crime in Beaverton, Oregon

I used to have a friend, I won’t tell you that his name is Larry Reynolds because if you were to meet him at some time in the future and you connected his name with the crime he committed there would be no hope of future relationship and if his crime is forgivable by God and if he were to repent we must all, reluctantly, forgive even though as we shall see, we could never forget. You will, of course, see why I cut off all relationship with him, why I could no longer look him in the eye or call him friend once I tell you of his crime and the travesty of justice that ensued.

This is the story of heinous behavior underpunished by a liberal establishment that is soft on crime and squeamish about retribution even when demanded by all that is holy.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

To be continued…

Joe

He picked me up Friday night about 6:45 at the Enterprise car rental place on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma’s seedy South End. Yellow Cab guy. So what was I doing on the Enterprise car rental place on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma’s seedy South End? And why did I need a cab if I was in a car rental place? Don’t ask. It had been a really draggy two days…and wet.

So as we were chatting on the way to Lakewood Towne Center to pick up my mostly dead truck I found out that his name was Joe. I also found out that Joe really knew the streets of Tacoma’s seedy South End. I also, also discovered that Joe is homeless. Lost his house, which he had owned for 14 years, in August of 2009. His house payment (adjustable rate) went from $800 a month to $1500 in a period of about four years. Joe makes about $800 a month. The math is pretty simple. Fortunately the bank that made this delightful economic device got bailout money and can continue to serve folks like Joe.

Here’s how the cabby thing works. Joe pays $72 per day to rent the cab and buys his own gasoline. To say that his vehicle was a full-sized model would be somewhat of an understatement. More like a land yacht. So it costs him at least $100 a day just to end up at zero. Due to the deregulated (saving the consumer almost nothing) taxicab industry in Tacoma there are many days when he ends up in the hole by $20 or $30. He drives 12 hour shifts several days a week to make his 800 every month.

I kinda lied. Joe is not exactly homeless; he lives in a trailer that has electricity but no water at all. The funny thing is, though, he doesn’t seem bitter. I, on the other hand, take a severe emotional downswing when my truck craps out on me and I have to hassle for a couple of days. Maybe this guy has something to teach me.

Quack

It’s 5AM on my day off when I’m awakened from a dead sleep that was planned to extend till eight. “Caw! Caw! Caw!” The same monotonous revelry that I hear so many summer mornings.

“Those damn ducks,” I think bitterly, shutting my ears against the onslaught with a pillow. Those raucous hellraisers with their little orange webbed feet clinging to the branches just outside my window. Their tiny ducklings all lined up in single file. Downey. Hah! I’d like to grab them by their cute, flat little bills and ring their collective necks.

OK. Ok. So the “caw” didn’t conjure up visions of a herd (flock? Gaggle? Fluffle? Band?) of quackers. I knew that I was being besieged by a gang (proper term) of crows. Why? Because ducks quack. Crows caw. Scientific fact. Had the crows decided to attire themselves in adorable little duck costumes, as soon as they opened their faux duckbills, their ruse would have been discovered. Even by me, and I’m not known as the town genius.

Ducks, by any other name, quack. They have tails they wag from time to time. Orange, webby feet. Waddle. Toss a duckling in the water and it swims around happily.

Toss a crowling in the water and what follows is a frantic scene followed by sinking like a rock. I’m not an expert in crow parent-child relationships but I assume that its parents will sit in a tree by the shore and Caw! Caw! Caw! in dismay. Not being much for swimming, that’s about the best they can do.

Ducks are ducks. Crows are crows. The difference is observable. Any ninny can tell the difference.

“Thanks, Ken for the amazing zoology lesson. But what does it all mean? I mean, what’s the point?”

Actually, I am, at this stage of my career, becoming fascinated with ornithology, that’s all. No wait, now I remember…allegory…metaphor…truth shrouded in mists of the eternal. Yeah, that’s it.

Recently I’ve noticed on Facebook, in blogs, and elsewhere a rash of comments, “statuses”, and articles expressing shock and outrage (not, it should be pointed out: shock and awe. That’s been done.) at the antics of certain segments of the “evangelical” arm of the church. We need to condemn their behavior, words, etc. We need to rise up and clean house. We need to…

Hey, check this out: Personal holiness as Job One (to the point of hiding one’s own brokenness from others)? Obsessed with safety and security against a dangerous and unpredictable world? Waiting excitedly for heaven? Wealth and its trappings proof of God’s blessing for a life well lived? Fear and/or hatred of anyone who believes differently, looks different, doesn’t fall in line with our (therefore God’s) ways? Ignore those who have less of whatever we have more of? Willingly, even joyfully, send our sons and daughters off to fight in quagmire wars against the infidel, for God and country? Take in, consolidate and protect what comes our way? Demand that our kids be like us? Make all issues us-and-them pitched battles? Build financial empire churches for God’s Glory? ETC.  Caw. Caw. Caw…caw, caw.

Willing to sacrifice personal safety and security so that others can participate in America’s vast wealth? Realize that about half the world’s Christians go to sleep hungry every night through no fault of their own? Embrace others, though different, as “us”? Abhor violence by nations as a shame and smudge on God’s name? Kindness and love, in tangible expression, as Job One? Take in, consolidate and give away? Unconcerned with heaven because we’re busy loving people now? Quack

[Editor’s note: Queue the tympanis, Bring up the horn section; the triumphal conclusion is at hand.]

Here’s a concept: when you hear, “Caw.” “Caw.” “Caw.” to the right; let it go. You know exactly what you’re hearing no matter how they self-label. We’ve got work to do.

It is potentially fruitful to spend time and energy on crows who claim crowness. Their self-label and reality match. Crows who claim duckness, however, are mostly a waste of time.

Jeff and Some Others

Jeff Shaffer is the pastor of an amazing church in Pershing Park on the west (?) side of Santa Barbara. The other day he took me to meet some of his folks. The three guys were working their way through a bottle of cheap vodka, laughing and telling stories. Beautiful men clearly bearing the scars of an unfriendly world, yet they immediately accepted me as one of their own. Each one in turn expressed, with much affection, the fact that Jeff is his pastor.

crowd III

From time to time folks looking in from the outside suggest that Jeff (and HOMEpdx, for that matter) form them into a “real” church more along the lines of what you and I know. Just seems to be the right thing to do. Give them what we have.

Here’s what that type of thought process looks like to me: “Jeff (Ken, Kathy, Dustin), you have a beautiful, kaleidoscopic, organic, silk purse here. May we offer in it’s stead a sow’s ear just like the one we have?”*worship II

worship

Jeff Shaffer (HOME, One-For-One, The Refuge, too) has stripped away everything about church that is unnecessary. All we have left is the love.

*What we do would clearly be a sow’s ear in another setting. Location. Location. Location.

Three Guys and Jesus

Almost nobody in Portland has gear for seventeen degrees because it never gets that cold here…except yesterday…and this week…maybe next.

bags

So I was out with a couple of huge, IKEA bags jammed full of stuff. Socks, tarps, two sleeping bags, hoodies, hats, gloves and, best of all, hand warmers. At one point I ran across three guys huddled together in a small alcove, trying to escape the wind.

“You guys cold?” The cosmic absurdity of that query hit me just as the words left my mouth. Too late to retrieve them, though.  Then, “Want some handwarmers?”

Guy #1 took the four pair I handed him and, as I fumbled for more, gave one each to his buddies. Now he had two and the others had one each. #1 fiddled with the extra handwarmer, twirling it in his fingers uncomfortably. An imbalance. What to do? I gave four each to his friends and without a word they each handed one back  to their generous friend. Balance achieved!

I think there is a tincture of Jesus in most, maybe all, people. It shows itself in the form of love, sharing, taking in then giving away, even to our own hurt. Would these guys name the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior, World Without End, Amen? I don’t know, I didn’t ask, but I observed His life coursing through their veins in that moment.

Three friends of mine

It happens often in downtown Portland, Oregon among the “least” of these.

Apple Pie

“To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe” Carl Sagan

Chicken or the egg?

Chicken or the egg?

Carl is, I think, telling me that we at HOME didn’t invent loving those who have less of what we have more of. Sad.

Others came before; others will follow. Apparently we’re not the center of the love universe. That’s good…

Which one?

I’ve noticed over the years that some churches take in (money, talent, goods, etc.), consolidate, and protect. Others take in, consolidate, and give away. Which one do you attend?

2guys+dog

I’ve noticed over the years that some people take in (money, talent, goods, etc.), consolidate, and protect. Others take in, consolidate, and give away. Which one are you?

Which one looks most like Jesus?

The Awful Thing

[WARNING! Some content is not suitable for all people. Explicit description follows.]

It was last spring, I think, a cold, damp and windy day in Portland. Ah, spring in P-Town.

I pulled my 1990 Chevy blazer into the parking lot under the bridge. My truck is what is known as “a beater”, dying by pieces. A decade or more ago the air conditioning quit and then to make life more miserable, last summer, the power windows malfunctioned so that every time I now lower the Windows the panes of glass fall down inside the door – and stay there. The speedometer no longer works so I drive really, really slowly (except for the speeding ticket). The passenger door doesn’t open from the outside. And so it goes.

Jester

Jester

Before I could pull to a stop Jester came flying my direction. A great demented apparition, coattails flapping his wake.  His eyes were wide with terror as he approached, “Ken, you gotta see this. Hurry!” I leaped from my decrepit vehicle and raced to the scene of…I knew not what.

Well, the “what” was a circle of about 50 or 60 frightened men standing in a circle spaced about 25 feet away from a black object laying at the center; silent and grim faced. No one greeted me or even looked up but continued stare at the what was before them. I walked over to scope out the situation. There before me was a huge d….. Um… well, thing. An awful thing. A horrid thing. I would calculate its length to be 9 to 11 inches. I didn’t have a tape measure handy so this, of course, is just a guestamate. Its girth was that of a Tapatio bottle halfway between the 5 and 7.7-ounce sizes. In addition, it was fully anatomically complete and correct other than, of course, it’s massive size. I loped back to the truck, got a garbage bag and quickly returned to the scene.  Turning it inside out as one does when scooping poop for a pet, I picked up the…ah…object, turned the bag right-side-out, pulled the drawstrings tight and tied them. Heavy.

About 50 feet away is a chain-link fence enclosure that has dumpsters that we “borrow” from time to time for our garbage. I twirled the bag and its odious contents like a hammer thrower (gingerly, lest The Thing escape its confines) and let fly over the fence. It sailed perfectly towards its apogee, that is, until one of the ties caught on the top of the fence. It hung in the air, parallel to the ground, its contents straining to be free from it’s plastic prison, for a seeming eternity and then crashed back with a resounding chain-linkey tinkle/thud. Too much ginger. I started to climb the fence to untsick it and try again but thought better of it.

The foe was vanquished. The Dragon was slain. The enemy, defeated. Long live me. With visions dancing in my mind of the triumphal scene in Aida, I walked back to my grateful subjects. Soon the chorus of hundreds (skip the elephants if they wish) would begin. “He has slain His thousands, yea, His ten thousands. We worship and honor Him; our Prince, our Conquering General, our…our god. Ken Loyd with one “L”. May he live forever. May all his deepest desires be fulfilled. May his…”

Somebody said, “Where’s the coffee?” Another, “Hey, Ken, how’s it goin’?” Still another, “You got any sox?” They were now arranged in random clumps scattered about under the bridge chatting, joking and generally fooling around. Not one word about my heroism. Not one word about the…um…item. Not then or ever. It was gone, that’s all that mattered.

Such is the life of a utility outfielder. AKA Mother/Father/leader.

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