Pastor Jeff’s Full Blog Posts
In the early part of 1969 my non white, re-education about the issue of race began.I was stationed in Fort Jackson South Carolina, for General supply school. I was a White 18 year old male from an upper Middle class family. My first day there I discovered that I was the only white person in the entire company.Almost didn’t make it through the first couple of days. If it weren’t for Marvin and Phillip two black guys, who took me under wing and decided to educate me. Part of the education was a trip to their home in the heart of Mississippi. Those were the days when whites went in one door and coloreds went into another. Where a Black man in uniform was not allowed to stand on the same side walk as a white man and had to look down when a white man passed.
Fast forward 4 years. I am being rescued by a Mr. Cleavland Harrison Brooks, who took pity on me, when a protest in Oakland California for Peace, went suddenly wrong. The police were swinging clubs and Mr. Brooks grabbed my arm and pulled me towards an open door which was his house. I didn’t know the man and he didn’t know me. I thanked him and asked why he had saved me? He said the strangest thing, You have the smell of one who’s seen the truth.
Then we had some coffee and chatted. He was in his 70s and he told me many things but the one thing he repeated over and over again is “why there will never be peace in this world til the Lord comes back”. Fear and Hate. The parents pass it on to their kids. White, Blacks, Indians and Asians and Mexicans they all do it and so nothin’ changes. Then he took me by the shoulders and said “if we don’t start forgiven and lettin’ go we’ll never be free. Ya understand” he yelled and with a shake he let me go…..and then apologized and I forgave him.
Mr. Brooks and I became good friends and when he introduced me to his son and daughter or to friends he’d always say, He’s got the smell of one who’s seen the truth….and they would all nod and smile.
I step outside some guy has a girl cowering into the fence with her arm over her head and his arm raised for another blow.
In my soft voice I command him to stop. I am now walking towards him my cell phone primed for the send button to call in help. I order him to step away from the girl and he complies and the girl makes a dash for the street following the fence line and I have moved into a position between her attacker and her path of escape.
The attacker is telling me how I am going to pay for my interfering. It is then that I hear a sound I have not heard in a long time: the sliding of a Bolt on a semi auto rifle and the words, “I got your back, Pastor.”
Then the place lit up like a Christmas tree with reds and blues and whites and a county mounty behind the fence with a M16 and a Gresham cop coming through the basket ball courts. Apparently the neighbors were busy on the phones.
Bad guy is no longer homeless, the girl is safely in custody also, and I am having an adrenalin rush…….
Yesterday afternoon Yvan was preparing to walk to the church office to play on the computer. I was looking out the window and there was this guy sitting on one of the Planter Boxes. We were closed and in fact all the shelters and day centers were closed. So I went with her just in case this was one of our less friendly guys.
As it turned out he was just sitting there wringing out his socks and trying to rub in some warmth to his cold feet. So I went and got him a pair of thick warm socks which he graciously accepted and then asked if there was a remote possibility of some food or even a loaf of bread.
So I got to make him a hot meal with some fresh fruit and a large cup of hot coffee. I told him we be open tomorrow on Christmas day and gave him the times and that there would be hot food and showers. Then I asked him if he had a camp and he didn’t so I told him the front porch on the house was open and he thanked me for that and then I went in to get him a refill on the coffee and when I came out he was gone.
Not gone like walked off, gone as in Gone. I went to the street he wasn’t there, nor at the porch, nor traversing the park, just Poof Gone!
Now that’s what I call a Christmas presence………..
In the wee hours of the morning I am having a dream where out in the park is a man standing with a large long knife challenging me to come forth and do battle with him. His challenge is PASTOR JEFF YOU@##****@ COME FIGHT ME IF YOU DARE……
It is so real that it forces me to wake up and raise my head from my pillow. It is then that I discover it is not a dream. I am almost tempted to rise but then I thought, No I will send the Lord in my stead and I called out to the Lord and it began to rain heavily.
My challenger cursed the rain and it rained all the more harder and then I heard the voice yell NEXT TIME PASTOR NEXT TIME.
As I lowered myself back into bed and under the covers I said to myself next time I will just do the same thing.
Before the shrinks came up with the title of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) they defined our outburst as an “anxiety attack”. We were prescribed various forms of medications that cost huge amounts of money that we didn’t have and the Government denied they caused anything.
When I became a Christian I went to a Christian counselor who said it was a spiritual attack from the Devil and then prescribed the same meds that I couldn’t afford that the secular guys did.
Then another said I was never to marry and to definitely not have kids. I said “I am married and I have a son.” So he prescribed the same meds the other two had and sent me on my way.
It was in the early 80s when I was watching a movie called the Karate Kid and Daniel was all stressed out and Mr. Miyagi showed him a breathing exercise. So the next time I got stressed out I tried it out. Focusing only on the breathing and letting everything else go. It worked and in a few minutes my stress levels dissipated like smoke in the wind.
Ya know Christian leaders talk about a lot of stuff but they don’t teach ya how to do it. Like meditation. I learned *HOW* to meditate from a Tibetan monk in southeast Portland. He was the only one who would take time to walk me through it step by step. Now I can zone out into the spirit realm and hang with God and the Holy Spirit any time without going through a lot of religious rituals.
So I guess the point of this little rant is the acronym KISS: Keep It Simple, Saint. If you want to know more let me know and we can talk on line or if you’re in the Portland Metro area face to face.