The Dumbing Down of Love

Frou Frou

Well painted passion
You rightly suspect
The dumbing down of love
Jaded in anger
Love underwhelms you
No box of chocolates
Whichever way you fall

And if I tell you
Lover alone without love
What will happen
Lover alone without love
Will you listen?
Lover alone without, without love

No, no I’ll get this
I want to treat you
You’re still not famous
And you haven’t struck it rich
‘Cause no one’s receiving
This tunnel vision
It’s turning out all wrong

And if I tell you
Lover alone without love
What will happen
Lover alone without love
Will you listen?
Love alone without, without love

Music is worthless unless it can
Make a complete stranger
Break down and cry

And if I tell you
Lover alone without love
And what will happen
Lover alone without love
And will you listen?
Lover alone without, without love

Without love
Without love

Listen while you read.

I drove downtown and talked with the guy who runs Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission today to see if I can volunteer/intern over the course of the summer. It’s a go. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this meeting and figured the only work I would be doing is the occasional welcoming of the homeless and office grunt work in the back to make sure things go according to order. Turns out God had something else in store for me; something else far more demanding and frightening, I’ll admit. When working I’ll be the go-to guy, the man up front at the desk, and the first person people see upon entry. As John, my boss, puts it, I’ll be “the face of Jesus that people first see and remember.” Or, at least, that’s the goal.

John had been working on the upper level of the mission for the past year and a half catering to the homeless that just get out of the hospital and are directed here. He reminisced about how great the job was because it consisted of casual conversation and pinnacle day after day. He’d been a youth pastor in the mid-west years prior to this job in a church that was all about packing stats when it came to attendance, so his heart in sharing with the kids the importance of caring for the needy was often side-shafted. By God’s often convicting and demanding voice, he got a calling to come out here, took the position, worked upstairs, and began to witness the poor quality of service given to the homeless upon initial arrival. The system went a little bit like this:

A homeless man walks in saying he wants to change. He is given room and board and is automatically put at the front desk to welcome other homeless men. This works out for a couple of hours as the drive for reform is still prevalent, but soon it withers away and dissension occurs between the welcome and the next homeless chap. The man wanting to change gives up out of frustration, and throws himself back out on the streets. Another man comes up wanting to change and the cycle begins again.

John saw this, began complaining to the head honcho of the mission, and before he knew it was taken out of his sweet position of card playin’ and easy conversation and became immersed into the role of making sure that when the homeless walk in needing something, their services are provided for not only adequately, but excellently. That’s why his new vision is to have devoted college kids, people with hope and a heart to see the oppressed loved, come and be the core part of the guest welcoming services. Hence the reason I got the position.

In light of the problem of the past system, I want to touch on one last point. The crisis when it comes to the homeless isn’t that they are lacking resources. There’s plenty of food and jobs if any of these people wanted them, especially in the Seattle area. The problem with the homeless is that they don’t understand relationships. Many of them aren’t on the streets because they had a tough loss due to the economy or because they lost a settlement in some court issue (not to say there aren’t, because it does happen). They’re on the streets because they haven’t had the experience of loving relationships that so many of us take for granted. For example, if I suddenly lost all my money and couldn’t afford to buy food or pay for rent, I know I could go back to Boise and live with my family for as long as it takes to get myself back together. Heck, I have multiple friends that would let me crash at their place until I got my next paycheck or whatever. And I’m sure all of you reading this have the same opportunity as well. The homeless don’t, however, at least on the scale in which we live. They are people who come from broken homes where drugs and alcohol became coping mechanisms and family is nothing more than an abusive place where everything but love dwells.

But these people are more than just outcasts looking for a home. They’re people of dignity and worth seeking the same thing everybody else in this world so intently strives for – love. So what am I going to be doing this summer aside from working in an ASSP office, having light saber battles with a seven-year-old, and sleeping in clothing donation bins? I’ll be the guy at the front desk of UGM learning what it means to be the Good Samaritan and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to anybody who wants to listen. There’s going to be over 2,000 people sleeping on the streets of our city tonight, and my prayer for them is that they can know love and relationship as we do.

“What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” – 1 John 1:3-4


~ by Chris Kyle on June 22, 2009.

One Response to “The Dumbing Down of Love”

  1. That’s soo good Chris. Congrats on the new position! God is really using you and it’s so amazing to see how he is doing it.


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