Friday, August 15, 2008

In the Ghetto....

While in college, every couple of months or so in our weekend ministry we would have "Project Day." We would go the absolute worst areas of Chicago and invite kids to special church services we would put on. Some of the areas are pretty notorious... Cabrini Greens and Robert Taylor homes were the most popular ones.

The first time I went, I was a brand new freshman and was scared out of my mind!! We were told to smile as big as you can, always make sure they can see you are wearing a tie, never keep your hands in your pockets, let them know immediately you are from "the Indiana church," and always carry the biggest Bible you can find. Most of the older students would carry big family Bibles.

I've seen some crazy stuff while there. I've stood in a pool of blood, not knowing until it was too late. I cut my hand on a piece of glass while playing on the basketball court, needed eight stitches. Walked through several drug deals in progress. Crack-heads all over the place. Had a gun pulled on me twice.

After being there a few times, my friends and I knew what to expect. We got comfortable, too comfortable. We started pushing the envelope... probably a little too far. I don't know how we walked out alive!

One time my friend Matt was knocking on a door when a voice mumbled, "Who is it?"

"ITS MATT!" he said with a childlike exited voice.


"ITS MATT!" he said again even more exited.

Finally a woman opened the door. She was obviously hopped up on some sort of goof-balls. Her afro was sticking out all over the place and her eyes were bloodshot.

"Who are you?" she asked face to face.

"ITS MATT!" he said with the same stupid voice.

"I don't know you." She said.

"You don't know me like that. Woo! Woo!" he replied, rapping the popular Ludacris song.


"You don't know me like that. Woo! Woo!" he said again, "why you all in my ear, talkin' a whole bunch of..." he rapped even more of the song. I was down the hall doubled over laughing which just fueled ever more. He proceeded to tell her that Bill Clinton was down stairs and need her to sign a petition and she need to be there in ten minutes. She never showed up.

I have several other stories about losing kids, and playing pranks on the crack-heads. But I am too ashamed to talk about that....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Flags of our Fathers...and their husbands

I'm going to use this post as a reference for all of my college stories. For those who don't know me, I went to a far right-wing fundamental Baptist college. (We are like Shiite Baptists.) I didn't always agree with everything they taught or preached but it is a great school and I learned a lot there. I had better, I spent five (yeah 5!) and a half years there. While there I met some of my best friends who now live all over the country. Since I was perpetually living in the edge of the rule book, I walked away with some great stories. Some more believable than others...

Every weekend we spent a total of about 30 hours average in our "ministry". The ministry I was involved in was the Bus Ministry. We went to the north side of Chicago and invited families with no transportation to ride our bus to church. We started with a meeting at 8 in the morning on Saturday, then went "straight to the route "(that's a John Francis joke). We didn't get back to the dorms until 10:30 that night. We woke up at 5am in Sunday to get a bus and didn't get back until 1:30am Monday morning.

Often times on Saturday night we would finish up early and still have a little extra energy, so we put that energy to good use...

For those you who don't know, north Chicago is a popular "gay area". Jack-hammer, Banana Video, Clark's on Clark, Eagle Leather, Touche are all gay hangouts that were located on my route. My friends and I came up with an idea to "re-claim" the area back to heterosexuality. Our method? Stealing the Gay flags hanging on the front of houses!

First, we would case the house. Check to see if anyone was home and where the flag was located. Step two... rip the flag off the the pole and run like the dickens!! The first one we did, my friend Matt and I did the leg work and another kid, Joey, was our wheel-man. The flag was located on the 2nd floor of a 2 story house. We climbed the back stairs of the neighboring house unscrewed the pole and took the whole thing, pole and all. By the time we did the 4th or 5th house, we were experts. We would just run on the porch, jump off, and grab the pole! It would of course break the siding or whatever it was connected to. In total we probably stole about 10 or 12 flags. One house we stole 3 different flags.

We became legends back on campus. All the freshmen wanted to go with us, but we were a fraternity, you had to earn your spot on our roster! We ended up just passing the tradition down to the people who took over our area. I think the workers in that area are still doing it. A couple of years after we stopped some guys were telling me how they were doing it not knowing I was a part of the original crew.

The fun part was hiding the "booty" in other people's rooms...