Get up and get a LIFE!

A Word from Mack Volume 21, Issue 3 Winter 2016-2017 This experience which we call, “Life,” is just altogether too large for words. I mean, sometimes the days are so slow it’s like watching an inch worm drag itself across a brick. And at times the speed of passing years leaves you breathless almost approaching the speed of light itself. Remember when Sinatra sang: “For it’s a long, long while from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September.”? Well, I remember when I was a youngster, each and every day seemed like a 700-page adventure novel being read and lived in slow motion. You just pay more attention to everything back then. And how strange that it seems like just an eye-blink away. Yesterday! I was with my Mom and Dad for my big sister’s first “Back to School” night for Miss Doyle’s first grade class at Creswell Elementary School. Those first graders in her class appeared to me to be the oldest, wisest, most suave and sophisticated folks I had ever seen. After a month at school they were throwing their weight around in front of all the little brothers and sisters still shadowing their moms and dads. I first met Tommy Watts that night. His big brother, Jack, was in my big sister’s class. Two years later, Tommy and I strutted around as omnipotent-omniscient six-year-olds in front of the “little kids” at our own “Back to School” night. We went all of the way through high school commencement together. Blink. I didn’t see Tommy again for 31 years. Different colleges, different careers,...

Evidence That Compels a Verdict

A Word from Mack Volume 21, Issue 2 Fall 2016 It was the end of the summer of ’93. Equipped with a pitcher of ice water and armed with a yellow legal pad and a ball-point pen, I spent three mornings in a row under the big picnic umbrella out on our deck in a one person “retreat.” My marching orders came directly from the morning newspaper and the evening television news as well as hearing the moans of my friends. To me, it was like hearing both Taps and Reveille at one and the same time. It had been a summer filled with drive-by shootings, drug arrests, and disasters in family life all combining in the saddest ever citywide funeral cortège slowly winding its way through every soul and street draping us in black crepe. Taps …the nighttime is upon us. Now I can say it. In those three days, I not only heard the soulful sound of the twilight, I just as surely was jerked awake by the crackle of a bugle playing Reveille …wake up and get up. So I was out on my deck with pen and paper in hand to muster some solution that could model a city rising to wholeness for others to see. Trust me. I wasn’t sitting out there as an inventor. I wish I was that smart and creative. But I am simply not. No, I was just there as a “recording secretary” with my yellow legal pad taking the minutes of the answers of all the generations that had gone before. Think of the genuinely revealed answers to our...

An Open Letter Regarding Allendale and I-49

Dear Friends, Community Renewal International has worked for twenty-one years to build relationships throughout the city to meet the goal of “One community connected together through caring.” Our sole purpose is in uniting people together through our common capacity to care for one another. It is important to comprehend the nature of our work and the goal we have for our community in order to understand the position of Community Renewal International in relation to the current I-49 discussion and an inner-city corridor through the Allendale neighborhood. Recently, as the I-49 issue has taken center stage, we at Community Renewal have heard many people from both sides of the debate state what they have perceived CRI’s position to be on this issue. Community Renewal International has had no official corporate position until the publishing of this letter. We as an organization have taken no steps to either encourage or discourage the building of the inner-city connector. That is not our mission. We are relationship builders and do not participate in political issues as an organization. We never have and we never will. CRI works to heal our divisions whatever they may be or wherever they arise. Political issues can be very destructive to the foundational core of the relational work that we exist to do! We even mandate that every Haven House Block Leader agree not to display political yard signs because it can immediately hinder the work of building positive neighborhood friendships. We are clear on this mandate for our whole organization. Despite this core principle for us, there seems to be some confusion related to CRI and...