- The End of an Era: Chat Room is to close
- Chat Room
- Marketplace Christianity – In a Marketplace!
- Street Links 2012 – God does not show favouritism.
- Evangelism: What is it? Do you have to do it?
- Titles: “Who do the crowds say I am?”, “Who do you say I am?”, “I do not accept human testimony”.
- Why do all the charities have to be run by Christians?
- The Ministry: “I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom…”
- Heaven: “a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines”
- A Five-Year-Old Junkie and the Hungry Bandit
- You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (Jn 8:32)
- “Mission to the Marginalised”…?
- Street Theology: Justification by Faith
- Evangelism: A View from the Inside
- Sonny with a Chance
- Join us in Street Ministry
- On Earth as it is in Heaven
- It Starts: The Kingdom of God is Germinating in Ipswich
- Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? – Luke 18:7
- Evangelism: A Revolution
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 1-2 Brisbane – Sydney – Abu Dhabi – Athens
- If there’s any “Church life” in twenty years’ time… what will it look like?
- In The Mall… What’s it all about?
The End of an Era: Chat Room is to close
The Chat Room at 241 Brisbane St, a drop-in centre serving three meals a week, closes down at the end of May 2012. I wrote this poem as an experiment. It contains my reflection on the Chat Room at what that community has shown me.
As background, the smokers at Chat Room could step out the back door, where they overlook the Ipswich Line – a major coal train route to the Port of Brisbane. Looking a little further, the Bremer River, the original transport link with Brisbane for people and coal and other goods, flows.
Although the community loses a wonderful asset, there are already plans to provide other new services for the people who come there. This poem is a celebration, not a lament, because the coal trains and the river, and the drugs and the emptiness are still there, and the call, “whom shall I send” remains pregnant in the atmosphere.
My response to that call is documented here: Ipswich Mall Ministry
Coal trains grunting through the night, hauling rich cargo down to the sea.
They groan at night as they haul it through, and come back empty in the day.
The wealth of the land, taken to market. Out of the country, out of our hands.
Streams of wealth go somewhere, but only empty cars return,
going back to the mines, hollow, empty, spent.
Meanwhile the heavy laden come to Chat Room, and the smokers look over the Ipswich line.
The weary have come to find rest for their souls, as the coal trains bear their heavy yoke outside.
They’ve been hauling all their treasure to market and out of their hands. They return empty, spent.
They’re hollow and empty, but they’re back for more, straight back for more, all of it going out to sea.
Streams of wealth go somewhere, but we never see it here.
The coal train runs on narrow gauge; purposeful, straight and true.
The river be damned, says the train, “just build a bridge and get over it”.
What comes back up the line is empty, but it’s “back to the mines”, straight back for more, all of it going out to sea.
But the river keeps flowing, never emptied and never rushed, going out of the land, out of our hands.
The hungry come in to find food; the river outside yields emptiness.
The river’s polluted; it’s brackish and toxic. It’s yield can’t be eaten; it is only death.
They took coal downriver in the early days, and whole families came back up and settled here.
Now coal goes down the line, and trains bring workers up each night, hollow and spent, empty.
The water is toxic.
The thirsty drink their death.
The ice gives no warmth.
The river’s yield is death.
The hungry eat their doom.
The speed hastens the grave.
The grass goes up in smoke leaving emptiness. Nothing.
So much treasure goes down this river, out of the land, out of our hands. It flows into the sea.
Streams of wealth go somewhere, but nothing ever returns to fill the emptiness.
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
For what happened next, see the “Marketplace Evangelism” category in this blog. You will find the following articles:
What is Marketplace Christianity really? Generally, the term "Marketplace Christianity" is used to describe the way in which a believer can…
Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (Jas…
What is Evangelism? Do you have to do it? Read on... perhaps you already do! Summary: Jesus’ “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:18-20 is,…
What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet! How important are titles? I am given various titles by various…
"Why are all the charities run by Christians?" Of course I'm fully aware that it is untrue to say that "all of the charities are run by Christians"!…
What possible value can come from simply "being there"? I've begun a habit of sitting in the Ipswich Mall every Tuesday. Several people join me…
Heaven as "a banquet" There are numerous Biblical texts which liken heaven, in various ways, to a great banquet. But how is this properly used in…
People are Awesome How do you describe a day in which you meet not one, but two very special human beings? Last Tuesday, as is my custom, I…
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (Jn 8:36) I have a friend who has been set free by the truth. This is from her story. The story…
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Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? – Luke 18:7
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