Lou Ness

Weapons To Fight Terrorism

Nov 26, 2015

In my imagination - I hear young people sitting together asking these questions.

What will the body count be? They cannot ignore us when the streets run with blood. Everything is justified because our cause is righteous. Which of you will give your lives today? Then carnage.

They will not be the first group of human beings to act in this way and, sadly, they will not be the last. People have been acting in this way forever.

Slave traders feeling righteous about the people they kidnapped from their countries.

Something To Ask Santa For ...

Nov 5, 2015

Well, it’s coming: winter.

Most of us will pull the winter coats and gloves from dusty attic boxes and haul out corduroys, turtlenecks and sweaters.

Winter also brings the holidays … so much to anticipate!

Yet, for people who are homeless -- living in places without running water or heat (under bridges or in garbage dumpsters) -- there is nothing to pull out. The cold of the other night is merely a small taste of the Midwest winter to come.

They have dread.

Police officers are already asking me, as a police chaplain, “Where can people go?”

Just Like The Weather, We Change

Sep 24, 2015

  As I dug my hands deep into the earth looking for the sweet lovely potatoes that waited, I sensed the coming of fall. Not because the calendar would say the 21st as this week began. Rather I could feel it: the warmth of the sun on my skin and, underneath, the tingling coolness against my skin.

Is It Past Time For Being Polite?

Sep 3, 2015

A friend said this to me the other day about the Black Lives Matter movement:

“Really, don’t all lives matter?!?” He was red in the face when he spoke these words. “What do they accomplish by showing up at public meetings and being disrespectful?”

I thought about this and said, “Well, we noticed.”

Today we have cultural-competencies workshops, degrees of study on Race Relations, and I have been to the table where black people and white people sit in dialogue. It’s all so polite.

Finding Oneself In Emptiness

Aug 6, 2015

Last week a friend asked, “How is retirement?” I remarked, “I have the cleanest closets in Woodstock.”

There is a surreal feel to this moment, because it is only a moment. I will work again. I can feel something emerging and I know, if I can be patient enough, it will reveal itself to me. I want to be complete with my time at Shelter Care, wrap all the loose ends together, and open myself to the next great adventure.

Doing nothing is not a strong suit for me – I am a doer; I do things.

Putting The 'Gay' Back In Gay

Jul 16, 2015

The jubilant tones are heard across the nation: The Supreme Court has ruled marriage is an equal opportunity event for all couples!

Not everyone is lifting their voice in song. Evangelical Christians are lamenting the doom that will occur as homosexual love taints the religious shield of marriage. Feminists are wondering how their gay brothers and sisters jumped on marriage, the institution that patriarchy designed to hold women and children as property.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Jun 29, 2015

I believe in saying when something’s not working, and I believe in giving credit when it’s due.

Wednesday, June 24, I attended the swearing-in and promotion ceremony for the Rockford Police Department. Seven new recruits and seven veteran officers and two other officers were recognized for their commitment and dedication to the community.

It's All About The Budget Bout

Jun 18, 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner we have first-time contender Bruce Rauner, Governor of the great State of Illinois. In the opposing corner, we have Mike Madigan, Speaker of the House and long-time seasoned fighter …

The bell sounds and they move to the center of the ring -- jabbing, ducking and swinging.

I am not sure what round we are in, what I do know is the match is not over and Illinois is without a state budget with the new fiscal year only a couple of weeks days away.

A Woman Of A Certain Age ...

May 28, 2015

I am aging. I have fears about old age.

As I look around me, youth wins the day while older people obsess over wrinkle creams, anti-aging products and Viagra working to “keep up appearances” … and other things.

Aging in America is tough.

It’s not that I thought I would outrun aging (the alternative is…) I did think it would look better, kinder and have hidden virtues that I would grow to cherish and value as the things of youth were replaced with the wisdom of age.

When Waiting Becomes Wondering

May 14, 2015

I am waiting.

It feels as though I spend most of my life waiting.

It's an art, really. We have whole rooms assigned for people who are waiting ... and waiting. It is often masked with coffee, snacks, TV, magazines and dreamy bland music; underneath, it’s still … waiting.

Funny how something as common as waiting can change a normally calm person into an impatient, angry creature skulking in chairs … their frustration growing with each minute of waiting.

I am all about getting on with it; so waiting, for me, is a waste of time.