Lou Ness

New Towne. The debate is fierce, the fears of the residents are alarming, and the Rockford Housing Authority is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I was at the resident meeting in Fairgrounds following the death of a young mother murdered while watching a video with her four children in their bedroom. A stray bullet went through the wall and killed her. The police arrived to find the four children hugging their mother as she lay dying on the floor.

Set Achievable Goals And Reach Them

Jan 7, 2016

We just had our first real winter storm of the season, and Farm and Fleet have their seed pods out, readying for Spring.

The New Year’s Eve party hats and noise makers have been put away. The last holiday of 2015 is gone; we have started over with new resolutions.

Right about now, I hear the thud of resolutions made for 2016 being dumped in the dead resolution bin. We all know this, it happens routinely. I have done this myself: I have even done the resolution to make no resolutions!

Coyote Symbolizes Human Dilemma

Dec 17, 2015

A coyote crossed my path last Friday. He showed up as I was driving through the congested and traffic-packed construction on the I-90 expressway.

The coyote stepped from the brush on the right side of the road and ventured onto the staging area, staring at me. I heard this question, “What are you doing here?” Emancipated and weary eyes asking, “Who are you and what have you done to my wilderness?”

Coyotes have adapted to our changing world and their loss of habitat. The coyote is growing in numbers and has staked its claim in its new world.

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.