Good morning!

Dads gonna dad on this one:

CHICAGO (WGN) – When Trevor Williams signed with the Chicago Cubs this offseason, it was a dream come true — for his dad.

“I’m a little league dad, what am I doing here with a son on the team,” joked Richard Williams outside of Wrigley Field.

Richard Williams grew up on the South Side, taking the “L” (train) to Wrigley as a teenager.

“I came out here a lot. I was just a crazy Cubs fan,” he said.

Williams even worked at Wrigley from 1970 to 1974 as an usher, and still has his uniform.

He joined the Marine Corps and settled in San Diego, where Trevor was born 29 years ago. Through high school, college, then the pros, Richard was always watching and always keeping score.

“I think he’s kept score since I was in T-ball,” noted Trevor. “He’s got scorebooks going back years. The consistency that he has shown, showing up to games, is something I don’t take for granted.”

But in the fall of 2015, with Trevor in Triple-A, Richard wasn’t sure how much longer he’d be able to show up. Diagnosed with double B-cell lymphoma, Richard was given 60-90 days to live. He went through months of in-patient chemo and radiation.

“I just wanted to make it to Thanksgiving that year, let alone spring training or anything else,” he remembers.

One year later, on September 7, 2016, he was in the stands in Pittsburgh for Trevor’s Major League debut.

“I’m the luckiest guy alive,” remarked Richard. “I watch the sunrise and I wink at the sunset. I use the ‘Game of Thrones’ reference when I wink at that sunset. ‘Not today. God of Death, you did not get me today.’”

More than five years after defying his diagnosis, Richard never wants to miss another chance to keep score for his son.

“I quit trying to be the richest man in the cemetery,” he said.

Williams sold an apartment building so he could pay to follow Trevor around the country.

Thinking outside “da block”:

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer, and often a violent one in Chicago, but several community groups have partnered to keep the peace.

A party at 67th Street and Hermitage Avenue was put together by a group called "Think Outside Da Block." The event included games and music for everyone from young children to adults, including bouncy houses and other attractions.

In one corner, kids were getting pony rides, and in another they were getting their faces painted. There was a giant chess board for big kids and plenty of food for a picnic atmosphere.

There was a petting zoo with animals many city kids rarely see up close.

"It's always great to come back to our community to do great things," Shohn Williams said.

SBC and the stories of abused, wounded women, by Mary DeMuth:

As the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention nears, I can’t help but remember my time there two years ago. It was a time of anticipation, of hope, of seeing light pierce the darkness of sexual abuse. The powers that be wanted to put a spotlight on that very real issue within the church–and rightly so. The Houston Chronicle piece about numerous abusers in our midst being shuffled here and there between congregations without penalty, and certainly without transparency, had rocked the evangelical world. The issue became a PR nightmare for the Southern Baptists, as you can imagine.

Enter survivors like me (along with so many other important voices within and without the convention.) I will not speak for them, however, as they have their own stories to tell about these events. But I can say this: I shared my vulnerability both at the convention and at the ERLC Caring Well Conference. For the sake of the gospel and my love of the church, I sacrificed pieces of my narrative for public consumption.

There is always risk when you share your story. I understand that down to my bones. I have shared often for decades now, weighing risks against benefits, and I’ve have found mostly benefits. Why? Because sharing these in-the-dark stories helps others feel less alone. It dignifies other people’s narratives. It renders a blow to the enemy of our souls who uses sexual abuse as one of his greatest weapons against humanity.

The sad thing is that he also uses complacency and silence, particularly in the church’s response to abuse.

The Southern Baptist Convention, in the intervening years after all that vulnerability by survivors, has tended toward complacency and silence. A flurry of good happened in the aftermath of the convention and the Caring Well conference, but of late we’re seeing a shrinking back, and a hustle toward reputation management–once again. I’m literally sickened by it. (My stomach is aching as I write this). Those who have gone before me, who have advocated much longer within this behemoth called the SBC, warned this would happen, and they were right. It would appear to be a show of support for survivors when the PR spotlight was hot, but when the world moved on to other news, the SBC powers-that-be would quietly slip from godly fear (doing the right thing no matter what) toward a cowardly fear of shareholders’s opinions.

Two pastors, two stories, one history, now told:

Last weekend, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, two preachers — one Black, one White — stood on stage at a suburban church.

They faced each other, held hands and bowed their heads.

“Help us, Father, to learn to erase the past and live for the future … as one in Christ,” prayed Tim Luster, the Black minister.

After the final amen, Luster leaned forward, hugged Tim Pyles, the White minister, and said softly, “God bless you, man.”

The interaction came at the end of a 45-minute dialogue on racism that emphasized the massacre’s centennial, which was commemorated on Monday and Tuesday.

On May 31-June 1, 1921, White mob violence destroyed Tulsa’s Greenwood District — an affluent African American community known as “Black Wall Street” — and claimed as many as 300 lives.

Last Sunday’s Bible class discussion resulted from a five-year racial unity effort between the Broken Arrow Church of Christ, about 15 miles southeast of Tulsa, and the North Sheridan Church of Christ in Tulsa.

The 500-member Broken Arrow church, where Pyles preaches, is predominantly White.

The 100-member North Sheridan church, which Luster serves, is about 60 percent Black and 40 percent White.

The two churches started getting together in 2016 — in the spring at Broken Arrow and in the fall at North Sheridan — after a White police officer shot an unarmed Black man in Tulsa.

This too:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Hundreds gathered Monday for an interfaith service dedicating a prayer wall outside historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood on the centennial of the first day of one of the deadliest racist massacres in the nation.

National civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and William Barber, joined multiple local faith leaders offering prayers and remarks outside the church that was largely destroyed when a white mob descended on the prosperous Black neighborhood in 1921, burning, killing, looting and leveling a 35-square-block area. Estimates of the death toll range from dozens to 300.

Learning from the least of these:

One of the deep fears of the church today is what appears to be a continuous spiral into disunity. The picture-perfect façade which has become “normal” that Sunday morning attendees wear as a mask (figurative and literal these days) gets ripped off as the reality of life crashes into them the moment they exhale in their car after service. Look at our world today afresh with racism, sexism, abuse, just to name a few societal ills. We as the church have been asking the question, “How do we find unity within the Kingdom of God?”

I want to suggest there is an unlikely, unfiltered group that may help us toward a deeper unity. How is it that God tends to use “the least of these” to teach us how to become more like him? Seen as the most discounted and ignored community, people with disabilities challenge the toleration of divisions and disunity and bring forth an unfiltered way of life that may enable society to bridge these intractable gaps.

A number of years ago, my little brother Zach who, in very simple terms, was born with part of his brain missing, my dad, and I decided to take an afternoon trip to grab some warm drinks for the new fall weather. Pulling up to the Starbucks, Zach was excited to get inside for a number of reasons. First, for his drink, which he had all planned out and was going to order by himself. (He made sure to specify that he was going to order his drink on his own at least five times on the way there to make sure my dad and I were on the same page). Second, he would get to meet people in the Starbucks, introduce himself, and ask them various questions such as, “What were you for Halloween?” and “What did you have for dinner last night?”