The Alley Newspaper

These articles originally appeared in “The Alley,” the newspaper for the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.

What Did You Just Say?

Recently, a discussion about bathrooms at Peace House Community took a strange turn. I and several community members were talking about the problem we have with individuals camping out in the bathrooms. We have two bathrooms and we serve about 120 members a day, so we need everyone to get in and out quickly. The […]

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The Absurd Society

This morning, one of Peace House Community’s members stopped by to say hi. He hadn’t been here for a few months, and I was glad to see him. When I asked how he was doing, he smiled, said, “I’m doing alright”, and held up his hands to show me that all his fingers had been

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Wisdom in Unexpected Places

Occasionally, you come across wisdom in such an unexpected place that you don’t notice it until later. It’s like driving past something quickly and then thinking “Did I just see …?” I had this experience recently when I ran across one of the best commentaries I’ve ever heard about what matters in a relationship. Some

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More than Just a Game

During a recent discussion at Peace House Community regarding our favorite board games, one of our volunteers brought up some experiments that showed that people who felt they were richer than those around them became less compassionate and less willing to help others. If you’re wondering about the connection between the two, one of the

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What Price

I just came from a meeting of the Native American Unsheltered/Opioid Crisis Response group. We discussed the need for more messages encouraging people not to use drugs, rather than focusing on using drugs safely. The harm reduction approach (helping people use drugs safely to reduce the negative consequences of drug use – like death –

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Finding Peace

With one day before the deadline for this article, I can’t think of anything to write about. So, I ask one of Peace House Community’s members what topic I should tackle. “How do you find peace?” he responds. Philosophers, sages, mystics, and self-help gurus have been pondering that question for centuries, and I’m supposed to

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Silence Please

I’ve recently been reminded of the value of silence, or at least having a break from all the noise that assaults us each day. With so much negativity in the air, it can be difficult not to get infected, not to become judgmental, not to lash out or over-react, not to get overwhelmed, and not

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To the Unsung Heroes

Today I attended the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ annual conference, and I got to see four people receive Unsung Heroes awards for work they have done to improve their communities. As you would guess, these individuals go about their volunteering quietly, but their dedication and concern has inspired others. I love the idea of unsung

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A Special Thank-you

From last November until mid-August, a homeless encampment occupied the vacant lots behind Peace House Community. Over the months various people came and went from the camp, bringing with them tents, bicycles, generators, and a host of other items. Many others stopped by during the day and the night, sometimes to say hi to friends

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