Hot Doug’s: The End of an Era

Chicago strikes me as the quintessential American city, for good and bad by the way. I love New York, but to me that’s not an American city, that’s much more of a world city.

-Doug Sohn, recorded by Sarah Collins, What Hot Doug’s taught Doug Sohn about Chicagoans”, Chicago Sun Times

Today marks the closing of Hot Doug’s, a hot dog joint in Chicago of national acclaim. I have been following the ramp up to the closing day because each day the lines got longer. My parents live about two blocks away from the restaurant and the line would often pass their house. From my dad just an hour ago:

“And people camped out overnight in the rain to get a sausage today. It was a 12 hour wait last weekend! Crazy!”

Yes, that is crazy! However, I think it speaks to two things: just how good the sausages are and the overall popularity that Hot Doug’s has achieved while in business for the last eleven years. There is even a documentary being filmed about the store’s success!

More importantly, and the reason why I wanted to link to this article, Doug Sohn seems to get Chicago in a way that very few people who have not lived there and loved it can. Aside from the above-quoted item, I will leave you with my actual favorite quote, but the article is short, so just go read the whole thing.

But there is, there does seem to be this real bond, this common trait running through people who are from here or who have lived here for a stretch or have a desire to live here.

Note: I am linking to an Instapaper Text version of the article because the Chicago Sun Times website was giving my a seizure from scrolling stutter and yes, this is the 21st century.

(via retweet by Mr. Lee Russel)

UPDATE: Another great article about Hot Doug’s comes from Crain’s Chicago Business.

(via Daring Fireball)


Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.