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This is from the journal’s owner, Mary, to all her friends who will write over the next 30 years.

1821-1850

1st
Gladly I’d twine a wreath for thee
From friendships fair unfading tree
And bid it bloom unceasingly

To slain thy hours of loneliness


2nd
but where shall this rare plant be found.
does it eve grow, on the earthly ground
or only grace some heavenly mound


amid those lovers of happiness

3rd
It sometimes blooms neath suns bright skies
But when misfortune blasts arise
Quickly the sunshine friendship dies
and leaves but dull formality

4
Some bird of origin divine
I’ll seek to form this wreath of thine
plucked from the withering bond of time
to bloom for thee eternally

5th
nor i alone this wreath will twine
but all thy friends who trace a line

in this nespitle (?) of thine
shall form this wreath for thee

6th
this album then a wreath for thee
and every name a flower shall be
a pure bright gem of constancy
sacred to love and memory

Mary E. Harlow

Hello, hope you are well!

If you could get this message out as many people as you feel comfortable forwarding to, that would be greatly appreciated. It has to be done soon though.

Praise the lord that God has freed us and chosen us to bring forth his word and love through his son Jesus Christ.

In January I made a video for an authors book release. It was a competition between six filmmakers and their interpretation of a single page from the authors book.

When I was picked I saw this opportunity to continue in the path the Lord has set before me to become move involved with the world of filmmaking.  Though this competition does have a prize, I see this as an opportunity to push faith based films in a creative way to inspire faith and encourage conversation about Jesus. The book is called Dug Down Deep by Josh Harris and the intention for my film was to do just that, cause you to search for the meaning and to not only not give you answer but leave you in question.

The winner is chosen by how many comments the video has.  Please go to http://www.joshharris.com/2010/01/film_6_stephen_mcgee.php#comments

and leave a comment under my video if it moves you. Thank you.

The movie is about one Christian who sees that his church is focused more on going through the motions of religion. I chose a Ukrainian actor to play the lead and an Ukrainian man to be the voice. Read why in the blog post below.

Harris testifies in his book that until recently his life was built on sand even though he read and believed the word of god. A Sand based foundation was a theme throughout the film. I had the narrator whisper some key lines in the script to emphasize how God speaks to us; in whispers. Like Elijah and God’s still quiet voice at the mouth of the cave I wanted the audience to lean in and truly listen to what was being said. There are elements throughout this film that mirror what Harris wrote about Doctrine and Theology as well as instances in my life where God was revealed to me.

I love the shadow scene in the dark church.  I chose this sequence to represent a few different things. Maybe I’ll write more about that later.

Harris also wrote “I kissed dating goodbye”.  In one section in this, his most recent book, “dug down deep”, he talks about meeting the holy spirit in what he called ‘the bubble church’. The bubble church he thought was great but focused too much on performance based faith.  I represented the bubble church as a ballerina with bubbles.

So often Christians name themselves specific parts of the body of christ, giving themselves opportunity not to serve in other ways than their “role”. As The pastor is preaching from blueprints representing many Christians today who have ministry goals based on what works in other parts of the world and in other churches the congregation goes through what looks like a workout routine.

The main character sees one group who are focused only on prayer, the next group on action and a third, the ballerina, on performance based faith. His search for truth brings him to the front of the church where he sees the ballerina. Beliving he needs also to take off his shoes to do the right dance to meet the holy spirit and become like her faith he takes off his shoes and sees that he had been walking on sand the entire time.  The main character walls over and takes the sword out of the sand and walks it out of the church which stops everyone.

The main actor is a Ukrainian and so is the voice. Because of this film both got to see the love of chirst and were ministered to.

If you could send it to everyone you know and have them do the same if they are moved that would be great. Comment on the video to cast your vote.

May God reveal himself to you and create in you a clean heart built on the solid foundation of his son Jesus.

Thanks.
Stephen

Sorry for the typos, my computer died so I typed this on my phone.

I just came across Hebrews 5:8-9. This just leveled me.

Although Jesus was a  son (God’s), he learned obedience from he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

I run from the suffering I don’t want. I run from it trying everything I can to fix it or just not deal with it. I even curse my suffering in my mind, indirectly in my words and creatively in my works.

God however, even taught his own physical son through the suffering in his life. What did he teach Jesus? Obedience. The ability of discernment and recognition of God’s voice. I want that but show mercy on me lord. Through that suffering which Jesus did endure and ultimately died from, Jesus was made perfect.

So in my suffering, should I long for something else I can compare myself to or run? No. I should consider every trial in the will of God from which he allowed and from which he will deliver me if it glorifies him. Each trial can teach me to be more like Christ. How stubborn I am when faced with the work of the perfection my spirit desires to become.

It is hard to understand but a continental shift in faith is occurring in my life. The form of it can not be presented in well crafted words or works and revolves around the same words I have been reading in my life for as long as I have been able to read. The shift isn’t measured in locational standards or by distance of thought but by a centering of existence in and around Jesus.

When the early church was teaching about Jesus, I have just read/researched, they taught about what Jesus did more than his teaching. What he did for us by dieing on the cross.
Using the common sunday school model of a wheel spoke; the center hub being Jesus and the spokes being various parts of life, I now see that instead of being with jesus in the center, my life is lived accordingly hanging on along the outside wheel. When opportunity approached, aka a spoke, for example a film, I, with the film am outside of Jesus, looking at Jesus, looking at where Jesus is, from me and the film’s perspective. I can not say that I have changed until Jesus reveals to me that he has changed me.

Jesus Centered faith is walking with Jesus, next to Jesus, focusing on what God has done for us and not what we are doing for God. I prayed a few weeks ago that I would stop hiding Jesus in God, stop hiding my faith in Jesus by just telling those I was ministering about God in my life without mentioning Jesus.

A lifetime of recalling what one person did for God will never equal a lifetime pointing to the one thing Jesus did for us.

If you support a missionary please don’t gauge whether or not to give to them or to continue giving to them by the number of people that have been saved because of their ministry.

Pray for this man who just emailed me and know the He who began a good works in you will complete those works. Meaning God is moving in your ministry while you believe it or not.

…I just visited your site and I am touched by your love and faith for Christ.  Recently and over a period of several years, my family and I have gone through some pretty amazing trials, two of our children had serious problems with depression and drugs, we had to have our teenage son locked up for 18 months, my wife had cancer, I had to close my business of over 20 years, and we lost our home.  All I can say is that it has only been through my faith in Christ and my surrendering continually to Him that He has sustained my family and myself, and has kept me sane as I nearly lost that too.

In 1992, while I was taking a shower I had a powerful vision of ‘who’ Jesus is that forever changed my relationship and walk with him…..

My Response

…. Nothing I have is my own. Praise the lord for your faith and testimony. Thank you for your email. If the crediting of my video leads people to the lord then place it on the site. Your email came at a great time in my life as the lord is moving and you are witness to that. You have felt great pain as life unfolded un-according to your plans. Job lost it all and praised god but that isn’t to say how strong job was but how strong god is. Later as you know job received twice as much or even more. Although you might not receive your reward for your faith in this life you will receive it in heaven. We soon shall join him at the throne. The devil has no power though there is darkness in my skin. The grace of god has freed us from the law of sin and the mosaic law through Jesus. The lord does not work in our understanding of time and saves our spirit for his kingdom while we are here. I don’t understand heaven but I believe it is there. I would be humbled to the point of death if I glimpsed at what is to come (for us who love Jesus). In my struggles I have begun praising god for those struggles I’m in. Like serving and loving our enemies I have, under the lords strength, begun to do so when considering my trials. All things can be used for the greater good for those who love Jesus. (Romans 8:28) Surrender to him like you told me about and I will do the same, encouraged by your faith. I have not been through what you have. I consider you in a place where you, like Paul, can boast in what you’ve been through because you have the ability through gods strength to claim Christ as your victory. Rescue is coming. We have already won. Don’t try and make sense of it all like there is an equation to be figured out. Christ is moving and it will look different. Again thank you for your email. I’m not sure what site you visited, my blog? All I have written you I pray for the same in my life and the lives of all the saints. Stephen

You know each person searching after you. You know their steps because they are following in yours. Each person who is weary or downhearted, strengthen them. Step towards judgment, step towards peace. Insert title but see what a world can’t.

Two Masters? It is hard to narrow all that I serve to less than 9 so please Lord lessen me the 8 but with mercy and grace.

Alone I find you, my head toward heaven

looking towards others are the needs you prompt me to bare in burden.

If my voice may be heard across the world, will you carry it a message of yours alone.

With bank accounts more than empty caused by lavish hotel rooms and equal meals to suite any price range of suite, coffee twice a day and a San Francisco bay, travel expenses ate just as well for my three week shoot to China and now in this fall chill, -zero is forecasting the unpaid bill from not yet paid recent jobs will soon eat too. Recently home, I sit on the floor near my cat’s food box, empty, ripping up bread for her to eat, along with me. Neither of us have any money to buy the other anything of editable value so we feast like beggars on the streets of Paris, on a four course meal of the handout sourdough bread from Le’Gagnavalon. The granite rose, charcoal and tan stones that make up my kitchen’s floor help the Français de l’humeur.

I realized today that it could be likely that by chance I will never have a separation between social life and what others have called my passion. And that makes life a bit easier to navigate and I think that is so because instead of dividing which parts of existence go where and more importantly to some, when, everything seems to go together as it fits together. As it fits together, planned by the Hymn.

It is 530 am and simultaneously 5 videos in full 1440×1080 hd push a little blew bar of status as they upload fresh from the export chambers that rest in the depths of a late night fcp edit session. The videos will be seen by Congress week. Mr. Z.P, Genious Esquire was beside me, making my evening as a perfect assistant would, from 8 pm to 520 am helping any way he could. The original Pink Panther film played as the night went on.
5 Videos exported in two resolutions, color toned with audio fixed, all of that done today.
6am. Time for sleep, for just a little while.

Angelic chimes ping at seemingly random only narrate the joy of the completed movie files uploading to the internet.

A week of hard work can teach you that even a cat can get full on crumbs of simplicity and bread.

It has been proven to me that I am protected by God’s grace.  In Ukraine my cell phone was stolen and I did not fret. 2 hours later the criminal “felt bad” and sought me out and returned it. Two days ago my computer was stolen out of my hotel room without me knowing it. I left at 10 am and the criminal came in while the cleaning lady was present, stated he was me and took my computer and my passport. My entire Chinese project was on this computer. I received a call from the police saying that they had my computer, and that they had the criminal too. I said, “Why?” I did not freak out, at all. I had no even thought that i needed to stay calm. Two hours later after the criminal took my computer  he was caught trespassing in another hotel trying to sell the computer. Two hours later. Without me even knowing it was taken and returned. I did not get to meet either criminal. As I left the SF police station I told the policeman to tell the criminal that I forgave him and wasn’t angry but wanted him to know that God loved him.

I can not answer why God’s protection and provision looks like it does or when it works or how to obtain it. I can proclaim though that it is active without our effort or participation more often than some would like to think and it is most relevant to our understanding and noticeable in our ways when out into the world we, our soul steps and in the will of God then we, our soul found.

Jesus is the least of these so what am I to me? What are my possessions or my purpose? If I am passing prophets (without the time to talk for they are good without me) for the purpose of the Lords will in my life, than not only do I mimic the zealousness of the early disciples who wouldn’t give time to the poor asking for Jesus’ healing, but I make given plans more important than given purpose.

Don’t be frightened, dont be scared, this calling is for you.

At Grace Cathedral in San Francisco I began to write this message and I was reminded of two stories as my eyes closed, present, and open to the sounds of the youth choir i used to sing in echoing against the stone pillars. The youth choir live in between peaks falsetto and the troughs of the pipe organ.  Two stories about two friends I have met in my travels where God’s protection was present but did not look as “successful” as a returned cell phone or computer.

I am reminded that I have met others whose life in faith has shown protection that looked different. There were Elijah and Isaiah. My friend Elijah in Uganda saw his father get assassinated before presidential elections as a 13 year old. In the following minutes his family was killed as he ran into the jungle. His father was the rebel leader who overthrew Abote. For three days Elijah hid in dead bodies left in a pile in his town. When he got up he was taken into custody by child soldiers and fought with them for five years. An uncle recognized him and bought him out of that army. Two years later after being saved in flesh he was saved in spirit and is now pastoring in Kampala.

Isaiah, a pastor in Angola who was teaching both sides of the war about the Lord, sent his family to the market along his routine route one day so he could finish some activity during the war in 2002. That day someone had placed explosives in the road to assassinate Isaiah. The family didn’t come home and that day Isaiah had to pick up his family with the help of my other friend.

Mark 5 has been my “status” inside along with Romans and God’s personal gifting of vision and purpose.  Friends, the Lord has revealed to me something, not more than words can say, actually not words at all, but he has revealed to me an attitude of heart. There aren’t words with the attitude of heart.

We can’t expect to hold the knowledge of who needs Jesus. As the disciples were blinded by the mission of Jesus when the two blind men asked for help I am blinded when I relate the troughs and peaks with my strengths and my weak.  If you weigh measures of the Lord in possibility, then you leave yourself with room for doubt. Possibility doesn’t prove existence.  God’s love can’t be replicated. Prepare to be interrupted by the Lord while on the road to the Lord’s work.

I don’t currently own a working or complete pair of flip flops.

Welcome to my blog. I am a filmmaker and photographer. I currently have a head ache. I love Detroit, and well, now that my video is out, many Detroiter’s have expressed that they don’t love me or my video. Most people consider word choice more than meaning. Too few actually acquire the freedom to photograph. To photograph what comes along the way is to be living with a camera in hand. What am I but just another chamber of Detroit’s orchestra.  In my city, Shooting only adds to the music. Passing prophets for your purpose makes your works more than your meaning.

When you find your name on Michael Moore’s homepage, that is when you know you have done something polar. The Wall Street Journal purchased my content and my story on a dump truck that was hanging forever out of a fourth floor window at the Packard Plant and ran it front page in today’s paper. An editor told me it was the first time ever a photographer had pitched a story to the WSJ that they ran.  I am interested in telling my side of the story.

I just returned from doing a film series in China on the renewable energy sector to show to Congress/the Obama administration when I learned that this story was actually going to be in the WSJ. Not only in, but on the front page. If I didn’t have to edit all day tomorrow, I would tell you more about China, More about how I got to the actually film/photograph this dump truck event, and how my laptop with all my china work on it was stolen in SF today, only to be returned in 2 hours. Maybe more tomorrow.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125745924791631907.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel

PS. I am available for freelance work in Detroit/the world.

This is just in from a reader who wanted to share his story..I find it very important because i didn’t see all of the fight. I find this issue very important to remember so conversations can be had to encourage communication between conflicting cultures, peoples, friends, family and communities. 
“i am an ex student of hamtramck high and once one of them immature kids in those fights the story you speak of i was there and there was 11 black guys and more than 150 arabs and your footage and story shoould have showed how the police mased the eleven black guys despite they were using self defense to keep off a very huge crowd of arabs the story you wrote shouldve contained the facts that blacks were being disciminated against not arabs im not racist most of us were friends (arabs @ blacks) but not to steer of of subject and it was a great story but your evidence was weak and you had no good resources to support your strory when you write on a subject like this it is touchy even with it being so many years ago im sorry but please get facts straight”
The report below is only my experience, and the more people who tell me their story, the more the actual facts of the day can come to light. Thank you for your responses. I want to only tell the facts.
If anyone who reads this thinks their story would help others understand what is going on in Hamtramck, for anyone there who wants to tell their story through images, I would love to document your life through photography to help tell the story. I am a photographer who works for publications including the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN and others. It is my number one goal to report with honesty and integrity. Please visit http://www.stephenmcgeefilms.com and click through the images to see my work. 
Thank you,
Stephen 
The police took my camera and erased an approx 15-20 images, none of which I believe could have been viewed as negative towards the police. I have 12 images  left and 2 videos. here are some of the images and the story. This story is a work in progress and will be updated as I have time. look to the comments for how advice was given by more veteran pros. I did not write all of this to complain but to inform others about how i was treated and more so as a news piece about what happened to these kids. They are the ones I really care about.

A newspaper in Hamtramck is doing a story on this and asked me for a reaction to the police response to my story. Here is what the police said not verbatim, “The camera was left in the car and we asked whose camera it was and the journalist said it was his and the other kids said it was theirs so we took it.”  Which is not what happened. The video with the arab kids ends with me leaving the car with my camera. I have the rest of the 10 minutes of footage on my computer which ends with the police driving with the camera on in the car. Read more under the video.

I am reviewing this legal form to see what my rights are. http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

Female student hiding and crying.

Female student hiding and crying, in an ally way looking towards the street where the police were spraying, talking on phone.

Nearing the end of the fight, some kids yell at police and later are detained. There are 10 more minutes in the video of the police ride that is not shown in this film. The camera was still recording which was not my objective as the police officer drove the kids to station.  In the video at 1:03  there is a moment when the police car arrives by the kids and I take a photo while in video mode. If you click the shutter release button while recording video with the Canon 5d Mark II the video will pause while the camera records the image. A shutter will sound too. I do not have this moment when I clicked the shutter. I should have a photograph of that moment, but the police erased it. Neighbors who watched this scene that I was in said that the police had sprayed all races equally and did not subject one more than another to the mace or interrogation.

Students walking away from fight talk about the fights. Two of them didn’t want to be on camera but were ok audio taping. So I took frame grabs just for visual reference.

Hamtramck is a city within the city of Detroit and has 26 nations living in a very small area of two miles by two miles. It was a Polish majority to the point that Pope John Paul stopped by in his trip to America.

Walking around one day, I saw a fight forming and I ran with my camera to photograph. There was a large group of Arab kids walking in a very tight group, maybe 50 of them in total. I photographed that from afar (photo erased by police) and watched the police trail the group of kids away through side streets. I walked through some alleys and jumped a random fence after taking the photos shown above of the kids running. I interviewed a few black students walking away form the fight and then walked towards the police controlled intersection. I found a group of about 15 Arab (sorry for the generalization) students who had been maced. I introduced myself and told them who I had shot for in the past. The group of Arab kids were taunting the police officers before I arrived with curse words and yelling, and eventually the cops came by and sprayed us down with mace. The kids kept on saying one of my clients that I mentioned. The kids ran away when the cops came. The group split and some ran back to my position. The cops came over and sprayed the area again. I went in the car with the kids to follow the story but more to escape the crazy amount of mace in the air. The car hadn’t moved and the cops came up and got us out of the car. They took my camera immediately after I told them I was a photographer.  I was told to have my hands on the trunk. We were there for what seemed like 30 minutes as the cops yelled at the kids about respect and tried to cross interrogate them.  I told them that I was a freelancer they asked me who I had shot for and I told them. They then asked well if you shoot for them (citing examples of organizations i gave him) why don’t you have credentials? I told them as a freelancer I didn’t have credentials. I wasn’t carrying my NPPA card. Come to think of it I don’t think i have received that yet. The cop then told me that I need to get another day job if all i did was follow kids causing fights. I don’t think I will cite examples of whom I have worked next time I am asked in this type of situation. It was used more against me than I could have thought of.

I understand now that the choice to get into the car was not a wise one when the cops were around. Like I said, I thought it was the best choice at the time.  My hands were on car on the account that I was “guilty by association”. I don’t that that is a law. I wanted to ask, “Aren’t I innocent until proven guilty by association?” But I didn’t.

On the way to pick up my camera an hour later I ran into the mayor, the former chief of police and the superintendent campaigning in the streets. I did not know who they were when I asked them for directions. I told them my story and the mayor called the police without me asking her for the release of my camera. The former chief of police asked me my thoughts on how the police handled the situation and I told him my thoughts that were not negative. Then the superintendent asked me my thoughts and I told her that we live in a broken world that needs fixing.

I biked to get my camera at the police office. When I arrived the police officer behind the desk, who was not at the original scene, tried to reprimand me. He told me my 1st amendment rights were “Canceled” when I didn’t leave the scene when the cops told me to. Well the cops didn’t tell me to. “Its like calling fire in a crowded theater”, the police officer behind the counter said.

They gave me back my camera after 20 minutes. I biked to my church to continue a film I was making for my church. Turned on my camera and the screen popped up, “No Card”. I was like, “What the junk?” The cops had taken my card. The cops gave me the camera without the memory card in the camera. I should have checked at the station. I biked back and they said they didn’t know where it was and couldn’t find the memory card even though it had been there a few minutes ago with only a few police in the building. The main police officer behind the desk that I was working with couldn’t believe that someone had taken out the card after he, who was in charge, looked at the images. He was called into the back with a whisper from the police officer who originally took my camera. I did not see whom actually whispered but I assume it because he is the one who went into the back of the station to look for the card. Many times he repeated that he had no idea how to open the memory card compartment to take out a memory card. In his words, “I have no idea how to work them things.”

About 20 minutes later they said they found it in a cops pocket who was driving home to a suburb.  The officer behind the counter said it had been taken out of my camera in a mix up between shifts and that the officer with the memory card was on his way back and that he would arrive in 20 minutes. I found it quite strange that possible “supporting evidence” was in an off duty officers’ pocket on the way to his home.  1.5 hours later the police officer who originally took my camera, told me to get another day job, told me i was guilty by association, met me at my church down the road and handed me my card and said it was all his fault. I told him I forgave him. I reviewed the card to find the images of police and some of the arab kids had been erased and those images couldn’t be recovered by a software program. I am assuming that the police did not erase my 2 movies because they saw the first frame of the movie as a bad photograph.

Picture 18running from mace

Image cropped significantly to show a point in a scene when the cops sprayed mace on students near teachers.

Habib taunts the police.
Habib taunts the police because he and the other Arab kids in this crowd felt the police were racist. Later after I was released, the neighbors said the boys taunted too much. One neighbor commented that the cops were not spraying one race more than another.

There was a  fight between the black students and the arab students at the high school in Hamtramck last year that i was told was about 150 vs 150 students. In another fight over a bike, I tried to break it up by talking calmly between the two cultures and that time, love prevailed.

but for now, i am so frustrated because of the police stories not matching up about my memory card and since the images were erased without them telling me, I felt lied to. The most frustrating part is I am trying to tell stories that will change people. The more I am cut down by those who don’t want the truth to be told, the stronger the desire to fight for the provision and documentation of truth becomes in my heart.

I believe the police did what they thought was best at the time. It was very aggressive atmosphere. I did not ever lose my temper or raise my voice. I could understand why they took my camera, why my hands were on the trunk, why I was asked questions. I can not understand why they erased images and can not understand a few others things.

Personal thoughts; About my faith, I will say that it was strengthened today. God’s plans are bigger than me, bigger than my plans. The images are gone and I am safe. The way that things went down at the police station it seemed very likely that the police made a story up in front of me about where the card was. The fact remains that there are children tomorrow who feel they need to find security in their appearance and their status and that the eye for an eye judgment system is the main determining factor to fight or not to fight. I have not covered any wars and have only had my life threatened twice before. I have only been maced twice before. The scene wasn’t that crazy, it was more unexpected. It is my goal with truth and integrity to creatively achieve engaging storytelling.

Thank you to all journalists who have emailed me with advice for next time. I consider my work at the professional level, always allowing room for education to better my craft. Welcome photographers from http://pressefotografforbundet.dk/. Thank you for your interest in this story.

Journalists-Spread the truth.

frame grab of cops taking a young arab kid into the police car.

Picture 20

I unfortunately wrote over the card because I was on deadline for another assignment and had to use the card. I did not use much of the 16gb card but later went back and tried to recover the files and they were already written over. Everything happened really fast and it was a very tough decision but I had to use the card.  Recovering the files through software did not occur to me quick enough.

from the National Press Photographers Association..

My understanding (and again, you want a lawyer to give you proper legal advice relating to your situation) If police take someone into custody, they have a right to take a camera for safekeeping. There may also be limited rights if they had probable cause to believe that it had evidence of a crime. But they do not, under any circumstances, have a right to delete images, or to demand the deletion of images. In fact, that could be viewed as destroying evidence. Destroying evidence can lead to a presumption against the party that destroyed the evidence.

In fact, you might find out if any of the kids were arrested. If so, be sure to tell their lawyers that the police deleted images which may have contained evidence that would prove or disprove wrongdoing. Having their case affected is the primary way that police officers are encouraged to stay in line.

You should also consider filing a complaint with the police department. They might not have a policy relating to handling of cameras and digital images. If they don’t, this incident is evidence that one is needed. Use your connections with the mayor and others to encourage such a policy.

Picture 36