Chicago Sun-Times
...with Jesus, doctors and common sense


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God bless you.

As most of you know from news reports over the last few months, the Sun-Times, the

newspaper for which I've worked 37 years, is fighting for its life just as I have been fighting

for my life the last 19 months and sharing my struggles with you in this blog.

If an agreement for its sale is not reached between we union member and a

prospective buyer by early October, there is a chance our bankrupted paper may have to

close down. We're all working hard to save the paper.

Meantime, unless God's healing or a health emergency demands otherwise, I am

tentatively scheduled to undergo a major open-heart surgery Oct. 26 at the University of

Chicago Hospital to have Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam affix a pumping machine to my

heart's left ventricle.

For the last 19 months, I have been praying for God to heal my brain tumor, prostate

cancer and especially my diseased, malfunctioning heart so that I would not have to take

any more pills or have another open-heart operation. I underwent a successful triple-

bypass in 2001 also at UCMC, where Dr. Jeevanandam performed that procedure.

So far, God has not exercised His will to heal me directly and completely.

My brain tumor is benign, and I thank Him dearly for that.

My prostate cancer is in remission after I underwent radiation treatment last year,

and I thank Him dearly for that, too.

But my heart remains my primary concern. While I have refused during the last 15

months to have the pump implanted, my heart has gotten weaker and its increasing

failure to pump blood properly has resulted in the rest of my body part becoming also

weaker and frail.

In the last five months, sisters and brothers, I have lost more than 40 pounds!

I have retarded this deterioration with prayer, consistent exercise, rest, pills and

smart eating. But my best treatment for long-term relief appears to be a new pumping

device called Heartmate II. It is the most efficient, flexible, compact and durable device of

its kind to date.

The pump can sustain me for another five to 10 or more years while my prostate

cancer dissolves to a non-discernible level where I could then be eligible for a heart

transplant if my heart does not get any better.

Having the pump implanted in me will result in me being battery-powered outside my

home and AC-powered within it. But I will not only be alive, the improved blood circulation

it renders will reverse the systematic breakdown of the rest of my body and restore a very

significant amount of strength, vim, vigor and vitality that I have lost.

I want to live and I thank God that He has blessed mankind with prolonged like

through advanced medical technology that's enabling us to recover from health problems

that previously killed us. All our help comes from the Lord. It may come through other

people, through machines, through life experiences, money, nature, medicines, the police,

doctors, lawyers, judges, government, the fire department and whatever else. But all our

help comes originally from the Lord.

While I am fighting for my one physical life, the Sun-Times is a company where the

professional livelihood of some 1,800 workers is at stake. I feel for my fellow employees.

Like me, they all have to eat, too. Most also have families and loved ones to support. And

as badly as I want my physical life saved, I have a greater concern for the professional

lives of all us paper employees. I am not a selfish person. When other hurts, I hurt

because I try hard to be my brother's keeper.

That's why if there is an order in which God will attend to our survival needs, I wish

God would save the life of this great newspaper ahead of me. But like everything else, in

the final analysis, I yield to His will because Jesus taught us redeemed to pray that God's

kingdom come and that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I appreciate the prayers, best wishes and tremendous encouragement you readers

have shared on my behalf and the paper's behalf. That's because people's health and

jobs are closely related in many ways. But notice that despite the uncertainty of our

paper's future,which is cause for many to be despondent and paralyzed with

hopelessness, we staffers come to work everyday and work our best to give Chicago and

the rest of the world the best reporting we can give.

A strong, well-managed and honestly-run newspaper of professional integrity,

courage and honesty is one of the most valuable components of a democratic society. We

hold accountable the powerful and popular people who are supposed to be serving the

public's best interests.

I will shortly go on extended medical leave to prepare my house, my family and my

body for the radical revisions imposed by the pump. I will still blog about my condition,

bad or good, as long as this paper is in business and allows me to blog. It would be a

shame if after sharing my journey and experience al these months that you end up not

being able to know my final outcome in this paper.

God bless you.

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Dear Lacy -

You know that 40 pounds you lost? I think I found it! It's hiding underneath my belt.

Believe me, I'm working on getting rid of it for good. I won't send it back to you.

I'm glad to hear that you have got the pump implantation scheduled. I know how much you have anguished over this decision. And there's still plenty of time for a direct healing, if that's the way it's going to go. I know I speak for everyone else in reminding you that you have all our e-mails. If, for any reason, you are unable to blog the outcome, we still want to know that you are well, and filled with renewed vigor.

As you know, I've been going through the challenges of unemployment and lack. It has been very difficult to keep faith during these times, as I know that in six weeks time, I could be homeless. I continue to put forth the best I can to open the channels for a reversal of fortune. While reading your entry today, I was struck with the thought that what I wanted to say to you is what I most need to hear:

We can trust that God is Love.

If we can hold this thought in our hearts, then we can be confident that the right thing will happen. It may not be what we expect. It may not coincide with our opinion. But, if we look with an open mind and open heart, we'll see the good in it.

As I've said many times, Lacy, my faith is different than yours. But, no matter how come at it, at the end of all the calculations, examinations, ruminations, and apprehensions, one truth remains: Whoever or whatever created this universe did it in a way in which everything can work out. In fact, it's supposed to.

Each day, the Sun-Times and a million news outlets around the globe enumerate the problems we have. Thousands and thousands of problems. But, there is only one problem -- we've forgotten who we are. And there is only one solution -- we must remember that we are the sons and daughters of the God of Love. Love is the only answer.

Our universe was created in favor of a perfect outcome. Maybe if we're looking a little shopworn these days, it's because we thought we knew better than the Creator. After centuries of Western medicine dismissing ancient Eastern techniques, it's now recognized that there is an integration of mind, body, and spirit. (If they have doubts, they can just look at Lacy J. Banks!) That same integration exists in every living thing throughout the universe. When we remember that, we remember that the one who created all this didn't make mistakes.

The best way to save the world is to go back to the blueprints, and take out any "improvements" we've made that aren't in line with the original design.

Look to your heart, friend, and trust the outworking. And I'll try to do the same.

We ask the God of Love to be with you through this important step, and we remember that everything that happens is there so we may more clearly see the beautiful universe given to us. If we simply love like God, it is Heaven itself.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Aman! Aman! Aman! I know the normal spelling is

"amen". But the way we say it in the black church sounds like "aman." So I spell

it accordingly. It obviously is not like the traditional biblical "amen" that signals an

end to a song. Rather, it is a shout affirmation and inspiration to praying, preaching

and praising. But what a thunderful and wonderful e-mail, John (the) Powers (that

be). You are a true friend and you have one of the most profound minds I have

ever occasioned. You are also so inspiring and so enlightening to us, but

especially me because I always know where you're coming from. I totally agree

with your treatment of love. And, really, in essence, God is love. So in other

cultures, they may call Him something else and somebody else. But no word, in

any language, that really means love and be denied as referring to our God. I

believe that so many times down through history fights were fought needlessly

over different words that meant the same thing and the combatants thought they

were at odds. I mean even wars were waged and lives lost and property

destroyed because they did not know that they were really in agreement. Real

love does more than kiss and hug and have sex. Real love feeds, has compassion,

helps, clothes, shelters, understands, builds, heals, enlightens, uplifts, comforts,

defends, purifies and caresses with the goal of enriching, promoting and

extending a happy, profitable, safe and comfortable life. Anybody with a loving

care would want to see every human being get the food, shelter, education, work,

wages and health care he needs to live a full, happy, safe, meaningful and

profitable life. Call it socialist medicine if one dares. But I call that love. I don't ever

want to be stingy and selfish where I don't want to see somebody else have food,

water and shelter simply because he looks different, has a different religion or

different philosophy of life so long as that person is not out to hurt and destroy

other people for no good reason. The only good reason to destroy a human being

is to keep that person from destroying an innocent human being. I will keep all

informed as long as I'm alive and I have an opportunity to communicate through

this paper, whether in hard print or on line. I pray that you get that long-awaited

job, too, John. You are long, long, long overdue. Thank God that my daughter

finally got another job after her unemployment was about to run out. She is

thanking and praising Him for that, too. So I pray, in the name of Jesus, that you

SOON get a great job, John. God bless you.

I do hope that you survive, but I can't say the same for the Sun-Times. This rag ceased being a news reporting paper many years ago. Instead it's management chose to become an arm of the left-wing political machine. So I say good riddance to the Sun-Times. With any luck, the Chicago Tribune will follow suit.

Thank God for the Internet! If not for the independent bloggers, the truth would never see the light of day.

Best of luck to you, and good luck with the operation.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks for your best wishes for me personally. But I

strongly disagree with your opinion of the newspaper. If only you knew an inkling

and the great investigative reporting it has done to expose evil people in high

places and corrupt public servants stealing and mismanaging tax dollars. Our

paper has been a very responsible watchdog exposing crooked politicians and

their profuse abuse of public trust. Come on, Orson W., research your facts. And

bloggers can write anything they please with no responsibility in terms of truth and

other virtues.

Lacy -

I just had to touch back and congratulate your daughter on getting her new job. What a wonderful outworking for her! It's one more thing to cross off the worry list.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, John. Her getting a job sure takes a heavy load

off my back. I'll continue praying hard for you to get an acceptable job, too. Every

day that a talented, intelligent, hard-working person like you is out of a job is a

national tragedy and a gross obscenity as far as I am concerned. By the way, I've

never pictured you having an extra 40 pounds behind your belt.

Hello Rev. Banks,
My thoughts and prayers have been on the staff of this GREAT newspaper.This is personal for me because this is the paper I grew up on.The hardest thing in life is change.And of course we all know that time changes things.I hope and pray that there can be an agreement for all of you to be able except a few changes in order to keep your jobs.I pray that who ever buys the Sun-Times will be a God fearing person,put God first in all decisions and everything else will follow in Gods order.It was really good seeing you and Mrs. Banks in church yesterday.You look good and I thank God for all of your healing.We,Rev.De Ville and the Alpha Temple M.B. Church family will continue to pray for you and your family. God Bless you and your family.Marcia

BANKS' RESPONSE: As always, Marcia, thanks for your on-time, in-time

encouragement. It was great to see you and your family almost filling a pew. And

your father's preaching feed me sumptuously and helped fatten my faith. Thanks

for your best wishes on behalf of the 165-year-old Chicago Sun-Times. That's

right. This is no neophyte publication. This is a venerable vessel in the

newspaper business. We've racked up our share of Pulitzer Prizes and a slew of

other honors over the year, nationally, regionally and statewide. We have done

our share of exposing corruption in local, county, state and regional government.

we have also produced some of the Tribune's best reporters and produced

outstanding writer who became the best at other top newspapers in the U.S.

Our current lineup still includes Pulitzer Prize photographer John White,

columnists Mary Mitchell, Mark Brown, Rick Telander and Michel Sneed, movie

critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Ebert and an host of other blue-ribbon

professionals. Again, give my best regards to your husband and kids. Thank you

and God bless you.

Don't worry Lacy. The Chicago Sun Times will be around a lot longer than you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yeah!!! Now that's what I'm talking about, Anon

Hi Rev.,

I am sooooo happy that you decided to get the pump. I know you have mentioned this many times before in your blog. If it means that you will 'be here' with us then do it. As far as the Sun-Times, I know how you feel about a place where you have worked for so long. I first became familiar with you in the Sun-times sports pages. I would hate to see it fold but when I look at everything that is happening in the world today, nothing surprises me. It is very humble of you to ask God to save your work place FIRST and you SECOND. This is why you have the favor of God Rev. You always put others first.

Blessings to you,


BANKS' RESPONSE: Right, as always, Donna. I can't be selfish. No, I'm not

trying to suggest I have any death wish or that I want to martyr myself. It's just that

1,800 Sun-Times job is many more than my one job and the Sun-Times means so

much to millions and millions more people than those 1,800 jobs. Do you know

how valuable a response newspaper responsibly exercising its constitutional right

of freedom of the press is to the safe-guarding of a democratic society. It's

something you will not find in a country where communism, dictatorship, corrupt

government and other enemies of human freedom control things. Newspapers

keep people informed of local, regional, national and international events. They

help people find jobs. They stimulate and nourish commerce through advertising.

They help solve crimes. They help the public respond to the needs of other less

fortunate. They entertain. They are the eyes and ears of the public in places the

public can't go. They promote an informed electorate. They make politicians and

other leaders in powerful positions accountable. They discourage those same

people from being wicked and wayward. They stimulate position and productive

social intercourse. They bring people together through truth. They dispel harmful

myths with the facts. They help thinking people make wise decisions. Oh, I could

go on and on and on about the good things a good newspaper does for Chicago,

for America and for the whole world.

Rev. Banks,
I continue to read your blog, pray, think of you and trust that you are enjoying God's daily blessings. We all have challenges to overcome in life but it helps to know that in the midst of our struggles God walks and talks with us, we are never alone. I am grateful that you seek spiritual food and that you share your spiritual delicacies with all of us. We can all enjoy God's spiritual sustenance, no matter our circumstances. Please continue to share your love of God and your strong, sweet spirit. You are helping Jesus save lives and souls. Be encouraged.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, D.Drew. It's always a please to eat and serve

the bread of heaven that is God's word. For did not our Savior tell us, "Man shall

not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of

God." And right now, my brother--right now as we breathe, the song is right when

it says, "for the world is hungry for the Living Bread. So lift the Savior up for men

to see. Trust Him and do not doubt His word when He said, 'I'll draw all men unto

me." When I read about the savagery of humanity, the carnage in the streets of

Chicago, the gangbangers in our black neighborhoods killing the best of our black

boys, I see that ferocious hunger for the Living Bread. When I see greedy

corporate CEOS rubbing and mismanaging companies into financial ruin,

resulting of the economic devastation of millions, I see that same hunger. When

I see people who have good health insurance fighting to keep President Obama

from trying get insurance for those who don't have any, I see that same hunger.

When I see poor people get sent to prison for years for stealing chump change

while rich, multi-million-dollar thieves get a fraction of that time, if any, I see that

same hunger. And when I see these things, it tells me that it's feeding time. It

me want to get my bible and beat on it like a cook beating on a pot and scream

"Come and get it! Come and get it! hear ye the word of the Lord. Come and get

it! And get it while the getting is good." For the bible says, brothers and sisters,

that there will come a time when we shall seek Him and He won't be found. So

right now, we ought to seek Him while He can be found and call upon Him while

He is near. Let the wicked forsake his evil ways, repent and turn unto the Lord.

For He will abundantly pardon. If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful to

forgive us and cleanse us of all iniquity.

I've been checking on your blog periodically and am glad for positive progress!!! I'm sending good thoughts your way!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Bonnie. God bless you and I give God praise

and thanksgiving for every speck of progress.

What a Mighty God we serve! You have been wrestling with Satan for a long time now, but he will never be the victor. We are conquerors. Yes, let the redeemed of the Lord Say So! You and family are still in my prayers.

BANKS' RESPONSE: We can never shout "Victory" too much because you

are right: The victory is ours. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through

Jesus Christ. I don't mind the game being slow. I don't mind the game being

muddled with turnovers and fouls. I don't mind the timeouts for technical problems

and whatever else. I don't mind the game going into overtime or even double

overtime. What matters most to us all is that in the end we shall gain the victory.

We already know the outcome. Satan is a liar and a loser. He can't stand the fact

that he has already lost. So shout for the victory right now even in the midst of

trials an tribulations. We are winners and more than conquerors through Christ


Mr Banks,

I have been following your blog for awhile now. I always want to leave a comment but never know what to say. Today as I was reading, all I could think about was "WOW this man gets more amazing everytime I read about him!" For you to pray for the Lord to save the Sun-Times over your own life is truly amazing. If more people were like you this world would be a better place. I will continue to pray for you and your family. I will also pray for the Sun-Times to stay in business. I look forward to reading about a successful surgery and I can't wait to hear about how much better you feel since the surgery! God Bless!


BANKS' RESPONSE: Please keep me close to your breast in prayer, Shawna,

and I will keep you close to my chest in prayer. I'm still hoping and praying for a

miracle to spare me the need for such a major surgery because I am told I will be

on that pump for years before I am eligible for a heart transplant. That's a mighty

long time to live a tethered life. You seen dogs, monkeys and other pets on a leash.

Well, to have a pump implanted and affixed to my heart to do the pumping my

weakened heart can't do would require me to be on a constant electronic life leash.

It's a tremendous sacrifice that calls for radical revision of my lifestyle and comfort.

I'll be battery-operated outside the house and AC-operated inside the house, but

always connected through a drive line coming out of my body and being attached

to a power source. I must beware of static electricity and any kind of electrical

charges. But if my heart is no better by Oct. 26 and there is no breakthrough in

the medical technology or transplant department, then I'll have to opt for the

pump. God bless you, Shawna, for reading my blog and emailing encouraging


Wishing you healing, by whatever means!

And sooner rather than later.

And the resolution of the paper problems.

But especially you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Ruth, for reading my blog and offering

encouragement. God bless you and your family.

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on September 26, 2009 6:35 PM.

I'M NOT AFRAID TO DIE. WHAT ABOUT YOU? was the previous entry in this blog.


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