Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Now What?

My birthday is in 5 days - January 5th. I will be 48 years old. Two more for the big 5-oh. Now what? Will this be the year I get back into shape, physically? Or, at least a healthier shape? Will I be able to hold on to my apartment? I am now good for two more months, at least. Will I be able to make better use of what's available to me? Will I ever have a steady income? Will assholes occupy themselves with something other than my blog? Will people see the light and embrace the "housing first" model for rehabilitation of homeless people? Of course I would most like to see my children on a regular basis, but that's completely up to them. I have given up on Second Life as a means of homeless advocacy or of income. I would like to get back into photography. I would like to write a book - on any subject. I wonder if my writing is good enough. Will Father Strobel be able to raise enough money to complete his building project, for much needed improvements to his facility, and for creating more shelter space for the growing homeless population? Occasionally I buy a lottery ticket. But whenever I think about what I would do with the money, I always think of giving all of it to him. To get farther away from homelessness I feel I have to be more selfish than I currently am, and that saddens me. I had gotten to the point of being resolved to the fact I would always be homeless. Then someone came along and goaded me into trying one more time to get out of homelessness. And that has lead me to transitional housing. But after 6 months, I am having a very hard time completing that transition. And there is a lot of pressure to either continue transitioning, or leave. All the while, I continue to fail at attempts to generate income on my own. I am getting by, yet just barely on the generosity of others. I am encouraged by many people to continue on with my blogging here. They tell me it's a worthy pursuit. I tend to agree with them, obviously, otherwise I would not continue on this often harrowing journey. The abuse I receive from people for this blog is relentless. If I could actually make a living at blogging...but no one pays bloggers to blog. Even in this transitional housing I'm still living hand-to-mouth. Is anyone interested in securing my living arrangements so I could focus on writing? I could put you in contact with my case manager. My rent and other living expenses are relatively inexpensive, but they hang over my head like a vulture. So does my self awareness. People constantly tell me that I am a screw up, and how much I need to change. But I have been aware of this longer than they have. They see me from a distance, but I have to live with myself. They aren't telling me anything I don't already know. If, instead of berating me, they encouraged me - not the kind of encourage that comes only at the end of a long line of condemnation - then they might see some improvement in my situation. It is a strange phenomenon that many people feel that they can only help a person up after they've beat them down. I've seen many people in the homeless services community do it. They won't give help to a person who only needs a little help to get out of their homeless mess. Instead they will wait until that person sinks to incredible depths before offering to lift them up just a little. Then they pat themselves on the back for being so altruistic. Others not familiar with homelessness applaud their efforts. Sure, some will even criticize me for making the above statement. But I'm just telling you what I've seen and experienced. What people do with this information is up to them. People prove themselves to be hypocrites when they say to the homeless, "you are loved," but they don't treat the homeless with love. And no, there is no such thing as "tough love." Tough love is just an excuse to be abusive. It's a way of forcing people into conformity. Jesus was one of the all time biggest non-conformers. I am suspicious of any Christian that preaches conformity. The way of Jesus is another way. The way of Jesus is the way of the cross. The cross is a symbol of execution, of death, of sacrificing one's life. Where is the Christian who is giving up his/her life?

Could I ramble on any more than this? Sure. Maybe later. More pondering to come. It's 2am around here. It's a new year, numerically anyway. Will that make any difference?

Thoughts For The New Year

These are quotes from the book, "What Would Jesus Deconstruct."

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the check, offer the other also, and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who asks of you, and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27-31

In short, whenever one would expect an exercise of power from a classical hero, Jesus displays the stunning powerlessness of nonviolence, nonresistance, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, generosity. The divinity that shows through Jesus consists not in a demonstration of might but in a complete reversal of our expectations culminating in the most stunning reversal of all. It is the centerpiece of all this madness, the one that makes as little sense as possible from the point of view of worldly common sense, the most divine madness of all: love your enemies. The key to the kingdom is to love those who do not love you, who hate you, and whom you, by worldly standards, should also hate. That is exactly the madness that a deconstruction analysis of love would predict. Loving the lovable is entirely possible, but loving the unlovable, those who are impossible to love, that is when the kingdom reigns. Loving the unlovable, the possibility of the impossible, that is the central symmetry that leads me to treat deconstruction as the hermeneutics of the kingdom of God.

Main Entry: her·me·neu·tic
Pronunciation: \ˌhər-mə-ˈnü-tik, -ˈnyü-\
Function: noun
1) the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)
What would a political order look like if the last were first, if everything turned on lifting up the lowliest instead of letting relief trickle down from the top? What would it look like if there were a politics of loving one's enemies, not of war, let alone, God forbid, of preemptive war?

Would it not be in almost every respect the opposite of the politics that presently passes itself off under the name of Jesus? Would it not mean to make everything turn on peace not war, forgiveness not retribution, on loving one's enemies not preemptive war, on all the paradoxes and reversals that can be summarized under the name of "kingdom"? Are not the figures who publicly parade their love of power and their fear of the other under the name of Jesus singled out in advance by Jesus under the name of the whitened sepulchers and long robes whose fathers killed the prophets?

A politics of the kingdom would be marked by madness of forgiveness, generosity, mercy, and hospitality. The dangerous memory of the crucified body of Jesus poses a threat to a world organized around the disastrous concept of power, something that is reflected today in the widespread critique of the concept of "sovereignty" - of the sovereignty of autonomous subjects and the sovereignty of nations powerful enough to get away with acting unilaterally and in their own self interests. The crucified body of Jesus proposes not that we keep theology out of politics but that we think theology otherwise, by way of another paradigm, another theology, requiring us to think of God otherwise, as a power of powerlessness, as opposed to the theology of omnipotence that underlies sovereignty. The call that issues from the crucified body of Jesus solicits our response, for it is we who have mountains to move by our faith and we who have enemies to move by our love. It is we who have to make the weakness of God stronger than the power of the world.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nothing Like Thinking For Yourself

Coal Ash Spill In Tennessee - An Ongoing Problem

enclave-nashville.blogspot.com

What You Get From "Christians"

Homeless shelter evicted after prayer debate

December 29, 2008

HACKENSACK, N.J. - A Bergen County homeless shelter is homeless itself _ again.

The First Reformed Church of Hackensack dismissed the FAITH Foundation in a dispute over rules at its Christmas dinner for about 100 homeless people last week.

Church officials say they wanted a sermon and carols before dinner was fed. But shelter director Robin Reilly started serving food first, saying some patrons hadn't eaten for 24 hours.

Reilly says she'll try to find a new place to help the homeless. She's storing the group's supplies at another church for now.
www.newsday.com

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Rock, Meet Hardplace

What I'm thinking people are not understanding is that I am trapped here in homelessness. I am always trying to find a way out. And I have tried everything - yes, even that ol 'turn your life over to Jesus' crap.

I am constantly being pressured to leave homelessness. I'm told I'm a worthless piece of trash for being homeless. And I want very much to not be homeless - but, to just be joe fuckin' average. I want it even more than your hate of the homeless. I most definitely would if I could. Still, it is something I cannot achieve on my own. The only time I have ever been off the streets is when someone has taken me in. You have no idea how much I hate myself for it - how much I wish I were dead.

And stuck in this situation so many people still piss on me. It's a virtual water-boarding.

Some few people try to help, I guess. They tell me to keep hope. Hope implies that things will eventually get better. When? How many more decades of this am I supposed to endure before things get better? Will they say at my funeral, "well, his life was only so much suffering, but he had hope."

Hated, despised, outlawed, left to live in abject poverty, where did my suffering come from?

What did I do to deserve this life? To have these insurmountable problems?

Friday, December 26, 2008

An Extraordinary Life

My life is certainly most extraordinary - extraordinary in the level of failure, lose and inability.

I know that it's brought about by my anxieties, depression, history of psychological abuse as a child, etc. But it gets old after a while. I have tried, again and again, to find some kind of normalcy for my life. And every single time I try, I fail. And I have tried more things more times than I can recall. And what do I have to show for it? Absolutely nothing. I have no family. I have no friends. Sure, I have some acquaintances, but those relationships are all very superficial.

Even this latest attempt, with my case manager negotiating on my behalf, has failed. I'm tired of it. Really, I'm so tired. I so want to die. But if I tried suicide, I'm sure I'd fail at that too - just as I have in the past.

I am unable to make a life for myself. I am unable to earn a living. At the age of 47 I lack the skills necessary for these things. And it's even worse that I am so very much aware of this, and how others perceive me for this. People never fail to tell me how much they hate me. People never fail to tell me how much of a failure and screw up I am, although I know better than they just to what extent I am worthless.

I will be homeless again, soon enough. And I will be homeless the rest of my life. Feel free to kick me while I'm down. I won't be getting up. Make me against the law. Harass me while I sit in the park. Kick me out of the library for falling asleep while reading a book. Make sure that only the least nutritious food is available to me. Tell me every single night that my homeless condition is do to my sin, (as if people with homes sin less than homeless people).

It's all over. I'm done. The End.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Where Is The ACLU in Nashville?

latimes.com
Homeless advocates sue Laguna Beach
The coalition accuses the city of enacting policies designed to harass the homeless and avoid building shelters. Officials counter that it wanted to help the homeless.
By Paloma Esquivel
December 24, 2008

Early last year, Laguna Beach city officials set about addressing homelessness in the upscale enclave. They assembled a task force to study the issue, installed parking meters to collect change for social services and assigned a police officer as a liaison for the community's homeless.

But on Tuesday, homeless advocates filed suit against the city, saying its real intent was to engage in a campaign of harassment while providing no long-term, city-sponsored shelters.

"City leaders have chosen to attempt to eliminate the homeless, rather than eliminate homelessness," said Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

In a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, the ACLU -- along with Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, and the Newport Beach-based law firm of Irell & Manella LLP -- accuses the city of failing to have long-term shelters, criminalizing sleeping on the street and allowing police harassment for minor or unavoidable offenses.

The city's "treatment of mentally and physically disabled homeless people violates the clear mandate of the Constitution," said Chemerinsky.

The city's Homeless Task Force reported early this year that there are 45 to 55 homeless people in Laguna Beach. Almost all met the definition of chronic homelessness, and many have a mental or physical disability. According to the suit, the city offers no transitional or emergency shelter other than a cold weather shelter, which operates between December and March.

Assistant City Manager John Pietig said officials are looking to work with regional shelters, such as a transitional housing facility that opened in Tustin this fall, to house long-term homeless persons.

As for opening such a shelter in Laguna Beach, he said, the prospects are small.

"Our city is largely built out," Pietig said. "There isn't a lot of available land to build shelters, and the land that is available is very expensive."

Despite not providing sufficient shelter, the lawsuit alleges, the city refuses to rescind an ordinance that makes it illegal to sleep on the beach, in city parks, on public streets, in alleys or in a car parked at any place in the city.

"The ordinance effectively makes it illegal to be homeless in Laguna Beach," said Jill R. Sperber, a lawyer with Irell & Manella LLP.

Pietig countered that the city had not actively enforced the ordinance since February and is looking into revising it.

"We need to see if there is a better way to do it," he said.

The suit also alleges that police officers have actively engaged in a campaign of harassment against the homeless. In January, the city touted hiring Officer Jason Farris as part of an extensive outreach effort to build trust with street people and persuade them to get aid.

According to the suit, welfare checks by the officer and others are actually an excuse to interrogate the city's homeless, wake them in the middle of the night and early morning, demand ID and search property.

Jim Keegan, a homeless advocate who has lived in Laguna Beach for 10 years, said he has worked to feed and counsel the homeless for nearly 30 years.

"The proper reaction to their stories is tears. It should make you weep," he said. "The leadership of this city doesn't seem to feel that way."

Pietig sees it differently.

"This community has really taken the time and effort to come up with a comprehensive approach to dealing with homelessness," he said. "It's disappointing people are taking this opportunity to degrade the city and its efforts."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reprieve

Negotiations between the landlord and my case manager have taken place - arrangements have been made - looks like disaster had been averted.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Last Ultimatum

I just received a letter from my landlord today. Looks like they're really serious this time. I need to give them $925 or they will evict. That amount seems high, considering I have made payments.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let The People Eat

West Palm Beach unanimously approves settlement with nonprofit homeless groups
Listen to this article or download audio file.Click-2-Listen

By TONY DORIS

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, December 15, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH — The city will repeal an ordinance that prevents nonprofits from distributing meals to the homeless near Clematis Street condos and restaurants, and will distribute $100,000 to the groups' lawyers.

In a 4-0 vote tonight the city commission authorized a settlement with nonprofits Art and Compassion, and Food Not Bombs, that will renounce the 2007 ordinance and require those groups to work with the city to find a different site and seek solutions to broader issues of homelessness.

The groups sued in federal court last December, calling unconstitutional the ordinance restricting them from holding meal give-aways at the Meyer Amphitheater and at Centennial Plaza.

Mayor Lois Frankel, in announcing the deal tonight, said the city was seeking to balance concern for the poor with businesses' desire to operate without having homeless people at their doorsteps.

"We have gone through this process and have tried to be compassionate and reasonable," she said. "Not one person does not want to reach out to help the needy."

Thierry Beaud, owner of Pistache French Bistro, said the Wednesday meals by Art and Compassion have driven customers from his outdoor patio dining area. "It's obviously a very difficult issue," he said. "As compassionate as you are, who wants to have a fancy dinner where there are people right outside needing food?"

But Barry Silver, attorney for Food Not Bombs, disputed the contention that the meal programs should be kept out of view of children and downtown businesses and patrons. "The business community shouldn't just be trying to make them go somewhere else," he said.

Frankel countered: "We're not asking for the homeless to be invisible. But it should not just be the burden of businesses on Clematis Street to take care of this issue."

The settlement has four main points:

— The nonprofits will work with the city to find "a safe, alternative location that will not negatively impact local businesses and residents, but will also accomplish the groups' missions."

— The groups will meet with local businesses and residents, and if asked, participate in a task force on homelessness.

— The city will repeal the offending ordinance at its next two commission meetings.

— The city will pay $60,000 to the attorney for Art and Compassion, Inc., Sherri Lynn Renner; and $40,000 to Silver, with the attorneys to distribute the proceeds at their discretion.

Artist Support For The Homeless

The ability to perform some self defined act (like blogging) is a totally different skill set than that required to show up every day and produce something to a company's specifications and expectations. Artist Designs Panhandling Signs

Monday, December 15, 2008

Humpty Dumpty

The Moral of Humpty Dumpty – Don't take something in a fragile state, and put it in a precarious situation. The “fall” out may become something you cannot fix.

As I have said before, there are two distinct types of homeless people. There are those who become homeless solely due to a financial crisis, and there is everyone else. For those whose homelessness is only an issue of finances, recovery from homelessness is almost always predictable. And recovery happens within 3 months. From studies I've read, the average homeless experience lasts only 3 months. And finances are the primary cause of homelessness. It stands to reason then, that chronically homeless people are much fewer in number, but can be homeless for any length of time, within any number of episodes. And it is almost always the chronically homeless who die while homeless.

Now, the above statement is true during normal situations. But now we find ourselves thrust into a post peculiar situation, as we are discovering that the world now stands at the brink of a global financial crisis. It is already admitted by the people “in the know” that the world economy is suffering. But how much worse will it get? This may just be another Y2K over-reaction. And, like Y2K, we'll just have to wait for it to arrive to know for certain.

What we can know is that for every degree with which our economy declines, more people will become homeless, and the longer it will take for them to recover from it.

Even more dire, is that, the longer a person is homeless, the more difficult is becomes for them to leave homelessness. At just what point this happens depends on the individual. But it does happen that a person can become homeless solely for financial reasons, but will be in homelessness for so long that they begin to develop attributes of the chronically homeless. Depression is the biggest problem, along with many other mental health issues. Some people do not become alcoholics until after they become homeless.

At first it seems like things would be ok. Although people were losing their homes, they were not losing their jobs. But there is certainly a domino effect at play. And it may be that those who lost their homes in the mortgage fiasco are not the homes becoming homeless. Instead, for being greedy, for selling a house to people who could not afford one, for buying a house they could not afford, these people are causing others to lose their jobs and potentially become homeless. Perhaps it will hit the guy who builds refrigerators. As people stop spending, demand for products drops - employers can no longer afford to pay employees to manufacture goods that no one wants.'

Like most Americans, the work a day world is already too stressful – bosses, supervisors, etc, motivated by greed to get that next bonus are pushing their employees too hard to produce more and more. Over the long run, this causes most people to suffer emotionally. We already have millions upon millions of people taking Prozac and Zoloft and all the other anti-depression and anti-anxiety drugs. When these people become homeless, albeit initially for financial issues, the likelihood of them becoming chronically homeless is much hirer – than someone without mental health issues.

Shleprock

I have a Titans team shirt, given to me by none other than the General Manager of the Titans. I have worn that shirt twice. And each time, the Titans ended up losing. I am a walking curse.

First Life As Default

Well, I've been messing around with secondlife.com for a while now. There is so much potential within it, but I wasn't able to tap into it. I thought it would be a cool extension for the work I do as a homeless advocate. Well, there are some costs involved in working Second Life, so I looked for ways to have Second Life pay for itself. I tried a good variety of things - and perhaps if the economy hadn't tanked things would have turned out differently. I gave it a good shot. But like most everything else in my life, it didn't work out.

So, I've bowed out of SL. If anyone out there is interested, I'll sell them my avatar - he comes with a well developed inventory.

Non-Intuitive Light Particles

The guy in this video uses that word a few times - "Non-intuitive." It's a way of saying it doesn't appear at first to be logical. What happens is not what you would guess, or expect, would happen, but it happens none-the-less.

There are many aspects of homelessness that people just assume - they seem like logical assumptions, but when really tested, these assumptions are proven false. Some things happen for reasons that are beyond the understanding of the average person. Of course, in our very egotistical society, we are never wrong.

It amazes me to hear people comment with complete certainly on subjects they really have no understanding of, like those who only have a high school education and yet think they know human psychology, theology, the origin of the universe, homelessness etc.

If only there was a way to humble them.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Negative Can't Make Anything Positive

I completely understand why I get negative, hateful, and hurtful messages. But what is really perplexing is that some of these people actually believe that they will get some positive effect from them; as if by my reading these words somehow I'll be able to improve my lot in life. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Unwelcomed - Update

Today I received this email: "I didn't get in till 9:30 and no one told me about this. Richard has been reminded who runs this show and that he was aware that I had extended an invitation to you that was open ended. Just Richard being Richard I guess. I am really sorry about this Kevin and I am sure that it will not happen again."

happy ending.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Unwelcomed

Last week, I received an email that, among other things, said:

"I am Innkeeper [for Room In The Inn] at Christ Church Cathedral 900 Broadway. We do Thursday nights, you are welcome there. We have room for a few more than the 12 we pickup. I have never turned away a walk up guest..."

For those of you who don't know, Room In The Inn is a winter shelter program in Nashville where area churches take in homeless people for the night - usually just one night a week - and feed them, give them a bed for the night, and offer other help as they are able.

And so last week I took advantage of this invite and had dinner with the other Room In The Inn guests at the church. Everything went well. The person who invited me knew me from my blog, and so after dinner he also invited me to use the church's wifi, so I spent a couple hours there. Afterward, a church member gave me a ride from the church to Cafe Coco.

That was last week. Today, I was down to my last dollar and used it to buy a burger at McDonalds - that was for lunch. But, I knew I'd be able to have dinner at the church, so I didn't mind being a little hungry, and didn't seek out other means. When it was time, I walked up to the church, expecting to be greeted as warmly as I was the previous week. When I walked in the door I only saw a couple people. One, I recalled from last Thursday and we said, "hi." Then another guy, who I did recognize from the street, turned around to look at me. I knew that the church had also extended to him the same welcome a year or so ago that they were seeming extending to me, and he was now helping that church with their Room In The Inn program. "Richard" was on his hand written name tag. "Can I help you?" he asked me. I wasn't expecting that, it kind of threw me, but by his tone I could tell what was coming. Not sure how to respond, I said, "I'm not sure if you can." And at that moment I could not remember the name of the guy who'd sent the email, and I hesitated. After a moment I said, "I was invited here." To which Richard replied, "That was last week. Jack isn't here now." Then it hit me, Jack was the person who sent the invite and welcomed me in last week. Then Richard said, "Jack won't be here until 8pm. You can come back then." All the while, Richards tone was rather curt.

In the heat of this I was tempted to fire off a remark or two, but I didn't. I took a deep breath, said "ok," and then turned and walked out the door. As I walked away from the building, I couldn't help but exclaiming aloud, "amazing."

My first thought as I walked away from the church, was "wow, that was a real Christian greeting." Eventually the sarcasm subsided. But I had another thought, too, that I've had on other similar occasions. That being of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem Christmas Eve. (Yeah I know it wasn't known as Christmas then, but you know what I mean.) As the story is told, Joseph and Mary were traveling. When they arrived in Bethlehem they went in search of lodging, but they found none. Actually, according to Luke 2:6, they had been in Bethlehem for a few days, at least, before Mary gave birth to Jesus. Though they had been in Bethlehem for some time, and Mary obviously pregnant, they could not get any lodging. That really seems suspect to me. And I really wonder just how "full" the inn really was. Joseph and Mary were strangers from out of town, and back then, some people considered a woman giving birth as "unclean," personally more than physically. And so I really think that Mary had to birth Jesus in a barn, more because of prejudice and attitude, than because of overbooking at the hotel.

But what could I do? The dinner at the church would begin at 6:30pm. If I was to return to the church at 8, the meal would be long gone. At this point there were two others in the room. And yet, though they seemed to be from the church, they had that deer in the headlights look. And I didn't think it would help if I appealed to them to straighten out this mess. All I could do was leave. If I argued with Richard, it would only appear as though I was a trouble maker, and I'd never be allowed to come back.

So, there it was. I was invited to dinner at the church. It was to be my only meal for the day. So, yeah, I was kind of looking forward to it. I arrived at the door. But in a spirit less than churchy, I was turned away.

Like I told the guy who originally invited me, I was church shopping. Right now, though, I'm thinking this may not be the church for me. Yeah, I'll be able to eat tomorrow. I should have some money available soon.

Richard's motivation for treating me this way might be a blog post for tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Would Jesus Deconstruct

For you readers not familiar with my blog, I want to tell you that I do write about subjects that may seem unrelated to homelessness. But really, there are many issues that effect homeless people. There is something about human homelessness that strikes people at their very core. It raises many questions about the nature and purpose of human beings. The "why" questions about homelessness become large and innumerable. And that is why I post on such subjects as the one below.

Philosophy is a search for wisdom concerning the true nature of man. And one such philosopher, Jacques Derrida, came up with the idea of "deconstruction" as a method of discovering truth, as truth is often hidden, or at least not obvious. His "deconstruction" is not a negative type of destruction, but has as it's goal something redemptive. It is important to discover truth, because as Jesus said, "the truth will set you free."

John Caputo was a student of Derrida's, and wrote a few books on the subject. The book he wrote, that I am digesting now, is called, What Would Jesus Deconstruct. If you do decide to pick up the book to read, I highly recommend skipping the introductions, as they are over-the-top, academically.

Here is a bite from this book - the whole thing is quotable, but I'll save you from that. I really dig this:

Suppose we alter the intonation of this question, [What Would Jesus Do] and ask, “What would Jesus deconstruct?” What is the uniquely Jesus-inspired thing to do? I do not mean some universal-rational thing (as if there were one!) that we might get from Socrates or Kant, but the specific genius, the divine madness that characterizes Jesus in particular. What is the characteristic mark of this “poetics” or “theo-poetics” of the kingdom that we find in the New Testament of which Jesus is the centerpiece? Then, if we can get a sense of that, let us ask how we get from any such theo-poetics to a praxis of the kingdom. How do we go from poetics to ethics and politics?

While other cases of “divine men” are to be found in ancient literature, Jesus is unique precisely because Jesus is not a typical superhero or mythological power who slays things and crushes his enemies with his might. What is most riveting about Jesus is that he is defeated, executed, and abandoned, that he is a man whose symbol is an instrument of public execution, like a gallows, and whose message is radical peace and nonviolence.

When he is arrested he tells the disciple who wields a sword in his defense to sheathe it, for that is not how things are done in the kingdom of God (Matt. 26:52). After this the disciples desert him. As he hangs on the cross he asks forgiveness for those who are executing him. To feel the sharp edge of this scene, let us impress on ourselves that he is nailed to the cross, unable to move, unable to escape, and forget the magical images of him – that all he had to do was blink and those Roman soldiers would have been sent hurling through the air and smashed against a rock. Forget the opinion of Thomas Aquinas that Jesus was intimately conjoined with the beatific vision at that moment, which would have offered him infinite relief from suffering. I regard all that as so much docetism.

If we forget all that and think of a Jesus who really is crucified and who really feels abandoned, then the icon of God we find in Jesus on the cross is not an icon of power but of powerlessness, or at most a power of powerlessness. Saint Paul called this the “weakness of God” (Cor. 1:25), which is perhaps the ultimate madness of the kingdom of God. In Jesus there is kenosis (Phil. 2:5-8): the divinity lies in the emptying of divinity. There is an ancient Christian tradition of being fools for God, like Simeon Stylites atop his pillar – men and women whose lives make no sense from the viewpoint of what the world calls wisdom, people sent as lambs among wolves – that goes back to Jesus. What is specific to Jesus is what Paul called the logic of the cross (logos staurou), which is more precisely the foolishness (moria) of the cross.

What rises up in majesty from the cross is not a show of might but rather forgiveness, not power but a protest against the unjust execution of a just man, a great prophetic “no” to injustice and persecution, a prophetic death rather than a sacrificial exchange that buys a celestial reward. Something unconditional lays claim to us in that weakness – something unconditional but without an exercise of force. He is tried, convicted, tortured, and paraded through the streets in shame on the way to a particularly gruesome public execution, although a common enough display of imperial power in the Roman world. My God, my God, why have you deserted me? The apostles scatter; a few women keep watch. This is the original ending of Mark's Gospel, at 16:8. To catch the sense of the life and death of Jesus, my advice is to linger in that moment – on Holy Saturday – and not rush too quickly to Easter Sunday triumphalism.

But the weakness of God has nothing to do with a timid and fearful man and everything to do with the courage of prophetic impatience. The God of forgiveness, mercy, and compassion shines like a white light on the hypocrisy of those who, under the cover of God, oppress the most defenseless people in society.

Forwarded Email

THE NINTH ANNUAL
CHRISTMAS BLUEGRASS BENEFIT CONCERT
FOR THE HOMELESS

7 p.m. Sunday, December 14, 2008
BHHHHHHHB
Your hosts Eddie & Martha Adcock, Donna Sonner, and Gene & June Johnson invite you to
The Station Inn, 402 12th Avenue S., Nashville TN

For a show benefitting the homeless people of Nashville, featuring Bluegrass and Acoustic artists giving their time and talent to the cause. Artists expected to perform include:

Ned Luberecki, Larry Stephenson, Roland White Band,
Tim Graves & Cherokee, Dale & Don Wayne Reno, Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe, Gene Johnson of Diamond Rio, Jack Hicks & Summertown Road, Randy Waller of the Country Gentlemen, Sam Jackson & the Jackson Gang, Dr. Terry Comer & the Best In Town, Alan Sibley & the Magnolia Ramblers and...
Eddie & Martha Adcock
..... Sound by Clark Williams .....

Suggested donation at the door is $15. Larger amounts will be gratefully accepted.

And we encourage you to bring items that individuals and families can use : soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and paste, deodorant, razors, shave cream, combs, personal-size tissues, new socks & underwear, washcloths, sewing kits, pens, pencils and small notebooks.

All proceeds and gifts will be distributed through Room In The Inn, a local shelter system.

PLEASE COME JOIN US !
Remember, they're not faceless or nameless. They're just homeless.
BHHHHHHHB
The Station Inn is a non-smoking venue. For information, call 615-255-3307.

Also see www.stationinn.com or www.eddieandmarthaadcock.com.

Where I Go From Here, I Haven't A Clue

Monday, December 8, 2008

Old News

If you never saw these, I provide them for your perusal.

Articles about this blog in:

www.usatoday.com

The Washington Times

Associated Press

Salon.com

Quote In The News

Another person writing about her past homeless experiences tells her story on a blog - and her local press ran an article about her at, http://www2.presstelegram.com

Where I Am On The Net

Where you can reference my Internet activity:

My current blog is at http://thehomelessguy.blogspot.com
For a period of time I blogged at thehomelessguy.WORDPRESS.com. So, you can find some of my posts there.
My very first blog posts have been archived and can only be found at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://thehomelessguy.blogspot.com

I have ended up with two seperate youtube.com accounts: My current youtube.com account is, http://www.youtube.com/user/thehomelessguy.
Yet, I have also used http://youtube.com/user/kevinbarbieux

I have begun a streaming video service at http://ustream.com that you can find at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-homeless-guy

And I have created at few podcasts at http://thehomelessguy.mypodcast.com

Friday, December 5, 2008

Socks It To Me

Blogs On Homelessness

http://homelessmanspeaks.wordpress.com/
http;//homelessfamily.blogspot.com
http://homelessmary.blogspot.com
http://www.lahomelessblog.org
http://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/
http://homelessonthehighdesert.wordpress.com/
http://jackiedowd.blogspot.com/
http://larryjamesurbandaily.blogspot.com
http://norsehorseshometurf.blogspot.com
http://superhomeless.wordpress.com/
http://sparechangenews.blogspot.com
http://homelessnation.org
http://www.chicagohomeless.org/blog
http://www.picturethehomeless.org/blog
http://communityvoicemail.blogspot.com/
http://chosenfast.com/

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Issue Continues

These news spots always say, "those who want Tent City closed," but they NEVER say who those "those" are. I, for one, would really like to know. The police are not supposed to get involved in issues on private property unless the property owner requests it, and the owners of that property have not even been determined. AND, there is no proof that the people living in tent city are in anyway responsible for any criminal activity within the city. If real housing options can be made available for the residents of tent city, and the residents want to go, that's cool - but otherwise, they should be left alone. All you people who believe that Government intrudes too much in our daily lives should be defending these law abiding private homeless citizens.

Employee Of The Month

This is the blog of a man working at The Campus for Human Development - a Day Shelter and Homeless Service Provider in Nashville. Old posts but good stuff here.

jeffmoles.blogspot.com

Inescapable Orange


Something for my wishlist. A Poverty and Justice Bible

Defining Homelessness

Mike J, of Ball State just sent an email, asking for help with his project of defining homelessness, seeing that an accurate definition is necessary for finding a cure. This is what I wrote back:

Interesting - let me ruminate - if you don't hear back from me in a couple days, please resend your message..."home" is an abstract idea meaning basically a place where one belongs - some say that "homeless" is a misnomer because what the homeless really lack is a house - the correct designation would be houseless, not homeless.

When you get into defining to what extent a person belongs somewhere, that is, having a "home" you see that you can only measure such in degrees. There are aspects of life were I do belong, (and am accepted) - church, friends, the internet, etc., and yet I do not belong, (approved access by ownership) within any particular building or structure.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nashville Homeless

Get current news and information about Nashville's Homeless on Facebook at, Nashville Homeless, or on the blog, nashvillehomeless.blogspot.com

Project Homeless Connect

About time. A focused effort on getting people out of homelessness.

I'm sure that many more homeless did not even know of the event, or just didn't want to go. Some people that attended the event are not homeless, but are living in poverty and threatened with homelessness. I think from the attendance we can infer that the homeless population in Davidson County to be about 2000, at any one time. I myself would not have attended, if it were not for people from a church who came to where I was and offered a ride.

Things that were offered to the homeless at this event focused on improving homeless people's situation, so that they could be better prepared for leaving homelessness. And all the services were given free of charge - hair cuts, new shoes, medical check ups, eye and dental exams, foot care, assessing housing needs and providing some with housing opportunities, information about veterans benefits, assistance with getting legal I.D.s, job assistance, etc.

Perhaps the best thing to come from this was indication that so many homeless people truly wanted help getting out of homelessness. Kinda helps disprove the myth that homeless people want to be homeless.

These are the things homeless shelters should be providing, but are not.

newschannel5.com

A World Class City Speaks Many Languages

Now, this is something we can all get involved with. It is a website helping to organize mounting opposition to the English Only in Metro Government movement.

www.nashvilleforallofus.org

We cannot be a truly free society unless we are all free.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Burnell Cotton Passed Away In September

Some time after these videos were shot, a church took Cotton in, and gave him a place off the streets to live. Today, while reading the homeless newspaper put out by The Campus For Human Development, during Project Homeless Connect I learned that he passed away back in September of this year. Cotton was one of my favorite people, homeless, or otherwise. I first encountered him at a meeting of "The Living Room" a self help group for the homeless. For months he came to the meetings but never said anything. And he was always so still that many, including myself, thought that he was falling asleep in his chair. He always came early, and was seated in the room before others showed up.

But, eventually he started opening up and began participating, ever so slowly, with the conversations around him. Eventually he started taking the initiative and participating openly - he even joined the ranks of the Homeless Power Project, when that started up. Often a naysayer, as many homeless are, he spoke his mind, or he didn't speak. He was always honest about his ideas, even if they were, at times, a bit off center.

As long as I'd known him, he has been this heavy. He had several health issues, which were exacerbated when ran afoul of the rescue missions rule of, "No hats allowed to be worn during Chapel." You see, at the rescue mission, having mental health issues is no excuse for not obeying their many rules. And Cotton wearing his hat during Chapel at the mission was not an act of disobedience - actually I don't know what his crazy reasoning was for it - but I'm sure to Cotton wearing his cap was the right thing to do. Yet, because he was given grief for it, he left the mission determined to never return.

From that point on, Cotton lived on the streets, sitting on bus and park benches, ruining his already fragile circulation system. In the series of videos I shot of him, you see a metro health department nurse trying to treat one of his legs that had swollen so much that the skin began to tear and become infected. Again, shortly after this development, a church group reached out to him, and gave him the care and shelter he needed. He did not die homeless, and I'm very grateful for that.

There are few people I could honestly say I'll miss, and Cotton is one of them.

Stop The Madness

It seems absolutely incredible to me that good Christian folks are so willing to spend a thousand dollars or more, per person, to fly to the other side of the planet - so to help people living in poverty. But are unwilling to spend 5 dollars to drive a few miles - so to help people living in poverty in their own town.

Just imagine what a group of 12 people could do, if instead of going abroad to do God's work, they used that 12 thousand dollars to help a poor American family. Helped a poor kid go to a good school or college. Paid the heating bill for some elderly folks. Saved a family from being evicted from their home. etc.

With so much need in our own country, why do Americans spend so much money going "away" to do God's work?

Dedicated To All My Friends At The Nashville Rescue Mission

O-God, have mercy on us all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Homeless People And Their Pets

For the life of me, I just don't understand it. But the Pastor of the Downtown Presbyterian Church often talks condescendingly about the homeless. It seems odd to me that a minister, a representative of Jesus, would be so judgmental. But that is how this guy rolls. At a recent bible study that I attended, in which he led, someone asked him about the pets of homeless people. He had nothing good to say.

So, I was extremely pleased to see this video piece made by our local newspaper - The Tennessean. The reporter went into tent city to show people first hand, how the homeless treat their pets.

Please click this link and watch.
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SPECIAL0344