Music: The Jonas Brothers, “Sucker”
Continue reading Podcast — Love and Order
If a young man at my church had done this,
he’d still be alive today.
I may no longer believe a word they say, but I can take great comfort in the hymns I learned in childhood.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
No merit of my own I claim,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On what is my hope built?
Monday, March 12, 2018
This addict — from the way he acts, and the way he is in conversation, you’d never suppose he has a problem — complained to me that we’ve had an unusual number of crazies at the shelter in recent days.
Related: Life in the looney bin
Someone’s taken to stealing caps.
You know, knit ski caps? Those things.
Someone’s stealing them.
Now, they PROVIDE those things, for the asking.
Someone’s stealing them
from other homeless men.
Now, in Lutheran theology,
we speak of “the Three Uses of the Law,” that is, God’s law, the Ten Commandments.
The “First Use” is to provide order in society.
I don’t think I need to elaborate.
Don’t torture your conscience over whether or not, on any given occasion, to give or not give to a panhandler.
Go with your gut.
(1) God always provides more than you need.
(2) Use well what you’ve got now; only then will you get more.
(3) What you abuse, you lose.
(4) Absent a disease process, chronic poverty is not a natural condition.
I write as a man with next to nothing, concerned principally for others who have next to nothing. God put me in this position for a reason.
I am strongly tempted to want to rename it “The Parable of the Bootstraps.”
A grassy lot inspires a vision of what can be when a community cares for itself.
When I take the bus to church in the morning, I normally get off at the closest stop, walk three blocks north and one block east. At the corner where I turn is a vacant lot. I don’t know who owns it. In months past, it has typically been heavily littered.
One morning not long ago, as I approached that lot, I saw that it had been cleaned. I saw this from fifty feet away. The way things are around here, that little bit of beauty nearly knocked me down. It took my breath away. It lifted my spirits.
A tiny bit of beauty can powerfully affect one’s mood. A mere glimpse of a pretty face can make one’s whole day.
I reflected: harmony is the essence of beauty, exemplified in the orderliness of the clean lot as contrasted with the chaos of its previous litter. I reflected on the relatednesses among light, love, harmony, order and prosperity, on the one hand; and darkness, strife, chaos and need, on the other. What does it take to begin to establish harmony? I concluded that perhaps love, or self-love, is the beginning of creation.
What if the whole community cared for itself as someone cared for that lot? Continue reading For us
Prosperity belongs not to the righteous, but the wise.
In the days immediately following the initial mistrial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter on charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray, Bounce TV broadcast Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing several times. I could not help seeing this as a commentary on the mistrial. Bounce had likewise shown the film several times in the days following the April 2015 riots.
The film focuses on events surrounding a pizzeria in a New York City ‘hood on the hottest day of the summer. Sal is the Italian-American owner of the pizza place; Mookie, played by Spike Lee, is a young African-American employee. At closing time, a group of people led by Radio Raheem enter the store to insist Sal take down his “Wall of Fame,” which displays portraits of Italian-American celebrities (only).
The dentist prescribed ibuprofen 800s and, for me to take at night if the toothache became severe, Hydrocodon-Acetaminoph 7.5-325. This is a narcotic. “Pain pills.”
I have a large zipper bag with four compartments. There is a main compartment, which I can lock; a front compartment; a left side compartment; and a right side compartment.
Every afternoon when I sit on my bunk, I empty my pockets and put my phone, debit card, and cash in the main compartment. I take my afternoon meds, which are already in there, and lock it all back up.
Related: Giving it all away