He might take me to some unknown location,
and zap out on me, and I’d become a statistic.
This morning at Dunkin’ Donuts, about 8:45 I stood in line with my arms crossed behind my back, clenching a $5 bill in my left hand. It occurred to me that at McDonald’s, only 100 yards away, I’d never do that. If I did that at McDonald’s, someone would surely snatch the bill and run.
This thought proved to be an omen.
Sooner or later, it had to happen.
Sunday, about 14:00, I had just bought my second coffee at McDonald’s. I put it on my table and, as they require me to do, took all my things with me to go out and smoke.
Outside, I took one more shot at trying to understand how evil — negativity, conflict — happens.
There are those who say that evil is necessary because without it, humans would never be able to appreciate joy. I have never found this believable.
Continue reading The inevitability of evil
UPDATES APPEAR IN THE COMMENTS.
Blogging experts tell us to give our posts dramatic titles. I might not tell the story at all, but on the one hand there is an expectation that (though I seldom do) a homeless blogger will tell about the difficulties homeless people face. On the other hand, it provides occasion for me to set forth William Tell’s current approach to injustice.
It will also let me model the principles of Free Speech Handbook.
This concerns an incident of October 7, 2014.
Continue reading Does McDonald’s discriminate against the homeless?
The appointed Gospel text for Sunday was Matthew’s Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Matthew 22:1-14.
I was struck by verses 11-14 —
11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”
— in that, last Tuesday at McDonald’s, I’m the one who got thrown into the outer darkness.
Continue reading Life in the outer darkness
This thinking goes back to 1973.
I was a senior in high school, running an errand in the family car. I must have been listening to WKSU. This 5- or 15-minute segment came on. A female spokesperson for the ACLU said that, under the compulsory school attendance law, a minor can only be in one of two places: a school, or a penal facility. In her view there was no real difference.
I was an honors student and deeply convicted that education is the answer to poverty. Thus her remarks left me incensed. More than that, whereas I’ve never been a conservative, it seemed to me that the ACLU and other, like-minded movements were bent on destroying all order in society. The family unit was under attack. Marriage was under attack. The schools were under attack. Change for its own sake, which seemed to be what these people were after, isn’t good. Nothing can be built on a foundation of chaos. A child needs to root oneself in earth that will be in the same place today as tomorrow. A tree can’t grow in quicksand.
Yesterday, as usual, after church Vladimir and I went to the McDonald’s at Baltimore and Light Streets, to drink coffee and study. Time came when both of us needed to use the bathroom. The floor outside was flooded, and a sign on the door said, “Out of order. Sorry. 😦 ”
It remains out of service today.
Continue reading All stressed up and nowhere to “go”
This exchange occurred at Messiah Truth:
The New Testament equips me to love All.
On the one hand, one who diligently lives as Jesus taught eventually reaches a point where loving All is not merely a possibility, but a responsibility. I am at that point now.
On the other hand, loving All of necessity entails loving situations, events and people one might much more easily abhor.
1 Corinthians 12 applies to the need to love one’s whole self. We are acquainted with an individual who finds one feature of himself, or rather of his story, so abhorrent that he preoccupies himself with it, until the self-hatred becomes unbearable; at which point he lashes out. I wrote “A short route to agony” with that person specifically in mind.
In 1978, I applied through the United Methodist Church Board of Global Ministries to become a missionary to Japan; I would teach English at a Japanese Christian high school. As part of this process, they required me to read William Stringfellow’s An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land. I hated it. For the most part, it was a typical 1970’s radical screed, blaming America for every single problem that exists in the world. One point stuck with me, however. Stringfellow opines that the Kingdom never does or will manifest in any permanent or worldwide basis; the Kingdom instead appears here and there, now and then, in a community that honors the gifts of its each and every member.
1 Corinthians 12 applies equally here. I belong to “A real church in a real ’hood.” We are diligent and intentional about being that sort of community. Now, I have learning opportunities here: even though I am homeless myself, it is easy for me to look down on “the critters and the crazies” whom I meet at McDonald’s. Birur nitzotzot relates: evangelism entails facilitating each person’s discovery of his or her own way to shine.
In the Parable of the Great Dinner, the master directs his servant:
“‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” 23Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.'”
In the Kingdom, there are no outcasts. Everyone has a place at the table.
(Originally posted 2014-09-24.)
My normal day runs as follows. After breakfast at the mission, at 5:45 I head for McDonald’s, where I drink coffee ($1.06) and do my prayer routines. Around 9:15, I head for the library, stopping at a convenience store en route to buy smokes ($2.75) and a soda ($1.69). From 10:00 to 2:00 I’m online at the library. When my time’s up, I go to the Wi-Fi café, write in my diary and have another cup of coffee ($1.00). Then it’s back to the mission, where I have to pay admission ($3.00).
Sunday mornings, I am normally left with bus fare to church ($1.60) and pennies. I meet my patrons at church and obtain an allowance for the next week.