This is a thread at the Messiah Truth Discussion Forum, where my username is Proteus.
The thread is closed, and I respect the moderators’ reasons for doing so. But the questions are still so intensely present to me, that I’ve decided to re-open the discussion — here — and invite others’ participation. IOW, your participation. We can do this via Comments. Here, I am the moderator.
If you visit that thread, be forewarned that I catch all kinds of hostility there.
Midway through the thread, UriYosef linked me to this article, which I found highly informative; I’m posting the link now to save you time:
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.
Without rehearsing the arithmetic now, as of bedtime last night I had enough cash to cover McDonald’s, the afternoon coffee, rent for tonight, and bus fare for tomorrow. I have about $3 left on my debit card, and could use that to buy smokes. I would have to go without a soda today completely. Things are already looking skinny for next week, as I know one of my patrons will be out of town tomorrow, and I need to pick up a prescription ($2.50).
When I got to the convenience store, the EFT system was down, so I could not use my card. The clerk offered to let me take a pack of smokes today and pay tomorrow. I took it. As I walked away, it occurred to me that I could probably stop in at Fresh & Greens and buy a soda there using my debit card. Continue reading →
Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness. Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream. I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.
Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.” Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.
Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am. In particular, at the shelter in recent months have been several guys who just “came home” from doing “hard time,” and within days had found jobs.
Times of despair. I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen. The question isn’t whether I fall down, but whether I’ll get back up. A moment of despair doesn’t rule out faith long-term. It can be OK for me to lie there and have a little pity party, as long as it’s reasonably brief.
Incidents of utter selfishness. (I may rename this if I think of a better name.) Several weeks ago after church, I became impatient waiting for the person who had promised me a ride downtown, and waiting also for my principal patron, who was tied up in conversation with others. I became disgusted with myself over feeling that way; and disgusted that I was hanging out there long after I would otherwise have left, having feelings all about obtaining favors for me, me, me.
That’s not a pretty way to end this just now, but in the long run I do think I need to be candid in admitting what it takes to climb one’s way out of poverty.
on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger
It’s difficult to start this post, as the story’s prone to leave one speechless.
What sort of karma would impel a child to be born into that context?
At the shelter, we’re compelled to attend chapel every night. A different preacher comes each night, in a monthly rotation. These generally disappoint me in their utter failure to speak to the sort of situation in question here. About 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with what will become of your soul when you die; whether you’ll go to heaven or hell; and your need to “believe in Jesus” as the key to salvation. It’s all about a cognitive assent, saying “yes” to a certain set of ideas. There is no presentation of Christianity as a lifestyle, nor any discussion of the role discipline in following Jesus.
Another 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with obtaining “blessings,” principally by the means of praise: “When the praises go up, the blessings come down.” A “blessing” here is always a material, for example monetary, advantage that one has done nothing to earn. It is as if God were some cosmic King Lear jealous for flattery.
Neither group mentions the call to repent, in terms of any need to change one’s ways.
The only hell that concerns me is the living hell that folk create in this life, here and now, for themselves and their community. Continue reading →