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Friday, August 31, 2007

Mother Teresa

After posting As One Unknown (see Saturday, August 25 2007), a few days later fellow team members located the expecting mother (see picture) a second time. They were accompanied by Mother Theresa's Brothers of Charity. The Sisters of Charity have welcomed her and offered a warm bed and hospitality. She is due to deliver within the next three months.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Soup Kitchens Aren't My Style

M.D. responds to D.T. - (See Oohs and Wahs Tuesday, August 28, 2007) saying, “Unlike you, I know the author of this blog. I know that he and other individuals, as well as businesses offer financial support [to the homeless] and they help provide one full meal to at least 100 homeless people every day … He also organizes a group of volunteers that help feed the marginalized homeless, those that are not reached by the downtown mission system. For his own reasons, he has not presented this information on the blog site. Since your comment, at least on its face, embraces the goal of initiating "a project/plan to house these non-working, drug-addicted, un- or under-educated/unhealthy," and since you appear to be an articulate and, hence, intelligent person, can you help us? Your help would certainly be appreciated, even if it only meant finding "the nearest soup kitchen" and volunteering your time.”
08-28-07 3:50p

D.T. responds back (short version), “I know, it comes across rather harsh but I'm tired of being shown or told about problems that aren't coupled with genuine action or real solutions. Plus the Jesus-Was-Homeless-Too movement takes the story/ideal/dogma/inspiration of the man [Jesus] (turned idol) on a personal quest to teach people to find God within a SHAM by likening it to the plight of people that live in the streets by choice or by misfortune. Is the blogger suggesting that Jesus and these people have a lot in common? I mean, what exactly is this blogger trying to say? Or better yet what is he trying to do? When I read it - especially the defacto mission statement at the top it seems that all he's promoting is that homelessness in America is a low-down, dirty shame. Agreed. So what? Then Jesus is waved around like some rallying flag. I could respect the message if it pointed to Jesus' compassion and message of brotherly love and then showed how he personally is serving the homeless people he plucks our heartstrings about and puts on display - like a dog and pony show. [the blogger is obviously a lazy person trying to get the rest of us motivated to take action] It's exploitive… M.D., it sounds like you're suggesting that I do something to assist the homeless... Soup kitchens aren't my style." 08.29.07 5:46p

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Children on Skid Row

I see more and more children on Skid Row today.
A few years ago, it wasn’t like that.
Now I see mothers pushing strollers.
I see young teens on their way to school.
Is it a good thing, or a bad thing?
One part of me is glad to see the missions ...
Open their doors to homeless mothers with children.
Another part of me is heart broken.
The Row is no place for a child.
You talk about the jungle,
Well this is the jungle's jungle of thieves,
Murderers, winos, junkies, child molesters.
Jackals hunting in packs or single lions on the prowl.
Fearless and without mercy.
Men and women who are on psych meds.
Mentally ill people.
All living down here.
Some of them don’t even know what day it is.
What do they care about a child?
They don’t even care about themselves.
The voices that tell them to step in front of a truck ...
Could very easily tell them to attack an innocent child.
It’s a good. It’s a bad thing.
It’s life on the Row.

© 2006, Ollie Buchanan,
aka Skid Row Poet

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oohs and Wahs

D.T. writes regarding the blog ... "oooh , neato, their sad lives on the web for all of us to consider/judge/cry about...wah! I think taking pictures or gathering the stories of the miserable plight of homeless people while proselytising about Jesus (and his supposed homelessness) is worthless; designed to tug at our heart strings and make us thank our lucky stars. That is unless you're also documenting EXACTLY what you are doing about it and how you're HELPING THEM. And come on, a woman has unprotected sex with some other hobo, ends up pregnant (God knows what shape that newborn is going to be in) and I learn about how she sleeps in a diesel laden truck-stop yard...and I'm supposed to do what??? Shake my head and think, "what a shame, oh poor thing..." or better yet find the nearest soup kitchen and volunteer my time? ... [the author of this blog, rather than sensationalize homelessness should] initiate a project/plan to house these non-working, drug-addicted, un- or under-educated, unhealthy (physically/spiritually/mentally) and provide real assistance to them rather than merely putting them on display to feed the curious voyeurism of the privileged."
08.27.07 1:15p

M.D. writes regarding the survey question... "If by 'salvation' we mean moral transformation, and that's what I mean by it, then personal wealth is not a strong indicator of such. In fact, it may be an indicator of the opposite." 08.27.07 4:00p

M.E. writes ... "What the survey statement [survey is below, Do you believe ...?] is actually saying (correct me if I'm wrong) is 'Do I believe that the greater a person's wealth, the greater his chances of salvation and the more evidence of God's favor?' My answer is 'no' but my comment is that wealth can be a hindrance to salvation but so can many other things. In Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, and Luke 18:25, Jesus was addressing his listeners' belief that wealth and prosperity were signs of God's blessings. Salvation is ONLY available through Jesus Christ, and a financially poor person is no more superior spiritually than a rich person if he has not acknowledged how utterly depraved and lost he is without Christ's work on the cross in his behalf." 08.27.07 3:07p

Monday, August 27, 2007

Politicians Say & Do the Funniest Things

A Republican and a Democrat were walking down the street when they came to a homeless person. The Republican gave the homeless person his business card and told him come to his business for a job. He then took twenty dollars out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless person. The Democrat was very impressed, and when they came to another homeless person, He decided to help. He walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the welfare office. He then reached into the Republican’s pocket and gave him fifty dollars. (Oh, lighten up. It was only a joke.)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Chaos to Cosmos

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? When speaking of evil such as the pain and suffering of the homeless, it is customary to distinguish between natural and moral evil. John Haldane, a contemporary philosopher explains the difference between the two this way. "If a branch falls on my neck and breaks it, that is a natural evil. If you strike me and break my neck, that is a moral evil." When the problem of homelessness exists within an affluent society, it is a moral evil. (It generally does not proceed from natural causes except in the rare catastrophic case of a hurricane, flood, etc.) God is not the author of moral evil. In the same respect He does not stop us from committing evil because our free choice and free will would be violated. As a theist, I believe that God in His time brings good from moral evil. We know from science that creation is an evolutionary process of disorder to order. God is creation's Master Designer. Through Christ He reconciles all chaos to cosmos. John Haldane states it this way in the work Atheism and Theism. "Christianity teaches that suffering is a route to moral self-realization. God Himself entered into the valley of death. What is to be made of these claims? It is a fact of human experience that suffering has immense potential for growth. Anyone who has lived through painful illness, emotional distress, anxiety and depression, and other familiar terrors and woes, know that these give rise to “spiritual” challenges. If they are met, they will leave the person a stronger and wiser human being. To put it paradoxically, people are often grateful to have suffered such harms. What it suggests is that it is possible to fashion something good out of evil. What Christian theism adds is an account of how heroic victory over evil is possible." (Haldane, J. , Smart, J. J. C. Atheism and Theism, Blackwell Publishing, 2002.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

As One Unknown

She lives on a slab of worn blacktop behind an urban truck stop near some train tracks. She labors to deliver to us one who is yet unknown. Come along although it is difficult to see the baby through the belly. It's even more difficult to see Him in the poverty, the grease and in the pungent smells of diesel. On the road to Emmaus we had the same problem. The road was muddy, the air filled with dust and a pungent smell of urine under the bridges saturated the air. There were many distractions and for a time we did not recognize Him. He mystified us as He walked in unknown ways. Then our eyes were opened. Broken, the bread he breaks. Ah, He comes to us broken and as one unknown. I was blind, but now I see.

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Faces

Young and in love, this couple represents only one aspect of the many new faces of the poor sleeping in alleys. Please visit Homeless In America often. You can expect to see frequent updates, new photos, creative editorials and videos. Your comments, thoughts, and postings are welcomed. Please forward the blog to your family and friends,