Category Archives: Homelessness

Prayers at the shelter

I posted on FB 10/17/19 behind the Trump/Pelosi/Syria debacle:

God, give us a better President.  Amen.

This recalled to me prayers I have offered at the shelter, all just as parsimonious. Continue reading Prayers at the shelter

A good article from “The Atlantic” …

… about homelessness, addiction and crime.

It’s a very long article.

I read the whole thing, and it was worth it for me, given that this individual sounds like any of so many of my homeless neighbors. Like half of all drug addicts, the woman is a psychopath; and it sounds like her daughter may be one as well; there is a genetic link. Continue reading A good article from “The Atlantic” …

Jimmy, part 2

Thursday 2014-07-03.  Jimmy came up to me at McDonald’s yesterday and sat down and talked about the incident.  He doesn’t say he’d been drinking.  He says people thought he’d been drinking.

Recall his psychiatric diagnoses.

Pastor sent me this clipping about the homeless squatters’ camp underneath the Jones Falls Expressway, which the City was about to raze — again. He thought the housing vouchers it mentions might be available to me. They’re not. A different detail caught my eye: the remark that many people in the camp “struggle with mental illness and addiction.” Note the “and.”

Continue reading Jimmy, part 2

Job search update, 09/01/14

INTERVIEWS IN AUGUST:

Secretary II – City Health Department, 08/26/14

Tuesday 08/26/14:   I interviewed this morning for the position of Secretary II with the City Health Department.

My success depended on my performance overcoming my appearance.  This was the fourth interview I’ve had since becoming homeless, and the first time that my appearance was an issue.  As things went, by the time I left McDonald’s for the interview itself, my nerves were shot.

Continue reading Job search update, 09/01/14

Podcast – “Big John”

The William Tell Show – Big John

Tim O’Brien, “He had a long chain on”

Related blog posts:

Big John

It’s the William Tell Show.  I call myself William Tell; you can call me Bill.  Podcasting just now from our state-of-the-art studio in Dunkin’ Donuts at the Court Square Building.

Thank you for including me in your world.  It feels really nice to be included.

Big John stayed at the shelter pretty regular for a couple years.  He’d come day after day for several months, disappear for a few days, and then come back.  I don’t know what finally became of him.  This was all some years ago.

Almost every time I saw him, he was high.  He used methadone, but methadone itself won’t get you high.  I’ve known methadone users who were able to hold down normal jobs and live basically normal lives.  If a methadone user’s high, he or she is using other things on top of the methadone.  For all his strength, Big John just could not keep himself from finding, buying and using these other chemicals every day.

He was basically a good guy, or the shelter would not have let him stay.

Pentecost Sunday came.  This is a church holiday, celebrating an event reported in the Bible, in the second chapter of the book of Acts.  And at suppertime, the guys who sat at the same table as me began discussing this, trying to figure out what really happened.

The Bible says that fifty days after Easter, the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles, and they began to speak in tongues.  The commotion drew a crowd of more than 3,000 people, who wanted to know what it was all about.  Peter stood up and gave a long speech to explain it to them.  At one point, he quotes from verses 28 and 29 of the second chapter of the book of Joel, to the effect:

In the last days, says the Lord,
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your young men will have visions,
and your old men dream dreams.

But what did this mean in its original context, in the book of Joel, which is mainly about a plague of locusts?

At this point, Big John — that man, that man — began reciting the second chapter of the book of Joel, word for word, from memory.  This is not a well-known chapter.  What does this say about his commitment to the Bible, his commitment to Jesus?  We’ll look at this more in a minute.  First, let’s take a break.  Word count: 401

Sponsored segment

Who or what defines you?

We’re back.

Who or what defines you?

There’s a mandatory chapel service every night at the shelter where I say.  It’s half an hour now; in Big John’s day, it was an hour.  A different preacher comes every night, in a monthly rotation.  There’s been almost a complete turnover of the preachers since Big John’s time, but at the time, many of them —

Some of these teachings are so preposterous I don’t even want to report them, even though I believed the same way myself, from seventh grade through college.

They’d tell us we’re homeless because we’re sinners who don’t believe in Jesus.  In fact, almost all of us believe in Jesus already.  Look at the conversation I told about, at the dinner table.

They’d tell us we’re homeless because we’re drinkin’, druggin’ and whorin’.  Well, I got saved in 1968.  I became homeless in 2011, and drinkin’, druggin’ and whorin’ had nothing to do with it.  Or for many homeless men I know.

They’d tell us that if you believe in Jesus, all you have to do is pray — once — and God will deliver you from bad habits.  In fact, their God, the God they conceive of, the God of their understanding, is notorious for turning a deaf ear the first, second, third, fourth or fifth time an addict cries out in despair.  That fact is exactly why the 12 Steps movement came to be.

They basically promised us that once you’re born again, you’ll never face difficulty ever again in life.  Some hymns promise the same thing:

Floods of joy o’er my soul
Like the sea billows roll
Since Jesus came into my life.

But that’s not real life.

In effect, in their view, our circumstances defined us.  Our circumstances were proof positive of our state of grace.  Our circumstances proved what sort of men we are, what sort of lives we lead.

I’m here to say, your circumstances don’t define you.  The love of God defines you.  What you’re composed, what you consist, what you’re made of is the love of God, and God means, through you, to bring blessings to the world.

In the end, your circumstances, your limitations, your diseases, your past, your criminal background, your defects of character do not matter.  The love of God is all that matters.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control — God means to bring these things into the world through you.

Just as with Big John.

Today’s music is Tim O’Brien singing, “He had a long chain on.”  I’ll provide links.

Be well.  Word count: 420

My bud thinks he’s engaged to this woman.

He had told me they met online, that she lives in Brazil and is rich.  Then in a recent voicemail (He has no phone.), he gave me her name.  So I looked her up on Facebook.

He’s 60+ years old, like me; homeless, uses a wheelchair, and looks a mess.

He could be her grandfather.

But “she” leaves passionate comments on his FB posts.

What I don’t understand is what this person possibly thinks “she” can get from a 60+ year old homeless man.

Note that the pictures aren’t selfies; these are professionally done. Continue reading My bud thinks he’s engaged to this woman.

In playground murder, 12-year-old boy charged as an adult

Bookmarks:
In playground murder, 12-year-old boy charged as an adultHomeless woman beaten by cop speaks outRussian “aid” convoy in UkraineFirst steps in dealing with a problem drinker

Continue reading In playground murder, 12-year-old boy charged as an adult