Category Archives: Justice

Chaos overwhelms the poor

Some weeks ago, I stood in line awaiting check-in at the shelter. This place charges $3 a night. I was holding my money in my hand, and someone playfully tugged at it. I snapped. I said, “You don’t value your life much, do you?”

Minutes later, I explained this to someone else. I said, “Don’t take a man’s last dollar.” “Why not?” he asked. I said, ” ‘Cause that’s the one he’ll die for. That’s the one he’ll kill for.”

Don’t take my last dollar. That’s the one I’ll kill for.

I’ve been on hard times since 2004. If I lose, or am robbed or cheated, of $20 or $50, that’s a pretty significant amount. But it doesn’t hurt all that much if I have more, and know more is coming. However, if I lose, or someone robs or cheats me of my last $1 — that’s the one that really hurts. That’s the one I’ll kill for.

These memories came to me as I reflected on Maggie Fox’s 08/29/2013 article, “Poor people aren’t stupid; bad decisions are from being overwhelmed, study finds.”
Continue reading Chaos overwhelms the poor

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Carter Scott, Karma and Chaos

(Originally published 06/05/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 06/04/14.)

Short life of Carter Scott marred by accusations of family violence

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 of 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 Carter Scott, Karma and Chaos

“I shoulda had somebody crack your head open.”

I was abused at McDonald’s.

On the one hand, I’ve kept silent about this for four years, lest my coming forward constitute retaliation; I don’t believe in retaliation.  On the other hand, with almost daily news reports about fast food workers abusing customers and the police being called, I would be remiss if I don’t share my story also.

I have screen shots of my diary from the days in question.  I also have the original pertinent e-mails from McDonald’s.

Bottom line:  Will you, or will you not, get on with life?

Continue reading “I shoulda had somebody crack your head open.”

The Ph.D. and her pettiness

As long as you’re complaining
—     about     ANY     THING     —
you’re not doing what you can.

As remarked recently, I am almost never verbally insulted for being homeless.

The insults that do come are events at the clothes window, in the shower room at the shelter.

Continue reading The Ph.D. and her pettiness

Prayer for the dead

When one comes across a story like that of Kendrea Johnson[1], Victoria Martens[2] or Brian Williard[3], one may be moved by a desire to somehow help the deceased, and question what one can do, since the person is, after all, dead.

In the previous post, I said of Kendrea, “You just want to take her in your arms, hug her, and make all the darkness go away.”  Actually, you can — if, at that moment, she is willing to be embraced.  Your intuition will tell you her status in that regard at any given moment; or, may direct you at wholly unexpected times that, at this moment, that is so.  See “Following guidance.”

There is a Jewish expression, “z’l,” meaning “Zikhrono livrakha,” “May his memory be for a blessing.”  The corresponding form for a woman is “Zikhronah livrakha,” “May her memory be for a blessing.”  A corresponding Gentile expression is “O.B.M.,” “of blessed memory.”  Every time one uses such an expression, one honors the person who has passed on, and this is not without its effect beyond the veil.

[1]Related: Give up the word “deserve.”
[2]Related: Forgiving the cosmos
[3]Related: Grief and sublimation
 

2) Give up the word “deserve.”

<– 1) Do for yourself… Home 3) Get your hands dirty. –>

John C. Dorhauer’s “An Open Letter to White Men in America” begins:

Dear White Men,

You are persons of privilege.

You didn’t earn it.

This distresses me far less today than it did when I first read it.  Maybe I’ve become more comfortable with having things I don’t deserve.  More likely, I’ve lost all interest in whether people have things they don’t deserve or deserve things they don’t have.

I encourage you to lose all interest in it, too.

Continue reading 2) Give up the word “deserve.”