HOMELESS 2013 B
1952 YOU WILL STAND IN YOUR LOT AT THE END OF DAYS
Let’s do a little from Daniel chapter 12.
That was the chapter for this past week.
These chapters in the Old Testament prophets are very familiar with the End Times teachers.
In Theology we call this Eschatology- the study of End Times.
But what I want to do is give you a few simple principles.
Daniel is receiving a message from God/angels.
He hears that God is going to do a great work with his people- but this work takes place in the middle of great trouble [often called the time of Jacobs Trouble- or the Tribulation].
God communicates that his people will be scattered- a ruler will come against them- and yet- this is the time they will inherit the promises God made to them.
The chapter ends by saying those who endure to the final days- they will ‘stand in their lot at the end of their days- and rest’.
The ‘end of days’ phrase- used by Jesus in the gospels- can be a tricky phrase.
In the New Testament when we read that certain things will happen- and the ‘end of the world’ comes.
The actual term in Greek says ‘the end of the age’.
This can refer to a specific time period coming to an end.
For instance- one of the great themes of the bible is the New and Everlasting covenant of the Blood of Jesus.
Yes- Christians celebrate and remember this covenant every Sunday in church.
The Eucharist/communion is the central mode of worship in many Christian churches of our day.
In biblical terms- we are already in a ‘new age’.
So- in some ways the ‘old world’ has passed away- and the new one has come.
Okay- applying this to Daniel- God says in the ‘end of days’ we shall stand in our lot [fulfill our purpose in life] and this will happen during a time of great trouble- like never before.
As we say ‘can I get an amen’?
So- in life- we have a calling from God- a purpose for being on the planet.
Thru out the journey there are ups and downs- but those who ‘endure to the end [outcome]’ will ‘be saved’- or fulfill the purpose at the end.
Okay- just a few notes.
The last week or so I have been helping my friend establish a halfway house.
I have been working with some new guys- guys form the other part of town- yet they are brothers just like the guys where I live.
I mentioned Little Charlie the other day- he’s a young kid- has had his problems with drugs- and is living at the halfway house.
I brought a bunch of furniture and stuff over the last few weeks.
I like it- it already has some of my favorite nick knacks hanging on the walls.
I spent some time with the guys this past Sunday- I took them to a street church that my friend pastors [see all the pictures of the tent he sets up- I posted them on Facebook].
His name is Rey Escalante- he’s a good friend of mine- he works with the same street guys I work with.
I took the halfway house crew to his service this Sunday- we had a good time.
Rey feeds everyone a Sunday dinner too.
I had a good talk with Bryan.
Bryan is one of the guys at the house- he’s 46- I was surprised- he looks much younger.
He told me ‘John- I’m Catholic’.
I guess he has had various ‘preachers’ jump on him about that over the years- you could tell by the way he said it.
I told him that’s fine- I have Catholic friends [over the years even a few priests] who have read my blog.
So- I do get along well with my Catholic friends.
Bryan has been in Corpus for about a year.
He is a drug addict.
He works in construction- and looks to be a hard worker [some of the guys do work hard- there are different types of guys who struggle with addiction- and believe me- some are hard workers].
Bryan strikes me that way.
As we were heading to church this Sunday- he found out that his Jeep finally got repossessed.
He was behind 3 months on the payments and his friend was holding it for him.
Sure enough- they found it.
Bryan told me he was glad in a way.
That years ago- something like this would really get him upset.
You know- having to get with the dealership and try to get his tools and stuff back.
Yeah- this has happened to him before.
But this time- he has learned how to deal with it in a better way.
He can now focus more on his recovery- and less on the Jeep.
I had a good day with the guys- this type of ministry is really more like a brotherhood.
After we left the church meeting at Church Without Walls- we came back to the house for a couple of hours- by this time I picked up a few other guys- we had a house/yard full [Huey crashed out in the ‘homeless room’ I fixed up a few months ago- It’s just ‘their room’ type of thing].
Henry crashed on the couch- watching his favorite show- ESPN.
And the rest of us hung out in my yard- I cooked some hot dogs on the grill and we just laid back.
Bryan even took a short nap in my Hammock.
All in all we had a good day.
Yeah- like the prophet said- in the end times there will be trouble- yet- those who endure to the end- they will inherit all that God has for them.
In a way- I see God doing this with all these guys.
I took a ride with John David the other day.
John David is the older brother who actually started the Halfway House- I’m just helping him with it.
As we were driving- getting the rooms fixed up- he was so excited.
He was saying ‘thank you God for making all this happen- it’s happening all around us’.
John was a big time addict for many years- I know John- and his brothers- from the streets.
He almost died a couple months back [had the open heart surgery- had to be shocked with the paddles].
He has had quite the life.
And now- after all the troubles- he is ‘standing in his lot at the end of his days’.
Yeah- I thank God for my buddies- seeing them come full circle.
They stuck it out- in very tough times- may God bless them all.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1950 LORD OF THE RINGS
These past few weeks have been somewhat of a whirlwind.
Every so often in life you hit a stage when multiple things come together.
Over time- as you get older- you learn to take these times with a grain of salt.
That is- you don’t get overly excited about them.
Yet- you see ‘oh yea- this is one of those times’.
There are usually lots of signs that accompany these moments in life.
Let’s name a few.
A couple of months back I went to a part of town that I usually don’t go to.
I wrote a few posts on it- met a few homeless guys- and felt like we needed to do some type of ministry in this area.
Then within a few days one of my good friends wound up in the hospital for triple bypass surgery.
I have known John David and both of his brothers for years- Andy and Huey- they are all street guys where I live.
So- we went to see John David in the hospital- come to find out they thought he was going to die after the surgery.
They had to resuscitate him once.
So- John David has asked me- a few years back- if I would help him do a halfway house.
Now- over all the years of ministry- I have worked with ministries like this.
And I was interested- but really did not know if it would fly.
John David is a very smart guy- he once owned one of the biggest concrete businesses in the area.
Made tons of money over the years.
He lost it all when he became a hardcore addict.
So- I knew he had the smarts for the business aspect- but John is sort of new to the faith.
It’s been a couple of years and he has that new excitement that young Christians have.
So- I just tried to encourage him- and when he gets too many ideas I realize he’s like a lot of us- we sometimes over do it.
But since he had the surgery- he called me the other day and that was the first day of the new halfway house ministry.
Okay- some signs.
I did not realize that the first house [there are now 2] was only a few blocks from my original foray into that part of town.
I met the homeless guys on Morgan and Cross-town [you locals know the spot] and John David opened up the first room at Mary and 20th st.
Walking distance from the spot.
I only realized it later [you take different routes to get there- it never dawned on me that the day I spent with the homeless guys was right there- when we left John David’s house the other day- I realized that was the same spot where I hung out].
That was the first ‘sign’.
I have been praying for years here in my yard- it’s really like a prayer garden- I walk the yard and have all types of prayer markers.
Facing certain ways- praying for the nations that are in that direction- recognizing the star clusters each time of the year.
When you pray early like this- you see lots of shooting stars and come to familiarize yourself with the ‘heavens and earth’.
Anyway- I have this gazebo with hundreds of painted names of prisoners I have collected over the years.
These are cases where people got sent to prison for long periods of time.
So- being I work with street guys- they are sort of my collection- I might run into them some day on the street.
So- this gazebo is like a prayer spot- it represents a community of people.
I also have lots of verses on it.
Over the years I have collected street signs.
Yeah- you’re not supposed to pick them up- but I have.
These are various signs that I found along the road [on the ground or in the trash]- my daughter came home one year with one- she’s like ‘hey dad- we found you one’.
So- I have about 3 or 4 like this.
I have them hanging on this gazebo thing.
Yesterday as I was walking and praying- praying about the halfway house- seeing how the location was ‘prophetic’.
As I’m walking past this gazebo- early in the morning- I must have walked it 30 thousand times before.
I look up- right there- one of the signs says ‘STAPLES AND MARY’.
That’s the actual street that the halfway house is on.
That street is also the connecting street to the second house [on Laredo].
Yeah- Staples and Mary is the main connection for the homes.
Now- Corpus is big- to ‘accidently’ have that sign- that crosses right there- well that’s a bit much.
Last but not least.
Right when I got back from my Jersey trip- the first chapter I read/studied was Luke 15.
For some reason the story about the father putting a ring on the son- it got me to thinking about getting a ring.
Now- I am not a jewelry type of guy.
I have lost multiple wedding rings over the years.
And at the fire house we would take them off.
Yeah- they are a hazard.
There are many stories about guys getting their fingers pulled off when the ring catches something.
So- I haven’t had a ring in years.
But- it’s in my head- so I’m on the hunt.
I stopped at the local pawn shop- I had a homeless friend who died years ago- Bill.
One day I was in there with Bill- and he spotted this ring that he liked a lot.
It had a horse on it.
Personally- I didn’t like it that much- but I thought ‘hey- if that ring is there- I’ll get it’.
Sort of like a reminder of my friend.
It was long gone.
So I hit Wal Mart [yeah- the last resort spot].
They had 2 nice gold rings- with Crosses.
But they wanted a couple of hundred for them- I wasn’t gonna go for that [heck- what if we go over the fiscal cliff!]
About 2 weeks before I mentioned to the street guys ‘hey- I’m looking for a ring- with a Cross on it- if you find one- I’ll buy it’.
Now- I let them know I don’t not want a ‘hot’ ring.
I have had guys wanting to sell me stuff at a cheap rate- stolen stuff.
I told them I would never do that.
So- the next day- after my failed venture at obtaining the ring.
I am getting ready to go to the mission.
I’m in the bathroom and my cell phone rings.
My daughter says ‘dad- your phone is ringing’.
I ask ‘who is it’?
She says ‘it says Martin’.
Martin is the last name of the 3 amigos- John David- Andy and Huey.
I ask ‘which one’?
She says ‘H martin’.
‘O- That’s Huey- just leave it- I’m gonna see him in a minute’.
So- I leave the house- don’t check the message [I never check my messages].
And as I head out I think ‘geez- maybe I should hit the other pawn shop- right passed the mission’.
I’m kinda praying about it.
Then I feel like the Lord is saying ‘son- in Luke 15- the father gave the son a ring- wait till I give you one’.
Right then I make the turn into the mission.
Huey says ‘hey- did you get my message’.
I told him no- I figured I’d see him right now.
He says ‘I got your ring’.
Yeah- I gave 12 bucks for the thing.
But it’s a nice ring- a copper stress ring.
It says ‘TRUST GOD’.
It has 2 Crosses on it.
Probably a 35-50 dollar ring.
[It wasn’t stolen- the guy who owned it was right there- Huey talked him into selling the thing for quick cash].
Yeah- as I have grown older I try not to overdo the sign thing.
But- at the same time- I also try not to ‘under do’ them.
The bible says God is in control of the affairs of men.
Nothing happens without his permission.
Yeah- I guess you can even say- He’s
THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
NOTE- As a side note- the ring was given to me by Huey- John David’s brother.
Rings denote partnership in scripture.
It was interesting that John David’s brother was the one who gave me the ring- I would be ‘partnering’ with him in just a few more days.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1945 BIRTHER- ME?
Before we end the week I want to simply quote a few verses from Isaiah 26.
‘Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee’
‘Trust ye in the Lord forever- for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength’
‘When thy judgments are in the earth- the inhabitants of the world will learn justice’.
I stumbled upon this chapter the other day- I did not realize how many verses I have memorized over the years- ones that I would quote and stuff- not realizing they were lumped together in this chapter.
Over the years I have had times [years] where I would read thru the bible every year.
Or maybe read the New Testament thru many times- and the Old Testament a little slower.
These past few years I have slowed down a bit- still reading every week- but less ‘volume’ and more meditation.
I’ll read a chapter- then stay on it for a few days- and then see more stuff each time.
I try and listen for ‘daily bread’ type of a thing.
In the Lord’s prayer [Our father] he said we should pray for ‘our daily bread’ and in a way that speaks about what God wants to tell us each day.
Sort of like the story of Manna in the time of Moses.
The people of God were in the wilderness for 40 years- and God fed them bread every morning.
It was called ‘angels food’ it was this little wafer type thing that was on the ground each day.
God told them only take enough for you and your family- if you take too much- and store it up overnight- it will spoil.
But on the 6th day they could take enough for 2 days- because they were not supposed to gather it on the Sabbath.
So God in a way has daily manna for us- if we try and overload the system- by eating too much- then it will spoil.
Its funny- over the years I have seen/gone thru stages where you get involved with movements- good people- who for whatever reason get into some type of teaching.
Maybe they will emphasize some new thing- and for years they will go down that road.
Maybe it’s not a bad road per se’- but these things were not supposed to be ‘roads’ at all.
That is- as believers we should establish our hearts in grace and the reality of God.
The reality of the Cross and death of Christ for us.
And then as we learn and grow- sure- we will learn lots of stuff- but when you get into fads- well it’s like the verse in the book of Hebrews.
‘It is a good thing that you are established in grace- not with meats [ side doctrines] for it is not profitable for those who are occupied therein’ [my paraphrase].
Okay- a few things.
The other day at the mission I had to intervene- sort of like a Ref.
2 of the guys were getting into it- over all things- politics and religion!
Now- these guys happened to be sober- but you have a few guys who start drinking early- and by the time I get there- well let’s say they are feeling pretty good.
So- I could think of no better environment to discuss politics and religion- can you?
Somehow one of my buddies- who is very smart- got a hold of ‘birthirism’ somewhere along the line.
I first heard him talk about it a few months back- and was kinda surprised.
He is not a ‘right winger’ at all- he attends a classically more liberal church [Methodist] and we often discuss the Sunday school teaching from the previous week.
He has the notes from church- and they are always taking a more liberal side- and I have told him that the Methodists are a great church- and they do an excellent job at social justice [like the Catholics].
So- it was a surprise for my friend to have launched into birthirism [the belief that Obama is not a U.S. citizen].
By the way- those who believe this are not total nuts- if I have time I’ll share a few facts- things that have caused people to question- yet I have never swallowed the Trump view.
So- my buddy starts into his talk.
‘Obama was sworn in on the Koran- even if he was born in Hawaii- that’s not part of the continental U.S.- so he still is not legitimate’.
A few more things like this- that coming from this particular friend- surprised me.
Now- this day we were sitting with my other friend Don.
Don is the gardener at the mission- the pics I posted on Facebook- with the garden- that’s Don.
Don is quite the intellectual- for real.
It never ceases to amaze me when I run into the smartest guys that are homeless.
Don has a well rounded education- knows all types of subjects- sort of a renaissance man if you will.
So- for Don to have heard my other friend launch into his thing- well- he could not believe that my friend was saying this.
Don- rightfully- corrected my buddy in no uncertain terms.
My buddy went on about Obama being a non citizen.
Then they appealed to me- to be honest I did not want to get into it.
But I did.
I had to side with Don- and correct my other friend because he was so misinformed.
Obviously Hawaii is part of the U.S. – even though Alaska and Hawaii are not part of the land mass that makes up the lower 48.
Yet they are states- and they count as being born in the U.S.
But I had to throw out some cover for my misinformed friend.
He looks up to me as sort of a teacher- and when someone sees you that way- it’s hard for them to be corrected by someone they look up to.
So- I did tell Don that I have read/watched so many news things over the past 4 years- that there were things that gave some people real reason to doubt the president’s place of birth.
Now- be careful here- I want you to hear carefully.
Because what I think has happened- is the president did things in the past- like we all have done [skewing the facts to gain a benefit].
He possibly presented himself- at various times- as being from Kenya- or as sharing the Muslim faith.
What- are you nuts?
Not 100% [maybe half?]
Okay- here’s the cover for my buddy.
As people started looking into the birth certificate thing- there were some indications that the president might have said he was from Kenya- maybe to sort of play into the role of ‘this new and up and coming author- with such an interesting background’.
Or maybe at times- in applying for school- you might say you’re a foreign born person- because you get an edge if the school has a quota type thing [thus the Trump challenge to show his college records].
Why do I think this might have happened?
When you wade thru all the accusations- there were a few things that did come up that quite frankly looked strange.
One of the more questionable things was the actual promotion of one of Obama’s books- the book publisher actually introduced Obama- the author- as a ‘Kenyan born’ person.
Now- when this came out- the president- and the publisher- both admitted that this was not a fake.
They simply said it was a typo.
They both admitted that the intro for the book said Obama was Kenyan- but it was a typo.
Look- a typo is hitting a wrong key on the keyboard [unless this type writer had Kenya as one of the keys?]
And what are the chances that this typo just happened to name Kenya as his birthplace?
I mean that’s a bit much to swallow to be honest.
So John- he’s a Kenyan!
Now- here’s where I give the pres the benefit of the doubt- but why I say he too has given the birthers a reason to question him.
There are a few people that said/think that Obama used this ‘I was born in Kenya’ thing to simply help promote himself.
He has spoken about his own identity struggle in the past.
Growing up he had the name of his step dad [Sotero].
As he got older- being raised by a single mom- he eventually learned more about his real dad- from Kenya- and he did try to identify more with his father’s heritage.
So- maybe did he start saying ‘I’m Kenyan’
Was this so bad?
But is this possible?
The more believable explanation for a book publisher to say you’re from Kenya- would be that Obama might have presented himself as such.
Others have said that he did say this to them as well.
And some think he might have used this on his college application.
This is very possible- and to be honest- for a book publisher to accidently pick Kenya- as a typo- that’s a bit much.
So- I gave cover to my birther friend- by leaving him room- that is to say there are people who question it- Obama’s place of birth- and they are not all nuts.
But- I also sided with Don- that at the end of the day- I think this issue is settled.
It’s hard to have friends on both sides of these things.
Because when you take one side- the other feels alienated.
I think it’s also wrong to assume that those who did not support Obama are all birthers.
I supported Romney simply on the basis of experience.
Those who want a real honest critique of the president should read Bob Woodward’s latest book.
He tells the story- the true story- of how many of the president’s closest inside fiends felt he was so far out of his league- after he got in- that others had to actually run the show- for quite some time.
Yes- these are actual reports from friends of Obama.
I remember hearing his main financial guy [I forget the name right now- Lawrence Lindsey?]
He said at one point ‘if we were not running this show- no one would be in charge’.
Yes- there are some real- honest critiques that have come out- and they did indeed feel like the president was way out of his league for this job.
And these were not birthers.
So- at the end of the day- some supported one side because they had real questions.
Others supported Obama because they too had honest positions.
But we also need to correct those in our midst who have wrong views- things that they picked up along the way.
If we want good discourse- it must be informed.
And yes- at times both sides have missed this mark.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1941 BORN TO RUN
The last couple of weeks- since I have been back from N.J.- It’s kind of been surreal to see all the video of the spots that got washed out in NY/NJ.
As I was watching the news with Henry on my big screen TV- I kept telling him ‘I was just at that spot’.
For the past 25 years I have been back to NJ many times- this last trip was the only time I took a tour of the city [NY]- I have been wanting to do a train/subway ride for the past 10 years- and simply ride the famous A train and see the city from the top of the tracks.
I got this idea in my head one year while watching a documentary about NY.
They showed you the history of the subway/train system- and the idea of a train ride was birthed at that time.
Yet- the last time I was up north- about 9 years ago- I missed out on the chance.
But this time- I finally did it.
I rode with my friend Patrick- to the last stop on this particular train- Rockaway beach- Queens.
As we walked the area- we walked right up to the boardwalk right off the Atlantic ocean.
For some strange reason I felt like I should walk right up to the ocean and splash some water on my face.
It was the first time I ever stuck my hand in the Atlantic ocean from the NY area.
Not many days later this very ocean would engulf the region.
We walked back to Pat’s brother’s house and had a nice visit for a few hours.
Then back on the train- back to the crossing where the subway goes under the Hudson and comes out on the Jersey side.
I took pictures from Rockaway to the Jersey side- we even saw Hoboken a little- the place I was born.
All of these spots- Rockaway beach- Hoboken- all the areas I toured- are some of the worst spots that got wiped out by hurricane Sandy.
It just was a feeling of ‘this was the last chance tot take the tour- before the storm comes’.
As we were watching the video at the house- Henry said ‘gee- you were like a messenger of wrath’.
To be honest- that thought came to me more than once.
I woke up yesterday morning with the guys still sleeping on the floor in the living room.
I got up early to post and get some stuff done before they got up.
Dirk- my good friend for years- got up early too.
He came into my study and told me he just had a dream- and he felt it was from God.
Now- with all of my friend’s problems and struggles- I know at times they have said things that are significant- that have meaning.
I was writing about some of the political things with Governor Christie- I of course have written about the storm- and in my office I have all types of world maps and stuff- plus a huge poster of NYC- and Jersey maps.
It just gives a sense of being in a ‘larger’ place.
Dirk begins telling me the dream- he says they were all at some place- and they had a friend that was- well- going to shoot himself.
He had a gun that was on a timer- and they all tried to tell him not to do it- but he wouldn’t listen.
Dirk called the gun thing- quote- ‘a suicide machine’.
He said after they left- the timer went off.
Now- Dirk felt that this dream meant something.
I told him one of the things that caught my attention was the phrase ‘suicide machine’.
I asked him if he knew where that term came from- what famous song.
He did not know.
I told him it was a line from the state song of NJ.
Springsteen’s Born to Run.
‘mansions of glory … in the suicide machine’.
I told Dirk I have been writing about governor Christie [who has been to about 150 Boss concerts].
I have been thinking about- praying for NJ the past few weeks.
I have been back from the tour- riding the subway [machine] right before the storm hit.
That in many ways this dream has significance.
Next week we vote for the next president- I don’t know who will win.
One of my friends- who is on welfare- lives in public housing- gets a disability check [though he is in better shape than me].
He asked me who I was supporting.
I told him I don’t hate Obama- or love Romney- but just as a matter of the past 4 years- I am supporting Romney.
My friend said ‘no- he will take away my check’.
I think it was DeToquville who said that a Democracy will only last long enough until one party starts giving away free stuff and the majority of the people just vote for the free stuff.
Yeah- at that point we are all on a suicide machine.
1939 THE MORE IMPORTANT STUFF
Today we are going to do an ‘all nighter’.
A few months ago I started a new thing- I invited a few of the homeless guys over to the house [actually that’s not new].
But I cooked a good meal for them and let them crash out on the floor for the night.
Over the years I have had a few friends spend the night- but not on a weekly basis.
So- I fixed up a room for them- and tonight they will use it.
Before the weeks out [I guess that means in the morning?] I will try and write a post on Luke chapter 15.
I at least want to cover one bible chapter a week.
But let me just make a few notes today.
For those of you who are not familiar with ‘our ministry’- the whole basis of what I do could be summed up from Isaiah chapter 58.
In a way it’s an encapsulation of the whole intent of the Judaic law.
Actually that will fit in with tomorrows post.
In the Old Testament prophets we read many times where God rebukes the Jewish people [called the People of God under the old covenant].
And he says time after time ‘I don’t want your religious ritual- I want your heart- I don’t want to know how good your are at making animal sacrifice- I want you to sacrifice by loving your neighbor’.
These themes are found all thru out the prophets.
Now- in the New Testament we see the same thing with Jesus.
He says ‘you tithe and do all types of religious stuff- yet you have left out the more important matters- love and mercy’.
Jesus truly fulfills his prophetic role by defending the poor and speaking ‘truth to power’.
I see the role of the church- the main job of Christians- as one where we are not building religious empires- where we are not all about getting a lot of money to ‘reach the world’.
But where we are to live- as best as possible- the new command that Jesus left us.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart- soul- mind and might- and your neighbor as yourself’.
That’s the crux of the matter.
So- today I will go down to the mission and invite about 5 or so friends.
We will pick up some food for the ‘party’ [I got paid last night!]
We will come back to the house- hang out- share what’s been happening- eat- and then crash for the night.
Now- don’t be fooled- we will talk much about Gods will- the guys always wind up bringing it up- it’s a natural part of fellowship.
There will be no drinking or smoking [pot].
Yeah- the guys will smoke cig’s.
But all in all they know the rules- and they abide by them.
Last week Michael- the street artist I have written about over the years.
Mike is a great painter- and right now he works as a cook at one of the local buffets.
He came over just for a few hours with some brothers- and later he told me that was one of the best times he has ever had.
We did nothing- but hung out.
Many street people live lives of quiet desperation.
I see them every day- they go thru their routines- they know each other by name- but yet they rarely interact this way- that is just getting together without it being a drug induced party.
And when they do get together like this- it helps them.
The other day I was talking to Joe- a friend I have known for 20 years.
Somehow he brought up the name Tom.
I asked him ‘do you mean the Tom that hit the 100 thousand dollar lotto ticket a few months ago’?
Yeah- one of my good friends hit the Texas lotto thing- a scratch off- and won big.
He bought 2 Harleys and a bunch of stuff.
I posted the pic on my site- you probably would find it under the Photo album named ‘homeless 2012’ [Face book site].
As I mentioned Tom- the Harley guy.
Joe told me ‘no- not him- he’s my biological brother’.
I have known both of these guys for 20 years- have seen them on the streets- at the mission- all over.
Yet I never knew they were related- actual brothers.
It’s easy for the guys to live their lives- to pass by each other- and never really have fellowship- a good time where they all get together and have fun- without getting drunk- without getting high- just eating good food and knowing that we are doing it as a ministry/friendship thing.
I simply spend my money on the stuff- I take no offerings for it- imagine if we all did stuff like this? [I know many others do- but most Christians don’t see this as a regular part of the Christian experience].
If people all over the world did this on a regular basis.
Then if you had all the church people doing it- then you wouldn’t need to raise a million to do ‘Gods work’.
It would be getting done thru the small sacrifices that each of us make on a daily basis.
The Apostle Paul wrote the Ephesians and said ‘he that is not working- get a job- so you can have to give to those in need’.
No tithe here?
Not pouring it into a huge ministry budget?
No red tape?
Yeah- the New Testament [and old- Isaiah 58] teach us to actually use our resources to reach out- directly- to the poor and hurting.
Read the epistle of James- or the letter’s of John.
This teaching is not a side issue- it’s one of the main things.
As a matter of fact- that’s why the prophets of the Old Testament- and Jesus in the New- kept rebuking the religious people of their day- because they knew how to keep the religious rituals.
But they forgot the ‘more important stuff’.
1933 THE LAST FANDANGO
Got home yesterday afternoon- had a few buddies that were waiting for me at the house.
Yeah- they hunted me down!
Actually I told the guys the other day [homeless bro’s] that we were gonna do another all nighter this week.
I get with them- we hang out for the day- I pick up bbq and we have an all day fellowship- then they crash out on the floor till morning.
So- they ‘picked’ last night!
No BBQ- but they ate left over home made meatballs [they did come good!] and a plate of Mac’s- I think they liked it better than the BBQ.
Henry’s crashed on the couch- we both watched the debate and fell asleep.
Okay- howd’ it go?
A few points;
I think they both pretty much pleased their base- after the poor showing by the President in the 1st debate- his base wanted him to ‘go after Romney’.
And that’s what he did.
The political team of Obama chose to use the word ‘you are a lair’ or ‘you are simply not telling the truth’.
This became a mantra for Obama.
After saying it once or twice- I found it tiresome.
The president did in fact say this- when he was the one who was ‘factually wrong’ [sounds better than liar- don’t you think?]
Last night the president accused Romney of not wanting to help the auto companies during the bailout.
At the time Romney wrote an Op-Ed and said he felt the auto companies should go thru bankruptcy- and then the fed govt. could at that point bail them out financially.
Last night Obama said that Romney did not want any fed money to be used.
Romney replied that he was wrong- he did indeed call for fed money- Obama said he was lying.
It took 5 minutes to Google the op-ed- yes- Romney was right- Obama wrong.
He was using the accusation ‘liar’ when he himself was doing it.
He must know he is doing it.
Then why do it?
He made the political calculation that this was the best way to raddle your opponent- you lie about him- and call him a liar at the same time.
What about the people who will find out that Obama lied?
That’s part of the calculation- only so many will find out the facts.
I don’t like it when a sitting president does this- most candidates fudge the numbers on stuff- but to actually outright lie in a public forum is rare.
He did this in the last debate as well.
Romney said that oil drilling/permits on public [govt.] lands went down the last 4 years.
Obama said Romney was ‘lying’- huh?
Romney tried to be careful- he said that oil permits/drilling went down on govt. land- but up on private.
Now- as a news guy- I have known this stat for a few years now.
But- Obama repeatedly said Romney was lying- and that drilling/permits went up on govt. Lands in the last 4 years.
It took 5 secs to find out that drilling/permits have gone down- 39%- on govt. lands the last 4 years.
Okay- while the pres was being ‘factually wrong’ at the same time- he is saying ‘your lying’.
I just found the whole ‘you’re a lair’ strategy to be condescending- your making the calculation that the other guy will get really mad [wouldn’t you?] Because you are the one actually lying- numerous times- while making the accusation.
Romney never took the bait- many supporters of the president- who only watch MSNBC- will never find out he was indeed wrong- and for the others who did find out he was wrong- he could care less.
So- that’s the big story- Obama never really laid out any plan- anything he would do that would be different than the last 4 years.
The tax plan ‘the rich paying their fair share’ will increase taxes on individuals making more than 200 thousand a year- couples making more than 250.
In many areas of the country- that’s not rich.
So why do it?
If you simply ‘tax millionaires’ you won’t make enough revenue.
So- you say ‘tax the rich- they are not paying’ but you mean ‘tax many in the middle class- but don’t say it’.
That’s the only real ‘plan’ the president has- and that’s not really a plan.
When I was in N.J.- I caught some news.
In the beginning of the year we knew that in order for the unemployment number to go down- under 8%- you needed to create at least 300 thousand jobs a month- for a few months in a row.
At one point- it looked like that might have happened- and all the pundits- liberals and conservatives- agreed that the only way unemployment would go under the 8% mark was for this to happen.
But then- not only did the monthly jobs never make the above 300 mark- they did not even keep up with the 150 thousand mark- which meant that the rate would go up- to around 8.5. [you need around 150,000 a month to keep up with population growth- new people entering the workforce for the 1st time].
So- as the year rolled on- what could the media do?
Some said- just watch- they will get the number they need- somehow they will simply say ‘the new unemployment number is now under 8’.
Last month’s jobs number came out- they were once again below 150,000- and nowhere near 350,000 or higher.
Yet- as the labor dept. put out the new employment numbers for the month- they reported unemployment at 7.8%.
This would mean that the jobs/economy is doing better than it has in many years.
This simply was not true- yet they got the magic number- somehow?
How did they do it?
There is lots of speculation- but there was a little note at the bottom of the report.
When the labor dept. does these numbers- they collect all the data from the sates and average it out.
In the reported states- one state was left out.
Was it a little state- say like Rhode Island?
No- it was California.
The largest state- economy wise- in the country.
They used to be the 8th largest economy in the world- they were just passed by Brazil for that rating.
But- they are also the worst state- economically- then all the others.
If you leave out Cali- then you get the magic 7.8 number.
Sure- they will later revise the number- after the initial effect wears off- but they got what they wanted- that initial effect of ‘unemployment is the lowest it has been in years’ the month before the election.
Even though that stat is unreliable.
So- as we end the debates and head towards the election- one guy kept saying the other guy was lying.
And time after time- in many ways- we were all lied to.
Vote your conscience- look at the facts- don’t let others form your opinion of either man- simply look at the track record for yourself.
O- and may God help us all- we will need it.
1930 FRIEND OF SINNERS
Yesterday was the first time I saw my street friends since I’ve been back.
I did need to see the guys [girls] to take care of a few things.
One of the guys did call me when I was in N.J.- and he had an issue- I did not have time to talk so I had to cut him off.
He has been a good friend for years- but to be honest- he is also a violent guy- big guy- and that has gotten him into trouble before.
I have never gotten ‘into it’ with him- but over the years I have had a few times where I had to let him know he couldn’t pull that stuff on me- I wouldn’t go for it.
So- being I basically hung up on him a couple of weeks ago- and it had to do with me talking with his girl [that’s why he has most of his fights- because he is jealous] I figured I better see him…so- as soon as I got to the mission I saw his van parked in the lot- doors open- he lives in the thing.
I walked up and let him know I was back.
Of course he wanted to know what happened when I talked to Julie.
When I left he was stranded in some forest about 600 miles from here- and that’s the last I knew.
I told my friend that we had a good talk- she did accuse him of some stuff [being gay] and he has also said the same about her.
So- as she was making the accusation- I laughed- because I told her he has done the same thing- accused her when he was mad- and I told her I take these things with a grain of salt- and even if it were true- he is still a good friend- either way.
So- that’s what needed to be settled.
My friend simply was worried about the way I viewed him- he thought that because of some stuff she said that maybe I was going to cut him off.
I told him ‘I have been your friend for 25 years- everybody has past issues- I told Julie even if all this stuff were true- he is still my friend’.
He got into a few more things about his past- and started crying- I guess he always feared I would cut him off if I knew.
I told him it did not matter- we are friends.
As I sat at the mission- I saw a few of the guys and caught up on some stuff.
My friend Don- who cares for the garden- he has the fall garden going real good [posted the pics last night].
And I saw Albert- I did not recognize him at first- so I kinda responded in a ‘mean’ way.
When you’re at spots like this- in the open- you have to be careful- sometimes if someone is looking at you- from a distance- and he starts heading your way- they might be getting ready to jump you.
So- I have not seen Albert in 5 years- I had no idea who he was- but he’s walking my way- looking at me- as an old friend.
But- as he got closer- I was ready to stand up and get in his face- then I recognized him [if you just sit down- and someone is coming to jump you- you will get hurt bad].
So- after I saw it was him- I said hi.
I met Albert about 5 years back- he is gay and had a Black boyfriend at the time.
If I remember- they both had some type of a Christian background [families were preacher’s type thing].
I felt funny a few times- they asked me to pray for them- and of course I did.
So- Albert had a guitar and sang a few of his original songs.
One song was a country type thing- and it was a love song [country- so he lost the truck- the dog got killed- you know- country themes!]
But I recognized the words from the bible- Corinthians chapter 13- the love chapter.
When he was done- I told him ‘Corinthians 13’.
He was surprised I knew it- he said ‘I got the words from there- how did you know?’
To be honest- it’s a famous chapter- most bible readers would know.
Its funny- a day or 2 ago I heard/read a verse about reaching out to the poor- the needy.
It says ‘when you help the poor- do it with love- do it cheerfully’.
I wrote it down as a reminder- that it’s important to really love your friends- they appreciate getting help [I gave away some money this day] but they want real friends who will love them like brothers.
I had just written the verse down- and then heard it sung by one of them.
Yeah- my friend wanted to know that what I heard about him- even if it were true- would not break the friendship.
That’s what meant the most to him.
I guess the bible is right ‘Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers- because he too suffered from the same things they suffered with’ [Hebrews].
Jesus was able to identify with people- he walked in their shoes.
Yeah- that counts.
Okay- there are lots of good stories to tell on this trip- but I’m trying to keep them short.
Let’s do the NYC trip today [do=tell].
The other day I took a trip to the city with Patrick—an old friend I met about 12 years ago- he was my ‘tour guide’.
I haven’t been to the city in many years- and I have no idea what buses/trains to take.
Pat knows all the routes.
So we took this nice route that lets you see all the famous areas- from the top of the rail road tracks.
We got off at the last [and final! For you Pat] stop on the A train- Rockaway.
This is the Queens section of the city- Howard Beach- Gotti’s club- you know- the ‘famous’ spots.
As we walked to Pats brothers’ house- he told me the story of his family.
Pat grew up in somewhat of a dysfunctional home- like most of us have.
His parents died early on- and he had this older brother that he never really knew- 20 years his senior.
So- one year Pat made an attempt to find him- he looked him up in the phone book and tracked the house.
As Pats brother came home- Pat was on the steps- blocking his way- he said ‘can you move- you’re in my way’- and that was the reunion.
Pat told me that his brother was an addict for many years as well- he used to see him sleeping on the subway stop- he would give him a few dollars if he had it.
After many years- his brother finally got clean- and married a great Christian lady- Veronica.
I met them both on the trip this day.
We hung out most of the day at Pat’s brothers place- we had a good time- we were helping Veronica hook up to Facebook and stuff.
She has a nice computer- but needed help getting everything working- you know- most people are not experts like myself [okay- maybe not- this trip was the first time I ‘texted’].
It was funny- after I helped her hook up to Facebook- and Pat was helping her get the phone hooked in as well.
I said ‘that’s it Veronica- you’re in- now all that happens is you get a bill for 50 each month’.
At that point she looked at me- yeah- you could tell she’s a real New Yorker [of course I was kidding].
On the way back to Manhattan- I took a few more pics from the rail- and me and Pat had some good time fellowshipping.
Pat now sponsors a couple of guys thru the NA [narcotics anonymous].
He got a call from one of the guys while we were waiting for the train to leave.
It was a learning experience- to see how the group works along biblical lines.
The last time I saw Pat was about 8 years back- Pat was hooked and you could tell.
Pat overdosed real bad a few years ago- I got a call and they told me he might have died- he was in the hospital and I put him on the web site and asked for prayer.
Pat pulled thru- but he messed up his leg real bad- he walks with a very bad limp- but he never complains.
This week I have been reading John 17- it’s the famous prayer of Jesus [besides the Our father]
Jesus says ‘for their sakes I sanctify myself- that they too might be sanctified thru the truth’.
Sanctify means separate.
Jesus was saying he set himself apart to do God’s will- he did this so others too might be free.
The example from my friend Pat- and his brother- and a few other people I have met on this trip- is one where people got to the end of the road [last AND final stop].
They lived many years in bondage to things- Jesus said ‘whoever commits sin becomes the slave of sin’.
These have learned what that means.
And they got to a point where they had enough- they have now ‘separated themselves so others too could be free’.
Yeah- my Rockaway trip was a real learning experience- in more ways than one.
The other night I went to an NA meeting with my friend Pat.
It’s basically the meeting for Drug addicts- based on the 12 step program.
My friend sponsors his own meeting- and also attends and is real active in the group.
Before I came to Jersey [this visit] I was in touch with my friend John David [heart surgery] and he has been wanting to open up a half way house in C.C.
I also picked up [by accident] a book defending the 12 step program from a Christian perspective.
All in all I have been learning/reading on the 12 step program.
But this was my first actual meeting- so I was looking forward to it.
It was a really good format- from the things I have read/seen- the key to success is the basic principle- found in the bible- that says ‘confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that you may be healed’. [James]
The meetings are times/places where people share- they speak about their struggles- their victories- and others see that some have been clean for many years- 20-30 or more.
When an addict sees another ‘addict’- who has ‘overcome the mark of the beast and the number of his name’ [Revelation] he then sees that there are indeed a whole company of people who have come thru this- and are on the other side- clean.
All of these things are biblical principles.
As I sat in the meeting- I had an interesting experience.
The table in front of my chair had the names of some of the local restaurants written on them.
I’m not sure why- maybe they support the meetings- the meeting was held in the old Catholic church- Our Lady of Fatima- that I attended for CCD classes as a kid.
The church is a couple of blocks from my old Elementary school- Horace Mann- and I used to walk over every day for class.
The NA meeting was in the same part of the church that my CCD classes were in.
So- after 34 years- I found myself- for the first time- back in the old class.
I had a friend/schoolmate back in those days.
His name was Glenn Hashway.
His parents own a deli- famous- right down the block.
I have heard that Glenn has been an addict for many years.
A friend of mine was in jail with him one year- he didn’t know I knew him- but I did.
From what I heard- he was in big trouble- looking at many years in prison- if he made bail he was going to try and leave the country type of thing.
So- this was his story.
On the table in front of me- the name of the restaurant/deli that was written- was ‘Hashways’.
Yea- it just so happened that this was the spot where his family had the name of their deli.
Sad story for my old friend- seeing how his life turned out.
Today I’m supposed to make a trip to NYC- I need to check my phone for messages.
I can do the trip on my own- but it’s been so many years- I don’t know all the right subways and buses to catch.
So Patrick is supposed to go with me.
I did want to say a few words about the debate- it has been such a hot political issue- and I do talk about that stuff.
But- on this trip I’m trying to avoid too much politics.
I took a ride yesterday afternoon down to Jersey City- got out at a park on the corner of Manhattan Ave and Kennedy Blvd.
Yeah- not really the best spot to hang out when you’re from out of state.
But I wanted to just walk around the area.
As I walked thru the park- I asked some guy sitting on a bench ‘what’s the name of this park’?
He told me ‘Persian field’.
Now- I know it’s not Persian- like Asian [or at least I don’t think things have changed that much!]
But at the entrance of the park I saw a statue to some war hero or something- I assume the name is Pershing- you know- some past war guy type thing.
Anyway- I walked thru the park taking some pictures.
Some kids hanging out and all- wondering why I was taking pictures.
I talk one of a little blue bag- small- you could fit about 3 aspirins in it.
It was a Crack bag- empty.
I saw 2 more while walking around- wasn’t even looking for them.
I saw some nice animal statues and a few squirrels.
I continued the ride- went down past journal square- and went a few more miles- came back on Tonnele ave.
Passed the old Pulaski Skyway- and saw my 2nd homeless guy- begging for money on the road.
I usually don’t give the guys with signs any money- but being I haven’t seen too many- I gave him 5 bucks.
Yeah- the old area looks okay- still worn and torn after many years.
Sort of like an old war horse- battle scarred but keeps on going.
I read a verse in John chapter 17 this morning.
Jesus said ‘ Ihave revealed your name to the men that you gave to me out of the world’.
I have read this chapter many times over the years.
Jesus speaks about the desire for unity in the church.
He talks about his disciples as the special people God brought to him along the journey.
I have run into a few already- I’m trying to hear God- to speak and connect to the ones that he’ gave me ‘out of the world’ –or ‘from New Jersey’.
Yeah- there are always at least a few- people who are too on a journey- and it’s important for us [you and me] to speak the right words- to communicate the Father [God] to them.
At the end of the day- that’s what lasts.
I posted some pictures the other day- of Craig- a homeless guy I ran into while going to Wal Mart.
As soon as I saw Craig I knew he was homeless.
He was sitting by the side of Wal Mart- with a couple of well kept carrying bags- and he was organized- as much as someone can be while homeless.
So before going into the store I walked over to him and became friends.
I talked to Craig for about 30 minutes before going into the store.
I told him when I get out of the store I will take him to breakfast- my treat of course.
Craig turned the breakfast down- but he asked instead if I could by him a can of BeefAroni.
So I picked him up 3 cans- no big deal.
When I got out of the store we took a ride to the park and hung out by the lake for a while.
Of course I told Craig that this is ministry stuff to me- I didn’t ‘preach’ to him- but I told him ‘my story’ as he told me his.
He knew that I was reaching out to the street guys because I believe Christ called us as believers to do so.
I later took him about 30 miles south/west.
I asked him if he needed a ride somewhere- being I had the day and van.
He told me he was heading to Lyndhurst the next day- but if I wanted I could start him going that way.
He just needed for me to take him to a small town around here called Secaucus.
We took the ride- and I parked in a store parking area.
Craig has these walking routes all down pat.
I told him that I would walk with him some before heading out.
As we started the trek, when we got to the end of the parking lot- he put his bags down [they looked to be well over 50 pounds].
And he back tracked about 50 feet- picking something up.
At first I thought he saw some change- the street guys are good at spotting change on the ground.
But as he got back- he had about 10 cigarette butts- he rolled the little tobacco that was left into a small cigarette- it looked perfect- and the task was finished in a few minutes.
Its stuff like this that will let you know that the person is a ‘true’ street guy [plus turning down the fast food offer- and opting for food that you can take with you].
We walked a good few miles- crossed over a bridge and I told Craig I would start heading back to the van.
Craig looked at me- we shook hands- and he said ‘peace’.
I could tell he was grateful- for real.
Sure- I gave him 5 bucks for the journey- we spent some time hanging out- but he was grateful to have someone to give him a hand.
I could tell from the start that he was not a beggar.
He was not looking for a ride [his plans were to walk the whole trip- till he got to the major highway- where I dropped him off].
No- he was just a nice brother- a new friend- you know- like you used to make friends as kids.
You saw some kid on the block- never met him before- and within minutes your playing some street ball or something.
I gave Craig the blog site card/paper.
He doesn’t know how to get on line- but I told him if he wound up at a friend’s house who has a computer- he can look us up- and see his picture and story on the site.
Craig was the first ‘real’ homeless guy I have met since being here.
I can tell from my excursions that this area is not suitable for homeless guys- they know that and that’s why they don’t come here.
I talked to Craig for about 3-4 hours in total.
I always try and find out their stories- and I tell them that I share their stories on the site.
Craig is 49 years old- my age less a year.
He was originally from Modesto Cali.
He has been in Jersey for many years- usually lives in Atlantic City.
That’s the spot where many of the homeless go- Craig gave me the scoop.
Craig has had various jobs over the years- some good ones.
But as I first talked to him- it’s obvious he has some real mental problems [yet very smart!]
It takes about 3 hours for Craig to communicate 2 hours of stuff you can understand.
I’m sure most people would get scared the first few minutes- seeing he has some type of problem- and he rarely makes it to the 3 hour ‘made a new friend’ point.
Yeah- Craig is a new friend I made on the trip.
He did indeed hear the gospel- as a friend- and to be honest- I had a good time hanging out with Craig.
1920 SHEEP FROM ANOTHER FOLD
One of the challenges on this journey is I have friends/family who have hearing problems.
My dear mom has a hard time hearing- and it’s natural to talk loud.
You think because it’s difficult for you to hear- that to talk loud will somehow help the hearer as well.
I have a homeless friend who has been legally deaf his whole life.
He has learned how to talk low- on purpose.
I was telling my friend Patrick that this homeless friend also likes to dominate the conversation- he will talk- nonstop- literally for hours.
To be honest- I don’t mind- or lets say I realize that it helps him- so for 20 years I have had lots of talks [or should I say ‘hearings’] with him.
Okay- so as I’m sitting at my mom’s house yesterday- everyone is out- and I figure ‘wow- some quiet time- let’s make the most of it’.
Well- let’s at least try.
My phone rings- it’s a Texas number ‘what the heck- might as well get it’.
I usually never answer my phone unless it’s a number I recognize.
I get it- it’s my deaf homeless friend on the line- yelling ‘hey John- I can barely hear you’.
So- this is my buddy stuck in the forest in Texas- his girlfriend left him there [remember the last 5 posts?]
Anyway- he does not know I’m in Jersey- none of my homeless buddies know- I had no plans to have left the day I left- so no one knows.
So- as Dirk’s on the phone- telling me ‘I can’t hear you- you’re breaking up’.
I keep saying- well- yelling ‘I’M IN NYC [that’s really the spot- N.J. – right on the Hudson] I CAN’T TALK RIGHTT NOW’.
He keeps telling me he can’t hear me- but says ‘well- I can’t hear- but I guess I’ll just talk anyway’.
No- no- don’t guess that- not today!
I finally got thru and told him I’ll talk whenever I get back to Texas.
Okay- the journey has been interesting so far.
Whenever I drive cross country [or south to north] I enjoy reading the different ‘church’ names along the way.
You can see the development of Christianity across the country- by reading the signs.
As somewhat of a church historian- when I see the signs- I remember the times I read about the various movements.
Some church signs show the debate over the Trinity ‘Pentecostal oneness church’- they emphasize the divinity of Jesus a lot.
‘Pentecostal Trinity church’- they are saying ‘we are not the other guys’.
Of course you see the standard Baptist churches- the Methodist regions as well.
Over the years all of these groups have come to emphasize various teachings of Christianity.
As I headed further north- of course I come to my ‘homeland’- and I see the great catholic churches- the ones I remember from my youth [sort of like crossing the Tiber in a way- for you non intellectuals- google it].
It’s a sort of spiritual lesson- this past week- as well as the coming months- the Catholic church is going to focus on Vatican 2- the last church council.
This council [a meeting of all the catholic leaders/bishops] emphasized Ecumenism- for the first time the church recognized the various Christian churches- you know- all the ‘signs’ I saw on the road- as ‘separated Christian brothers’.
It was a big step for the church- a step of unity- based on the desire of Christ we read about in the gospel of John- chapter 17 ‘that we all would be one’.
In my talks these past few days- and my bible reading in the gospel of John- a theme kept popping up.
The Lord has been telling me to ‘shepherd all the people I bring to you- all those who are on a spiritual journey’.
In John’s gospel the message- at least to me- is to do my best to present the pre-imminence of Christ- that he is the source of salvation- and to recognize that there are also ‘sheep- not of this fold that he will bring’.
Now- in context Jesus was speaking about the Gentiles- the ‘non- Jews’ who would convert.
In the ‘broader’ context- I am taking it as being open to the other Monotheistic faiths.
So- I have good talks with Muslims [and have even shared some good things about Islam- yes- there are good things- with fellow Christians].
My mom told me ‘John- do you know who died’.
Sandy is a nice Jewish lady who lived right up the block from me when I was a kid.
I was friends with her son.
She became a Facebook friend a few years back.
I am always grateful when I make Jewish/Muslim friends on the site.
When I first friended Sandy- we talked some.
Then I noticed one time- we didn’t talk much [you know- when you write a lot- people are going to get offended at one time or another].
So- when I did not see her comments- I figured she got upset about some post.
But then one day- about a month ago- I saw some action form her page- I forget what it was- but I saw that she came back to read the posts.
Then- well- she passed on.
When my mom told me that she died- I said ‘are you sure’.
I went to Sandy’s page- and there was no indication that she died.
So I left a little note to tell my friend good bye.
Yes- I’m grateful for ‘the other’ sheep if you will.
The other friends of mine who are on a spiritual journey.
I’m grateful for all the ‘separated brothers’ those various Christian churches who are now seen as brothers in Christ.
Make no mistake- as a Christian I believe that Jesus is the Son of God- who died- was buried- and rose again ‘according to the scriptures’.
I believe he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the resurrection of the dead- the forgiveness of sins- and life everlasting.
I also believe that in this life God will bring to us others who are on a journey as well- and maybe for a time these people might be on a different path- maybe they do not see everything like I do.
But when these contacts are made- do your best to try and see them as ‘others who are not from this group’ but others whom God has brought your way- at least for a season.
NOTE- One sign I liked was on the side of this huge gun store ‘GUNS- GUNS- GUNS- JESUS IS LORD’.
1918- MALE GAY PROSTITUTE?
Let’s pick up a little from the last post or 2.
The other day at the mission I had an old friend- who I haven’t talked to in a while- just show up.
We hung out for a little while- and he told me how ‘so and so’ burned him real bad.
Burned- he ‘screwed him over’ type of thing.
I heard the story- and of course I was mad at the other friend.
Yet- my other friend was not around- so I tried to let it drop.
But- to be honest- it bothered me for a couple of days.
Then I saw his girlfriend- and she did the same thing.
Now- at one point I actually laughed- because my friend- who I have known for 20 years- is what you would call a classic case of being Homophobic.
That is- whenever he has a problem with someone- he most of the time accuses them of either being gay- or- a homosexual/lesbian prostitute [as in if the simple accusation of prostitute isn’t enough].
Now- because I know this friend well- I take it with a grain of salt.
But- I did tell my wife a few days ago ‘you know my friend ‘so and so’ I mean he has the classic case of Homophobia.’
He just had an argument with his girlfriend- and sure enough- he tells me he thinks she’s hiding something- he thinks she might be a secret lesbian prostitute.
So- as I’m talking to his girlfriend- without revealing the accusation- she tells me ‘you know John- he is totally gay- he is a repressed homosexual- he does not know how to please a woman…’
On and on- about him being a closet homosexual.
Now- first off- I have gay friends- I help gay friends- so this post is not about being gay.
But I laughed because my 2 friends- who both have issues- also resort to this accusation- about one another.
I told my friend one day that years ago- as kids [maybe 16?] me and a friend were going to do a stupid thing.
We went to the local park late at night [Hudson County Park to my friends from N.J.]
And we were going to rob and beat up a gay person.
We recruited a local drunk from the area- he was about 30 years old.
We told him the plan- and we went.
We never carried it out- though my other friend did just get out of prison in N.J. – for another very serious crime.
Yet I told it to my friend because he was bringing up past attitudes about gay people and for some reason this came up.
He tells me years later ‘John- you might be a repressed homosexual- because you told me you guys tried to mug a gay guy’.
So- that’s my friend.
In reality some of the street guys are indeed male prostitutes.
Many are addicted to drugs- and they do make money this way.
I don’t see them in that light- one of the guys has been with us these past few weeks- and we have had discussions about the Lord and he was with us when we prayed for my friend in the hospital- so he was around us the whole time.
Which I felt was good for him- to spend the day doing things that were positive.
Even though I had to laugh when my friend’s girlfriend dropped the accusation- during the talk she also shared about her experiences.
How she was not looking for a relationship- she is an older lady- and a Christian.
But she met my friend- she thought he was a good looking guy- and one thing lead to the next.
I told her ‘gee- I would like to agree with you that so and so is a good looking guy- but the way you guys throw around the ‘gay male prostitute’ thing- I better not say anything.’
I was tempted to ‘disown’ my buddy for a few days- you know- having various people all volunteer to tell me bad stuff about him.
But instead I chose to brush it off- maybe some accusations are true- maybe not.
I don’t know all the facts about each person’s situation.
But I’m glad I shrugged it off- because it was the same week that I was told that this friend sees me as his mentor- that he can’t stop saying good things about me- which I had no idea he looked up to me that much.
He is about 5 years older than me- and he often speaks bad about brother Rey- a street preacher who helps the poor.
So- all in all- I’m glad I stuck with him.
Hopefully I’ll see him today- he was stranded last week- and I’m not sure if he made it back to town.
Pray for people- I know a few of the guys do resort to bad stuff when they need cash.
Some of the girls are indeed prostitutes- they don’t hide it- many of them are real friends- they are nice people- who are involved with lifestyles that are not good- lifestyles they do need to change- I make no excuses about that.
But do your best to not let what others might say effect you- it would have been bad if I ‘dumped’ my buddy because of what I heard- and later found out that he held me in high esteem.
It would have hurt him.
Went down to the mission yesterday.
I saw Julie- Dirk’s girlfriend.
I usually don’t see her at the mission- and when I do- she’s always with Dirk.
At first I wasn’t sure it was her- but as she walked by I asked ‘aren’t you Julie’.
Yeah- it was her.
If you remember- I wrote a post about them both going to one of the national parks here in Texas.
It’s called the Angelina national forest.
Over the years Dirk has told me lots about how much he loves being there.
It’s kind of a ‘second’ [or 3rd?] home away from home.
Dirk spends most of the year living here in his van.
Every so often he goes home to Michigan to see family.
And sometimes he stops at the national forest for a few weeks- he knows the locals- older retired guys who he plays cards with and stuff.
He has told me how he loves to hunt for arrow heads along the banks of the river.
Okay- I asked Julie where Dirk was.
She told me ‘I left him there’.
They got in a fight- over the arrow heads!
Yeah- every morning Dirk would get up and take Julie arrow head hunting.
So she told me she bought a few books in town and one morning wanted to read.
Dirk went hunting for the heads.
He came back- found something and was all excited- he tried to show it to her or something and she was into the book.
One thing led to the next- they got in a fight- and she drove back to Corpus [about a 600 mile drive by the way].
He has no ride back.
I knew from the start that they were going to get into a fight- I just didn’t think she would leave the guy.
I think that’s why she was down at the mission- sort of waiting to see if he makes it back.
I mean I did have to laugh- as I talked with Julie I told her I thought something like this would happen.
I do want to mention something that will sound self serving- buts it’s the second or 3rd time Julie has told me this- and to be honest it surprised me.
Julie tells me that Dirk is always talking about me- that he sees me as his ‘mentor’ and that he has nonstop praise for me.
I find it ‘funny’ because Dirk usually has nothing good to say about anyone- to be honest.
Many times he has put down the other ‘street’ preachers who work in the area.
I have had to defend Brother Rey- a street preacher- many times.
But being she brought it up again- I want to simply say a few words.
I have known Dirk for many years- and he realizes that me getting with the guys- often taking them out to eat- just being friends with the homeless.
He knows that this is ‘ministry’ to me.
Now- when you become friends with people- of course- over time- they will learn stuff- you will talk about God- and many times the guys have questions- things they might have heard as kids.
Misconceptions about God- things that have hindered them from believing- and often times it’s a simple explanation that clears it up.
So- I guess after knowing Dirk all these years- he has come to see me as a sort of mentor.
I have Henry sleeping in the living room right now- we hung out most of the day- I cooked some simple stuff last night and let him crash on the couch.
I have started doing this at least once a week- I see it as a way to contribute a little more- without it costing a lot of money.
Henry is a football nut- he knows the sport like I used to follow boxing.
Over the years at the fire house the guys realized I was a boxing fanatic.
I would usually know who would win the fight- and when they had a question about some rule- they would ask.
I had a laugh one day- I was upstairs watching the fights- they were down in the main room- I guess they put it on as well.
James- one of the guys- came up to ask ‘what’s it mean when they say- no 3 knockdown rule’.
I told him ‘that means you can’t knock the other guy down- more than 3 times’.
Actually- it means you don’t stop the fight if the other guy goes down 3 times in 1 round.
Some states have this rule- they think it prevents a fighter from getting hurt too much.
But in some cases maybe one of the knockdowns is a fluke- then a guy might lose a fight when he really wasn’t hurt.
So- being Henry is a football nut- you guessed it- we watched the bad call in the game the other night.
I think it was Green Bay and Seattle.
It made the news because the NFL has the replacement ref’s in the game- the regular guys are locked out over a dispute about their contract.
Henry could not get over the amount of coverage- I mean I had ESPN on for 4-5 hours at the house.
I finally told Henry ‘man- I’m gonna catch some news’.
Yeah- it was on the world news too!
Obama and Romney and all the politicians had to have their say.
I’m just waiting for the Al-Qaeda statement.
So- we watched the play- around a hundred times thru out the day.
In a little while Henry will get up- we will head out to some area- maybe go visit my friends in Bishop/Kingsville- it’s been a while and I probably should see them.
It really doesn’t take much to do this- I read John chapter 15 earlier.
Jesus says the most important thing is to love your brother.
That he showed us that to lay our lives down for another- to sacrifice your time- money- etc.
That this is the heart of the matter.
It doesn’t take much- and your friends will never forget.
1916 WHO IS JOHN GALT?
Over the weekend- my habit is now to watch a couple of documentaries from Netflix.
I always got into them- but with the Rocu thing- I can start a few at a time- and then pick up right where I left off.
I’m watching the Cosmos- Carl Sagan [excellent by the way].
Just started Greek Civilization- narrated by one of my favorite actors- Liam Nessen.
And I caught a short one on Ayn Rand- the now famous author of Atlas Shrugged.
I have never read any of Rand’s stuff- she is a novelist- and I don’t read them.
But- she is also a philosopher- the founder of the system called Objectivism.
And her works and thought are more known right now because a movie was made about the book- Atlas Shrugged.
Rand taught a system that said mans main purpose in life is the pursuit of his/her own happiness.
Now- she was not a strict Hedonist- she also taught that man should be productive- should be a contributing member of society- and should be free to excel- to ‘make it’ without the state making the rich guy feel bad about it.
Yes- back to the 99 versus the 1.
As you can see- that’s why her work has made it back into the collective consciousness at this point in time.
The other day we went to see my friend John at the hospital- I took Henry [John Henry], John from Arlington- Andy- and of course myself.
The day before we went to the bookstore- and I met father John- a nice Catholic Priest.
The guys were calling John [from Arlington] Joe.
I told Henry ‘no- his name is John’.
Henry quipped ‘too many John’s’
In Rand’s work- she tells the fictional story of John Galt [who is John Galt? This sign pops up every so often]
Galt is the leader of the ‘productive’ class in society- the thinkers- producers- etc.
These noble ones rebel against what they see as an all encroaching Entitlement society- a ‘world’ that keeps blaming them for the ills of man.
Eventually these productive people have had enough- and they withdraw from the world and start their own world- based on the principles of Objectivism.
‘Every man for himself’ type of thing.
There is one line in the book- where you have this image of Atlas [the man who has the world on his shoulders].
He is bowing and bending and struggling under this Entitlement world.
The ‘have nots’ keep seeing the ‘haves’ as the cause for their problems.
The more pressure put on Atlas- does not seem to appease the Entitlement class.
So- he shrugs- and walks away.
A couple of years ago when we did a short history of Philosophy- I never covered Rand.
She never came up in any of the stuff I was reading at the time.
Rand was a Russian American who came to the states in the early 20th century.
She saw the rise of Communism in her homeland- and she believed that the U.S. was in danger of going down the same road.
She lived to see the presidency of FDR- and his creating of what we call the Entitlement society.
But Rand- like other thinkers of her day- also rejected Faith and Religion [Marx].
She believed that Reason was enough to establish morality- and build an adequate Ethical society.
To be honest- Ayn was wrong about this.
But- because she angered the Left with her capitalist thought- and the Right with her anti God ideas- well she would alienate not just the 47% [Romney’s gaff] but both ‘47’s’.
Thus- Rand never came up on the radar when I was studying philosophy.
I have not read the book- but from what I picked up on line- I can see how Christians would indeed have a hard time with Objectivism.
In scripture- we don’t see ‘statism’ per se- but we do see a sort of collective ideal.
In the books of Acts we see the early believers selling their goods and giving to those in need.
We read many-many portions of the bible that speak about helping the less fortunate.
Yet- the argument is ‘should the state force man to do this’.
The state- govt. – according to scripture- has the right to tax.
Rand’s argument [and others] is ‘fine- but don’t demean me because I am one of the producers- don’t demonize those in society who are holding the system up’.
Rand did not teach that you should never help another- but she rejected the govt. forcing you to do it.
In Ayn’s Utopia- the John Galt’s of the world withdraw- they take their toys and go home.
From a biblical perspective- we are indeed our brother’s keeper.
That does not mean we encourage people to be non productive- to live off the wealth of others.
But we see the goal of our lives as more than seeking happiness- more than pursuing the Dream.
No- we often give things up- material things- in order to pursue a more just society.
In our World- Atlas doesn’t shrug.
1914 TOP STORY- OF THE WORLD?
Posted a few pics from our visit with John David yesterday.
He’s doing better- but they wanted to re open him up- and do another procedure [heart].
He prayed about it- and wants to avoid going under the knife again.
I was at the mission during the day- and I saw David’s brothers- Huey and Andy.
They wanted a ride to the hospital to see their brother- I was more than happy to take them.
I do want to stay in touch with David- and do the halfway house thing with him.
But- as we were at the mission- sure enough someone called the cops.
We didn’t know.
So a couple of cars came down- and they were looking for some guys.
Huey just took off- told us to pick him up around the block.
Then we [I] put 2 and 2 together- it seems like he was going to sell some drugs to another guy- and somehow they must have been heard by the mission people.
That’s what is seemed like to us.
So I told Andy ‘look- I told your brother the other day [Huey] not to be carrying stuff with him when he’s in my vehicle’.
I was mad that he ruined his chance to visit his brother- he did get prepared to see him [he was cleaned up this day].
So- we saw Huey a few blocks away- he tried to get in my van- I told him forget it- you got the cops chasing you- your in all types of trouble- we don’t need that.
We left him there.
So- we went and visited David.
I met Jackie there for the second time.
That’s John David’s girl.
They told me the story how they met.
Jackie was living in another state and she saw John David being interviewed on CNN.
Yeah- he told me about this a couple of years ago.
He started his first half way house at his sons apt- and somehow the word got out- and CNN did a nice story about it.
So- Jackie- a drug addict [who still struggles] saw it and said ‘If I can get to this home- he can help me’.
So- she made it to Texas and knocked on the door.
John David had no home for girls- but he took her in.
They became a couple- and that’s how they met.
His son eventually lost the apartment they were using [it actually was a facility that was already set up like a halfway house- what a ‘coincidence’.]
And since then John David has been looking for another house.
But- he needed the heart surgery for a while- and he figured he’d finally get it out of the way.
All in all we had a good day- I had John [my new friend with the little dog] – Henry- Andy with me for the day.
We came back to the house and had a good fellowship time.
Let me mention a little news as we end the week.
The other day I caught the world ‘news’ on all 3 stations [abc- nbc- cbs].
The top story on all 3 staions was the Romney ‘hidden’ video.
Okay- I saw the stupid thing when it first came out.
I guess it should have been a one day thing- I mean you have these silly things pop up on both sides.
You had the Obama thing a couple of years back ‘clinging to their God and guns’.
So- they all do this.
But- it was maybe 4-5 days later- and the world news- all 3 stations- had this as the top news story- well- of ‘the world’.
I couldn’t believe it.
So- I channel surfed some cable shows- and came back to the main news.
They still had the video of Romney- parsing each word he said- showing the video with the captions- 9 to 10 minutes into the top news story.
I mean this is so bad- it is not even funny anymore.
‘John- what’s wrong with this?
Well- a story like this should be a one- maybe 2 day thing.
And it should have never been top coverage- on a very busy news week.
What should the top story have been?
Regardless of who you back [Romney- Obama].
The top story should have been the fact that the Libyan govt. has come out and publicly said they warned the U.S. that they can’t provide security for the embassy in Benghazi.
You basically have [had] a public disagreement between the White House and the Libyan president.
And by all accounts- it looks like the Libyan guy was telling the truth.
Now- politics aside- this is very important.
Did the U.S. [whether Obama- Bush- Clinton- anyone in charge] drop the ball on the protecting of our ambassador in Libya?
And- the top story of the protests breaking out in the Arab world- against the U.S.
Okay- the news did of course cover this- but when you have real hard news like this- then you don’t run a 10 minute top story about a stupid hidden gaff from anyone- Romney- Obama- anyone.
And of course the other ‘top story’ was the topless pics of Kate Middleton- I mean on the world news?
This is not world news- maybe Enquirer type stuff- but not world news- that deserved coverage on all the news channels- as a top news story.
These examples shows you how bankrupt our media has become.
I do watch/listen to both sides [right/left] and frankly both sides of the aisle do this.
I told my friend the other day- I hear the radio guys every week- and because I comment about stuff like this I try and hear as many as I can [Rush- Hannity- etc.]
Sometimes I catch the whole show- 3 hours.
But there are times where for 3 hours- all you get is a constant drumbeat of anti Obama.
Okay- I have criticized the guy- lots.
But if you have no constructive thing to say- for 3 hours- then what are you accomplishing?
So- that’s the scoop.
I’ll try and add a few notes to last night’s pics- and hope you guys have a good weekend.
Please continue to for John David- he looked much better yesterday- but he needs prayer- thanks so much.
1913 FATHER JOHN
We did another ‘all nighter’ last night.
Now- to my old partying buddies- not that.
I got with Henry yesterday- a street bro. – and we hit the Half Price book store [his and my favorite spot] bought a bunch of books- and came back to the Casa.
I BBQ’ed a bunch of stuff [will post the pics- on Face Book- for those who read these from the Blog].
And we had a good fellowship.
I gave Henry the choice of what channel he wanted on all night [the guy’s crash in the living room- so whatever they want to leave on the tube- I set it for them. I would let them choose themselves- but I have a bunch of remotes- and I don’t want them waking me up ‘John- the TV wont work’ type of thing].
So Henry picked the classic country- geez- I had no idea?
Okay- at the bookstore we spent at least an hour- I can spend 2 hours just going thru the books- I have before.
In one of the isles- Catholic cubby type thing- I met a nice Christian brother.
Sometimes I’ll give my card with the web site on it- most people at the bookstore are readers [ya think?]
As I offered him my card- he told me – ‘yes- I am a reader of Christian stuff- I’m a Catholic priest’.
I told father John that’s great- I have many Catholic readers- and even a few priests/pastors who read my stuff.
We had a really good conversation- I do dialogue well with priests.
I have studied Catholic theology- history- the whole 9 yards.
And I told John- if anything- I get more complaints that I’m ‘too catholic’ than the other way around.
I will try and visit John- he runs a Catholic retreat here in C.C.- I know the exact spot- it’s a huge building right off the highway.
It’s a big ‘dome’ type structure- with a Gold top.
He told me ‘no- it’s not a mosque’.
For years that’s exactly what I thought it was.
I will make a visit to father John’s place- he invited me to do lunch.
Anyway- Henry is still crashed out on the couch- we will hit the mission a little later- and maybe check up on John David- my friend in the hospital.
I’m looking forward to him getting out [he had open heart surgery last week].
I’m going to partner with David in setting up a halfway house- that’s his dream/calling.
All in all we had a good day- I will post the pics right after this post.
There are some news stories that I could cover- but maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.
Enjoy the day- pray for the brothers I mentioned yesterday- and for all my friends- they do [we all do] need prayer- thanks.
1912 A RIVER RUNS THRU IT
Been going down to the mission the last few days.
Haven’t seen Dirks van- was asking around- ‘has anyone seen him’?
As I was standing there- my cell rang- it was Dirk!
He wanted to let me know that he and Julie- his girl- were at the state park in the Angelina forest.
It’s in Texas- he has told me about this spot many times over the years.
It’s one of his favorites- another place where he ‘lives’ for a part of the year.
He has collected arrow heads from the lake- Sam Rayburn [?]- He gave me a nice one many years ago- still have it.
I was glad to have gotten the call- I have maybe gotten 4 calls from Dirk in 25 years.
It was strange- I had just prayed for him in the morning- I thought maybe he got arrested- you know the guys park the vans all over- maybe it was one of those towing deals.
But he was happy- he had wanted to do this trip with Julie for months- to show her this part of his life- where he feels he’s not simply a ‘homeless guy’.
To be honest- I was surprised she took the trip [in her R.V.]
They were arguing a lot recently- and Julie really is a strong believer.
It’s funny- when I’m with Dirk- he shows me all the text messages she sends- verses and all- he ‘uses’ me to find ‘counter verses’ –you know- she’ll be fighting with him- send him a verse- and he wants one to send back- in retaliation.
For a few days he was asking me ‘hey John- where’s that verse about not eating the communion meal when you’re a sinner’?
Now- I told him it was in 1st Corinthians- chapter 11.
He asked me a bunch of times.
He wanted to quote it to her- because she took communion at the church- and he was telling her- well- that she’s a ‘sinner’.
So- I see him one day and he asks again- he remembered I told him Corinthians- so he read- right up to chapter 9 or so- just looking for it.
I looked in chapter 11- sure enough it’s in there.
So- that’s the extent of Dirks bible reading [to be honest- you would not think the guys even read the bible- some are regular readers- and are actually good Christians. Henry is just one example].
Yesterday I posted a couple of pics.
One of the guys was standing in the rain one day- he got up under the sign- and crawled in!
Yea- it has a lot of room- I thought you would like to see it.
The other picture is John- who I posted about last.
The little dog- a new girl who had the pup- thought the pup was cute.
And the guy in the hat- William.
William is a new comer- nice guy- we became friends over the last few weeks.
He was a welder for 35 years- has kids- is married- and when he retired he told his wife he wanted to travel- not just sit home and be a grandpa.
So he bought a van and has been seeing ‘the world’ [the U.S. – maybe Mexico].
He spent a few months on the beaches of Key West [Fla.]
Hemmingway’s land [the author].
He showed me a bunch of pics form Arkansas- where he lived for many years.
Great shots of catching trout in a river that ran right thru his back yard.
Kinda reminded me of the movie ‘A River runs thru it’.
Yeah- William is a nice guy.
He noticed a staff I have been using- writing on it and stuff.
He asked what I was carving- I told him just some bible verses.
Yeah- he knows this is ministry for me.
William is the type that seems like he would not listen- or usually talk- to someone who was talking about the Lord.
But we have become friends- and just in simple conversation- it does come up.
I want to ask you guys to pray for a few friends of mine.
Please pray for Brother Rey- he’s a street preacher who has had lots of physical problems the last few months.
Also pray for John David.
He’s my friend who had open heart surgery- he’s still recovering- and its tuff.
I told David that I will help him set up the half way house.
When he first told me about it- a couple of years ago now- I felt the Lord wanted me to help him.
I kinda dropped the ball to be honest.
But I took a look at the 2 story house he’s interested in- and God willing- in the next year you will be seeing pictures of us fixing it up and all.
David believes it’s his calling- I think it just might be.
See you later.
God bless you all.
1911 A SEA OF FIRE
I had a talk with John the other day.
I was at the mission- by the way- there are now about 4 Johns that I’m friends with- so this John is the guy who used to work at the Navy base right around here.
I have known John for many years- he seems to be a real nice guy.
Different form some of the other guys- you can tell that John was not a ‘bum’.
That is there are lots of guys who simply spent their whole lives around the missions- they have mastered the art of getting free stuff- many- many of them are able bodied people [actually healthier than me!].
Yet- by the thousands- they are all on SSI.
Just the other day one of them was telling me how his lawyer was getting him on disability- because he takes medication for his depression.
So- that’s the scoop.
But John worked for the base for 17 years- at 20 bucks an hour.
He was buying his own home- had a nice Harley- was living the dream in a way.
He got laid off- he lost his home- and he also did a lot of drugs.
He now lives in a broken down RV- a dump.
If he can’t come up with the 200 a month rent- he mows the grass for the owner- she owns about 8 rental houses.
As I talked with John- somehow I told him I was reading the book of Revelation- and I knew that some of it applied to him.
I told John that Revelation speaks about those who have overcome the mark of the beast- his image- and his number.
The apostle John [who wrote the book] said he saw these people ‘standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire’.
These were those who overcame the image that the beast wanted to brand them with.
I explained to John that in life- we all have good and bad times.
Often times- much of the battle is how others perceive us- that is we allow the ‘image’ that the accuser [the beast- satan] puts on us to affect us in a negative way.
I told John that when Jesus was baptized [the sea of glass imagery- get it?] that as he came up out of the water there was the voice of God saying ‘this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’.
I told John that we- as children of God- are also seen the same way.
That God too is pleased with us- not on the basis of how we perform- but because God accepts us because his Son died for us.
I told John that this is much of the battle in life- overcoming the image of the beast- and accepting the image of God- our father.
In the New Testament it speaks about a baptism of water- and fire.
One time when the disciples were arguing over who would be ‘the greatest’ [image- see?]
Jesus asked them ‘can you be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with’?
They said yes.
He told them they would.
What baptism was Jesus referring to?
Probably the suffering he was going to go thru- the Cross.
Suffering is in a way a baptism ‘of fire’.
The baptism of the Spirit can also be called a baptism of fire.
Now- when John the apostle said he saw these people standing on a ‘sea of glass mingled with fire’.
It’s possible that he was speaking about the church- the community of people who would ‘arise’ from the baptism of water and fire.
Peter said ‘it is not only appointed unto us believe on him- but also to suffer for his name’
Yeah- as I spoke with John- as I told him about the battle to overcome the image of the beast- to accept the ‘mark of God on our fore heads’.
He understood this.
He kinda of invited me to preach at the street church for brother Rey.
I told John that Rey has asked me in the past- but I don’t do that anymore [I have many radio shows that people can still hear on line- I have preached for many years- I think I should leave that to others now].
I think John understood what I was saying.
Someone who had in a way lived part of the American dream- and then lost it all.
I encouraged him to receive the image that God has for him- the one that says ‘you are my Son in whom I am well pleased’.
Yes- there is a company of people who ‘stand on the sea’.
Don’t forget- this sea also has fire.
1910 PROTESTS CONTINUE
I normally don’t post on the weekends- but it’s been a big news week.
First- let me talk a little about the street fellowship.
I saw Henry yesterday- he heard we had an ‘overnight’ fellowship the other day [had a few street guys stay over- a chance to get off the streets].
So- I did tell Hugh ‘when you see Henry- tell him he missed out on a great time!’
Sure enough- as I sat with Henry at the mission- Hugh showed up.
He told me that he let Henry know- and that Henry was kinda mad.
Henry said ‘John knows where to get me- he could have come got me!’
Henry works at the marina.
So you could tell that the gig was up- Hugh ‘outed’ Henry.
Henry tried to brush it off.
I told Henry ‘I would have come to get you- but Huey told me when he’s getting free food he prefers the ambience of a small crowd’.
Yeah- I know.
Okay- the news.
First- the current uprisings in the Arab world are very dangerous indeed.
The right and the left are sacrificing true news coverage to gain political points.
You say ‘John- I see how the right- and Romney are doing it- but the left’?
The way the left [some Democrats] are doing it is by making most of the news of the past 3 days about some stupid statement Romney made about Obama not handling the thing well.
Look- I have said I think Romney jumped the gun by criticizing Obama on the first day of the uproar- but come on- it’s been 3-4 days- okay- there’s real news to cover.
Both Obama and others said Bush was actually responsible for the deaths of Americans ‘Bush lied- people died’ was the campaign mantra of John Kerry.
He said Bush was directly responsible for the deaths of Americans- because he lied.
He said this over and over and over- while the guys were dying.
So please- some of Romney’s criticism is accurate- Obama is responsible for not beefing up the security at the embassies.
Last night I heard a report that Libya actually warned the U.S. that they can’t secure the embassy in Benghazi- geez- they told us this.
So- the real story- the important story- is the ‘Arab Spring’ is now an Arab winter- but they are protesting the U.S.
What do we do?
Hopefully these protests will peter out- but if not- then we have problems.
The other big news thing.
The Federal Reserve came out and said they will start buying Govt. bonds- and they will continue to buy them until things turn around in the economy.
Once again- those on the left [Dems] are happy.
The right- not so happy.
This action will cause the stock market to go up [though it is dangerous to make it go up this way].
And we are about 50 days to the election- and it can only help the president.
Now- what exactly does QE-3 mean?
What the fed is doing is called ‘Quantitative easing’ which simply means what I said above.
This is the 3rd time they did it- that’s where you get the 3.
They feel that buying U.S. bonds will have an economic impact that will help the overall economy because it will keep interest rates real low- that will prod investors/business people to ‘get off the sidelines’ and use some of the money that is being saved.
The Federal Reserve is the nation’s own bank.
They are not run by elected officials- they have minimal oversight- and they can basically do what they want.
If they decide to print money [by buying bonds] they simply do it.
Now- when they buy U.S. debt- it’s like if you needed money.
And you wrote I.O.U.’s to people all over the world [China, Japan, etc.]
After a while- you wrote so many [16 trillion debt] you turned to your spouse and said ‘honey- I can’t write any more to the people down the block- will you buy my IOU’s?’
That’s what the fed is doing- they are buying the debt- but they are our own bank- we are selling bonds to ourselves for heaven’s sake!
Now- this will keep interest rates low- but they are already at all time lows.
You can get a mortgage at under 3%- that’s low.
This tells me that the Fed sees real problems down the road.
The world economies are in trouble- the jobs creation in the U.S. is very bad [last numbers were under 100,000].
So- the action of the fed- in my view- is one of desperation.
It’s artificially inflating the market.
In the short term- yes- you can make money.
But in a way it’s like building a house of cards- in my view.
Okay- that’s it for now- continue to pray for our country- and yes- for the president.
We are seeing a very serious situation develop around the world.
People have lost their lives.
I do commend the Libyan govt. – they tried to stop the attack that killed our ambassador- and by all accounts- they liked him- and appreciated the U.S.
The attack in Benghazi was by radicals.
Egypt is another story.
There newly elected leader- Morsi- responded like he was still the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood- not the elected president of Egypt.
He later backtracked and made a better statement.
All in all- this thing has spread to many Arab nations as of today- and we hope and pray it will only last for a few days- without loss of life.
If it grows- then we have real problems.
1909 FROM THE STREETS OF CORPUS TO THE WORLD
We got up early yesterday- had a couple of the street guys spend the night.
I cooked breakfast and we went to pick up Andy’s daughter.
For some reason this past week she had some kind of mental breakdown.
Her name is Rocelle [yeah- not Rochelle] she is around 38 years old and Andy [her dad] told me she tried to commit suicide the other day- she has been acting different- a type of mental breakdown.
So her husband is afraid to leave her alone when he goes to work- and we went and got her.
She spent most of the day with us- we drove over to the hospital to see John David.
He would be her uncle- Andy’s brother.
He just had open heart surgery.
Rocelle liked my yard/study.
It’s funny- I have verses and stuff all over the place- lots of people think it looks overdone- sort of ‘trailer trash’.
I do joke about it at times.
But Rocelle told Andy- as they were walking back into the house- that she wanted to just walk around and read all the verses- she was ‘fascinated’ by it.
I also had another friend- who just happens to suffer from mental problems- he too loved the yard- just ‘being there’.
In a way I do think it’s a sort of prayer garden type experience- these friends sense the presence of God- I walk the yard early in the mornings and pray- many of the verses are written out of this prayer time.
So- in a spiritual way- they are entering into this time.
We went and seen John David- I posted the pic last night [with Huey his brother by his side].
I haven’t seen David in a few years- I have written a bunch of posts about him- he was the one who killed his best buddy years ago in Dallas.
Got off by his mom hiring the lawyer who represented the guy who killed Lee Harvey Oswald [remember the post?].
Anyway David was an addict for many years- got clean a few years ago and has been wanting to start a halfway house.
David and his brothers have told me that he was a very successful business man years ago- made lots of money [millions?].
You know- he had a construction business- a big one.
He eventually blew the money on drugs and became a street guy.
As we were waiting at the hosp to see him- we walked passed some guy- dressed nice in a suit and all- and later he came up to us.
He told Huey ‘do you remember me’?
Huey said no.
He told Huey he was John John.
Huey told me that John John was a young boy who used to work for David years ago.
They all hauled concrete and stuff together.
Huey told me that John John is a ‘big wig’ now in the area- runs a big furniture store- lives in Kings Crossing [a rich area].
He came to see David.
He said David was his neighbor years ago.
David lived in the rich section too.
So we talked with David- I prayed for him- and I told him I’m gonna try and help him set up the half way house.
I drove by the house he’s looking at- right in the drug area- perfect spot.
I had Andy drive me by John David’s apt.
We got out to talk to his girlfriend- Andy tells me ‘be careful round here- it’s a big drug dealer spot- don’t look at anyone’.
I laughed- I told him I have been ‘hanging out’ on the corners the last few weeks [remember the posts on Terri and Arnold- and the guy I tried to give a dollar to- he ran away!].
Yeah- it was funny.
We had a good day- Rocelle asked if we could do this again.
I told her sure- she can come with us when we get together.
Now- I know that driving around- we did pray- shared scripture- stopped for snacks- I know from years of experience- that in a way this can be true fellowship [I have actually written a few books about this- on the blog].
So- Rocelle was simply enjoying the fellowship time- she is having a hard time- and instead of being out hooking up for drugs [I think the reason she has been having this difficult time- in her mind- is her dad and uncle think she might have done some type of new drug- maybe Bath Salts- the drug that has caused people to go nuts].
All in all- it was a good day.
I do want to mention the current situation in the Arab/Persian nations right now.
Yesterday I posted about the killing at our embassy in Libya- and the protests at our embassy in Egypt.
Over the night they have now spread to Yemen and Sudan- and maybe more.
The news talk now is about the politics of the whole thing.
Did Romney criticize too soon?
Did the state dept. [our embassy in Egypt] jump the gun in a kind of apologetic statement they put out- sort of ‘siding’ with the protestors.
This last year [even this last week- before this broke out].
I have been saying that the media have not been truly covering the aftermath of the things we have dome in Libya and Egypt.
I told a friend that Libya is highly unstable.
I told him that various militia groups still roam around- fully armed- and no one is really in control.
My criticisms have been that we sided with the people in the east [Benghazi] and ‘took out’ the leader in the west [Gadhaffi- Tripoli].
The people of the east- many of them- are/were anti American- and some of them are indeed Al Qaeda [do you remember Gadhaffi saying this- over and over again?]
Now- without re-posting everything.
One of the reasons some in the eastern part of Libya wanted to remove Gadhaffi- was because he was seen as a ‘puppet’ of the west.
Yes- he decided to work with the U.S. and this angered some of the radicals in the east.
Okay- what happened yesterday?
These same radical groups- who are walking around with heavy artillery- Rocket Propelled Grenades- they basically attacked our embassy- in Benghazi- in the eastern ‘capital’ and killed 4 Americans.
The newly installed govt. in Libya has said that they have no control over the country.
They said this a few months ago.
Why does the average person not know this?
Why have we not been doing more to protect our embassies- we know [I hope] that Libya cannot provide the security needed- they have said this publicly for heaven’s sake.
I do think we need to pray- I do think the initial statement from the state dept. was bad.
And I do think Romney should have waited- at least a day- before commenting.
But the bigger story is when the U.S. involves itself militarily- to depose a leader- any leader- we need to also be aware of the aftermath- the instability that will result when the job is ‘finished’ [even in Iraq- and right now in Syria- we need to stop saying that these leaders- any/all of them- are committing ‘crimes against humanity’- geez- both sides are. We need to stop making it into a soundbite ‘you are on the wrong side of history’. No- the answer- moving forward- is for all sides to sit down and talk- Russia is right in what they are saying about Syria].
The statement [or lack thereof] from the new Egyptian president- Morsi- was dismal.
Last I heard- he still has not condemned the attacks- and he basically sided with the protestors.
We have no ally in Egypt- the people we backed in Libya [not all of them] just killed 4 Americans- and it seems like the violence is spreading.
Pray for world peace- I know it sounds ‘liberal’ but it is the will of God.
1908 ATTACKS IN LIBYA AND EGYPT
Last night we cooked late- so I let a couple of the street guys spend the night.
I have done this every so often in the past- not really a big deal.
But the reason I usually avoid it is because I have a ‘million’ homeless buddies- and once you go down this road- well you got the picture.
But I felt the lord wanted this.
The pics I posted last night [by the way- whenever I post pics during the day- I never check Facebook form my phone. So- if I take a trip to N.J. – I’ll probably post pics- but will not get on line until I get back- so for those who leave comments- I won’t see them till much later].
So- the pics from the day [or month!] before will get descriptions when I’m back at the lap top.
Okay- Andy and Huey spent the night- they watched the Green Mile [twice].
I asked them what channel they liked- to leave on all night.
They wanted the classics.
We never got a chance to see their brother yesterday- David.
He had triple bypass heart surgery- and we were gonna see him.
His nephew [Andy’s and Huey’s too] hitched all the way from Louisiana- just to see John David in the hosp.
That’s the son of an older brother who died.
I told Andy ‘bring Leon over in the morning’ they are sleeping on the streets- geez.
But Huey got a call as I was cooking- he left last night [hitching a ride].
We will go see John David later- Andy told me David even asked if I was still around.
Me and David became good friends after he quit the Ice [he was a huge meth addict].
When he got clean- and got right with God- he just wanted to get together all the time.
Like a new Christian- wanting to learn everything he can.
As the guys were crashed out on the floor last night- I of course caught my news fix.
I was surprised to see the very serious story about the Islamic protests in Egypt and Libya.
Just a note- this should have been the top story on every news network- it met the criteria of serious breaking news [which the networks now say about everything].
But the one station- at least at 7 pm- that did the right coverage- was Cooper from CNN.
Now- Fox of course covered it- and I guess MSNBC- but Cooper treated it with the coverage it deserved.
At first it was reported in a deceptive way.
The coverage said that these protests- which killed 2 Americans in the American consulate in Libya- were a reaction to a negative movie put out by the now infamous pastor from Fla.
You remember him- the guy who started trouble a while back.
So the way the news reported it- it made it sound like he just put out another negative Muslim thing- and that’s why the angry response happened.
But then they reported that this video was out for weeks [or months].
And that some of the radical Islamic sights were already calling for protests on 9-11.
So- for there to have been these types of very serious uprisings- in 2 countries that we had a major role in removing [or killing] the leaders- this is bad- real bad.
Fox showed a speech by the president- a famous speech he gave in 2009- called the ‘Cairo speech’.
It’s famous because critics of the president have used it to say he kind of sucked up to the Muslims.
As I heard the speech- in context of last night’s news- I agreed with everything the president said.
He did offer somewhat of an olive branch to the Muslim world- but he was very careful to say this branch was to those who reject violence.
He spoke about living peaceably in a world with other faiths.
I listened carefully- I agreed with everything he said.
But it is important not to miss the fact that we have never had our embassies assaulted like this in the past- and that these attacks took place under regimes that we backed.
This is not good.
I found it interesting that I ‘accidently’ spoke about these issues the last few days.
And here we are- it’s the big story of the day [week- month?]
The killing of 2 Americans at a consulate is very serious indeed.
The fact that it happened on 9-11 is very serious.
Today we do need to pray for peace- we need to of course respond in a proper way- either shut down our embassy- or whatever needs to be done.
But we live in a world where we have both freedom of speech- and responsibility.
When this Fla. Pastor first made waves- it was easy for the media to brand him as a nut- a crazy guy.
And I of course do not hold to this guys views at all- the way he ‘exposes’ Islam.
But- to react with violence- to kill people who even show a drawing of Muhammad [which has happened] this is not civilized.
If we [Christians, Jews- Muslims- etc.] are going to try and live in the world together- then we need to condemn these things.
Actually- if you want the right response- the way we need to move forward- just listen to Obama’s Cairo speech- that pretty much sums it up.
1907 IS THE GOSPEL REALLY THE ANSWER?
Of course today we remember those who died 11 years ago.
We pray for the families and friends.
I find it strange that I recently stumbled into some of the verses in Revelation- that deal with nations and systems that war against each other.
It’s almost unbelievable to realize that in the last presidential campaign- you had someone on the Repub platform- talking about the ‘real reason’ 9-11 happened.
I mean comedians got raked over the coals for this- and others fumbled and fell into a great trap by even wading on the water’s edge.
Ron Paul often spoke about the mindset of radical Islam
Paul was the libertarian candidate who ran on the Repub ticket.
He spoke about the mindset that led to the terror attack on 9-11.
Now- in no way do I justify anything like what happened.
But it is important to see the underlying grievance that the radical wing of Islam harbors.
We often hear that the reason for the attack was ‘they hate our freedom’.
Was that the reason?
If you actually read the writings of the radicals- they believe they are indeed in a ‘holy war’.
They see the encroachment of the West- our ‘values’ [last post] and our ‘occupation’ of their holy lands as the grievance.
If you think back- the first real attack against the west was the bombing of the Kobar towers in Saudi Arabia.
This was the first one [that I recall] that was a direct act of what we call Al Qaeda.
The movement started by Osama Bin laden.
They saw Saudi Arabia as their holy land- and the towers were the U.S. base in the land.
Okay- am I justifying the attack?
No- just want you to see the mindset.
Then- the attack on the World Trade center.
The radical mind believes that to hit the ‘occupier’ in her homeland is a justifiable response because we have been engaged- many times- in Arab/Muslim lands- militarily.
I had a talk with a friend the other day- we were discussing these issues.
I told my friend that Christianity- and Judaism- have had their own ‘reformation’ of sorts.
Both religions have come to a place where they see the separation of church and state- that is- they are able to distinguish between religious belief and acts of war.
Now- there are critics of Christianity who still accuse the church of wanting to have a theocracy [church ruled state].
But for the most part- those who believe this [reconstructionist’s] are far and few in between.
But- Islam has not yet had her ‘reformation’ moment.
Now- as a blogger who has Muslim, Jewish and Christian readers- my goal is not to offend anyone- nor to skirt the real issues.
There are many fine Muslim people- who do indeed reject the entire mindset of radical Islam.
But- in the actual debates that go in within the religion- there are many who still believe that force- along with reliogus expression- is acceptable.
Islam is not only a ‘religion’ per se- but it is also a way of government.
Now- like I said- during the history of the church- obviously the same thing happened.
I mean any person who studies the rise of Western civilization- the arts- science- history- I mean the church is the major player on the board- hands down.
But- today most Christians see their role as more of a spiritual one- yes- being active in politics- voting- yes- we do have a voice at the table.
But we don’t- for the most part- want to take up an armed resistance against the world.
So- those who adhere to radical Islam- they see their struggle- well much like the last post- a Che type of thing.
I think the future depends- not on us killing all the radicals- no- this can never be fully done.
The mindset lives on in the flowing generations.
No- the answer is in learning mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and cultures.
Now- I’m’ not saying ‘let’s try and understand the poor terrorist’.
But I am saying that we in the West do need to see the root cause of why terrorism happens.
In a little while I will be going to visit John David in the ICU.
John is the friend I have written about over the years.
He was a coke addict for many years- got clean about 2 years ago.
I have pictures of him and his brother on my face book site.
We were having a fellowship at the house and did the Lords Supper.
John had heart surgery yesterday- and I will be taking his brothers Hugh and Andy to see him.
The other day I found a few packets of seeds at the house- the type you plant in the vegetable garden.
Don- the street guy who maintains the garden at the mission- he asked me one day if I could get him some.
I mean he plants that garden from scratch [see the pics on face book].
I gave them to him- he was elated- over seeds!
One day- about 10 years ago now- I was sitting at the fire house- actually it was soon after 9-11.
The fire depts. were on high alert- we had things we were to watch out for- stuff that we never worried about before.
So one day- sitting at the station- may Captain says ‘hey John- go see what the Muslim wants’.
Sure enough- some guy- dressed for the part- was walking around the fire trucks.
This station was right by A&I university [now A&M].
So- we used to keep the doors open all day [not any more] and people could walk in if they wanted.
So I went outside- the guy was just checking all the emergency vehicles out.
He told me ‘I’m doing research for a school project’.
As I talked with him- we got into ‘religion’ and I covered the history Of Christians and Arabs.
I traced back to Abraham- went into the story of his sons [Arabs trace their roots to Abraham’s son Ishmael]
And when I was done- I told him the true purpose of God- to redeem all nations of the earth.
That God loves the Arab- the Persian [we often mistake Persians for Arabs].
That he loves all people- and he sent his Son to die for all of humanity.
To my surprise- he told me he has never- not once- heard this story.
His view of Christianity- the west- the entire mindset- was shaped by world events.
He did not distinguish between Christianity and the actual Govt. of the U.S.
He- like many others- view the entire ‘struggle’ as a struggle for who will ‘rule the world’.
In my time with him- I tried to show him a better way.
No- I am not advocating passivism.
I’m not saying if we simply try to understand the terrorist- the he will go away.
But I am saying- in some cases- these people have never really heard the message.
In some cases- like the Apostle Paul said ‘satan has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe’.
In some cases- the Good News [gospel] is really the answer.
I watched another documentary this weekend.
It was the story of Che Guevara.
Che is well known today as a sort of symbol of the revolutionary youth movement.
He embodies the persona of those who defy ‘Imperialism/Colonialism’.
Che was an Argentinean doctor- who at a young age took a motorcycle journey thru Latin America [South- Central America] and he saw the extreme poverty of the people.
He would see one of the main factors of this poverty being the influence that the U.S. held over these nations thru corporate agreements with the ‘puppet’ leaders of these nations.
For instance- many of the poor of these nations were peasant farmers- they worked the land for rich land owners- and they subsisted on a few dollars a day wages.
Yet the owners of the land- they were rich.
Likewise- Che believed that the leaders of the nations were ‘in bed’ with the U.S. – and they allowed U.S. corporations to rake their countries of wealth- at the expense of the people.
Now- I am not saying I totally agree with Che.
He has many critics- as well as supporters [he’s dead of course].
Jean Paul Sartre [remember our philosophy posts?] supported him- others did not.
The point being- Che saw a system- the U.S. govt and American corporations- as an all powerful system that polluted the nations to her south.
He felt the influence of greed and corruption were the main causes of the plight of the Latin American people.
His revolution- Che literally left his duties as a doctor and led an armed rebellion against the U.S. – would eventually lead to his execution by Bolivian forces [Bolivia is just north of Argentina- Che’s homeland] backed by the CIA.
Che was a key factor in the Cuban revolution that deposed Batista- the U.S. backed leader of Cuba- and installed Castro.
Che’s influence lives on today in many of the leaders of south/central America.
If you ever hear Hugo Chavez [Venezuela] speak- you hear the words and thoughts of Che.
This last week I have been reading Revelation- the last 5 chapters or so.
The apostle John writes about the Mystery- the ‘Whore of Babylon’- this great city- that pollutes all the nations of the world with her lust for wealth.
This city [nation] lures the other nations of the world by her wealth and power.
She has all types of merchandise- even the Souls of men.
As you read the account- it’s easy to see a type of what Che saw when rebelling against U.S. interests in his homeland.
I had a talk with my street friend Dirk the other day.
Somehow we got into a discussion about the U.S. prison system.
I mentioned to Dirk how over the last 5 years or so I started cutting out of the news paper all the cases of people from this region who got sent to prison.
I regularly pray for them- now hundreds of them- every week [just did this morning].
I try and pick the cases that I think are really tough.
There was one lady- in her 60’s.
Sandra Briggs [I remember her name- and her face].
She was sent to prison for a DWI that killed a person.
Mrs. Briggs was a widow- she owned a jewelry store for many years with her husband.
He was shot and killed a couple of years ago by a burglar.
One night she went to a bar- I guess a place where she would stop in and have a few drinks before going home.
She had a couple of drinks- and on the way home [I think at night?] there was a wreck- and one car was in the middle of the road- and she hit it.
Now- as I read the case and followed the story in the San Antonio paper.
The person who was killed was a young off duty cop.
The other car that hit him cut him in half.
Yeah- a very bad accident.
His body was lying over the barrier- it looked like someone was bending over- to pick something up.
During the testimony- they said how when she was standing there- after the wreck- she was kind of laughing.
I guess it was a nervous laughter type thing- she did not know she killed a person.
The prosecutor made it sound like she was laughing- right over the severed body.
Now- I’m sure the lady had no idea that this guy was dead- and cut in half.
But they gave Mrs. Briggs 45 years in prison for it.
Now- I make no excuses for what she did- she messed up- she should not have been drinking and driving- we all agree.
But I have seen cases where a gang kid shoots another kid in the head- on purpose- and gets less time.
So these are the tough cases.
As I talked with Dirk I told him I was surprised about the large amount of cases where guys get sent up for solicitation of minors.
I never remember hearing about it- years ago.
But the development of the internet- and the availability of everyone on line- well the cases must be up a million %.
Now- here’s the rub.
In the U.S. – you have legal porn all over the net.
It’s legal for 18 year olds to be in porn.
The U.S. says this is freedom- this is what we are all about- if you don’t like it- you don’t have to view it- but the U.S. has made it available all over the world- even to countries that outlaw it [Iran- and many Muslim nations].
But- many of the cases I have read- are cases where men tried to contact under age girls for sex.
Yes- wrong- we all agree.
Legally- if you view- or try to contact an 18 year old- this is deemed okay.
A 17 year old- 364 days- and 1 minute form her 18th birthday- this is a crime.
Okay- yes- this should be a crime.
But why does the U.S protect this [the viewing of the 18 yr old]?
Our country calls the exploitation of the 18 year old- ‘free speech’.
You mean viewing or contacting an 18 year old is considered a right- a part of our freedom- yet the 17 year old is a crime.
There are many nations who outlaw it all- now- there are ways people in those nations get around it- but the nation itself does not actually encourage it- like we do.
In some of these nations- we are militarily involved- on the basis of some type of moral judgment.
Yes- all of our wars- in some way- come down to the fact that we deemed some act- like 9-11, as immoral.
Of course most of us would agree that 9-11 deserved a response.
But what about a situation like Libya.
After the rebels rose up- we eventually had an air campaign under the guise of NATO- and it led to the killing of Gadhaffi.
Most people could care less.
His grandkids were bombed and killed in a civilian home- we said it was a legitimate target.
His daughter- pregnant- was on the run to a neighboring nation for safety.
If the rebels caught her- who knows- they might have ripped her baby out right there.
Yes- the rebels we backed have done stuff like this- and much worse.
Okay- the point?
When we- as a powerful nation- make moral judgments and intervene in the affairs of other nations- we justify our actions.
Even though some of these nations abhor our values [the above 18 year old example].
We- in our nation have in a way ‘increased the sins among men’ [a description of Babylon in the book of Revelation].
Because we simply deem the distribution of porno- to all the nations of the world- as ‘freedom of speech’.
Yet- as we ‘protect’ this right- at the same time hundreds of thousands of cases of on line crimes have increased over the last few years.
Are our values in any way contributing to this?
And then we at the same time interfere in other nations- at times militarily- because of a value judgment.
Do you now see why the Che’s of the world have such a following?
Don’t misread this post.
Che is a popular figure among many socialist groups- I am not one of them.
I simply want you to see the ancient war that has been going on since the days of the apostle John.
John described Babylon [any human govt. that becomes corrupt] as a system that increases the sins of men- that pollutes other nations based on her own skewed value system- and that uses it’s extreme wealth to bribe the other ‘kings of the earth who have drunk from the cup of her fornication’.
Yes- as I read the many cases of people being trod off to prison- because they viewed a 17 year old girl- who is being exploited by some money hungry corporate interest- and this is all protected- vigorously- by the U.S. govt. if the girl is 18.
I wonder if our values have contributed to the ‘sins among men’.
A quote from Che ‘man truly achieves his full human condition when he produces without being compelled by the physical necessity of selling himself as a commodity’
A quote from the apostle John ‘in her were the souls of men- she made all nations drink of the wine of her uncleanness’.
Yeah- some things never change.
1905 DID THE JEWS KILL CHRIST?
Kinda want to try and wrap up for the week- maybe one more post in the morning?
I posted some pics of the street guys yesterday- want to make a few comments.
I like taking the pics and posting them right when I’m with the guys- I’ll tell them ‘hey- right now your pics are going to the site’- they love it.
I also want to wrap up a few final points about the church- and the 2 extremes that she strayed into over the centuries.
In the last few posts we have been discussing the over emphasis on natural Israel- the promises of God- found in the Old Testament- concerning the restoration of the land- the re-building of the temple- stuff like that.
The church also has a sad history of anti Semitism- racism against Jewish people.
To our Catholic friends- the church has tried to deal with it in the last 30 years or so.
The present Pope- Benedict- who I do like [I have read his books] got into some trouble a couple of years ago.
It was a noble attempt to try and heal some long time divisions within the church.
It has been said when the Protestants disagree with something- they go out and start their own church.
When Catholics disagree- they start their own order.
I like that- funny- and true.
So- part of the Catholic divisions is the older type churches- the ones who rebelled against the noble reforms of Vatican 2 [The last church council- held between 1962-65].
Within the Catholic Church there are disagreements over what the council was trying to do.
Liberal Catholics believe the church was trying to trend into a more liberal institution.
Conservatives say that’s a misreading- that the church still held to her conservative roots- and was simply trying to be more Ecumenical.
Either way- one of the results was the more traditional type churches- sometimes called Tridentine [the ones who prefer the old Latin Mass].
These churches kind of split off from Rome and have been worshipping using the Latin mass [which was originally a violation of Vatican 2].
Vatican 2 said the Mass should now be done in the vernacular- the language of the people.
So- Benedict made a noble attempt to bridge this division- and he allowed for the Tridentine churches to do the Mass in Latin- and he also restored an old prayer- about the Jewish people- which simply said we pray for the conversion of Jews.
Okay- was this a big thing?
To simply say Christians are praying for the conversion of Jews- is that real bad?
In my mind- not a big thing.
Might it offend some of our Jewish friends?
But that’s the tradition of the church- to want people to come to belief in Christ.
But- because of the history of anti Semitism- this became a big thing.
‘How dare you pray for our conversion’ type thing.
So the church has had to grapple with how she looks at the Jewish people.
Historically- there were times of persecution of the Jews.
Most of us are familiar with the inquisitions.
The ones in Spain did ‘force’ the Jews to convert- and there were ‘inquiries’ made to see if the Jewish people really converted.
Some were put to death during this time.
During the protestant Reformation of the 16th century- out of Germany- which was Martin Luther’s home country.
There were anti Semitic writings penned by Luther.
Some of these writings were later used- in Germany- under Hitler- to justify anti Semitism.
Very sad history.
Now we have the ‘over emphasis’ [in my view] of the role of natural Israel- and the End Times [last couple of posts].
So- as you see- we have been to both sides of the aisle on this.
Why did anti Semitism play a role in the church?
Understand- we have bibles- that as Christians we accept as the Word of God.
There are also statements in our bibles- well- to be honest- might not have been written the same way- the same style- if we ‘re-wrote’ them today.
Bare with me a moment.
When the Mel Gibson’s movie came out- the Passion of the Christ- the criticism was he stuck very closely to the bible text- and it was indeed a violent crucifixion.
The writings of the apostle John specifically talk about the ‘Jews killing Jesus’.
There are other themes like this in our New Testament.
It’s not hard to see how these statements could lead to anti Semitism.
One of the things that the Pope recently clarified- which I absolutely agree with- is that when we read these things in our bibles.
We should not read them as saying ‘all Jews- of all times- are responsible for the death of Christ’.
In the bible story- the Jewish leaders conspired with the Roman govt. to ‘kill Christ’.
Many [all] of the original believers in the Messiah were indeed Jewish.
And the ‘anti Semitic’ statements in the New Testament were written by Jews- who were simply saying that they believed that some of their Jewish brothers were missing the boat by not accepting Jesus as the Messiah who was to come.
Okay- as you can see- we- the church- have a long history with this.
I would like to make one last comment before we close our talks on this.
For many years- as a bible teacher- writing- doing radio- etc.
It never dawned on me how these statements can indeed be offensive to our Jewish friends.
I mean say if you read ‘the Italians killed Christ’ or the Germans- etc.
That would indeed be problematic if you were trying to get your kids to read the bible.
The same thing with our references to the Arab world.
There are verses- in the Old Testament- that talk about Syria- Iraq [Babylon] and other Arab/Persian nations as the ‘enemies of God’.
So- when we use our bibles- in the modern day- it’s vital to understand that today- the kingdom of God is not about natural borders- or ethnic backgrounds.
It’s about Christ’s new kingdom- the kingdom of God.
All nations and races are welcome- we do not discriminate.
And we- as the church- do confess our sins against our Jewish friends- against our Arab friends- yes- we confess.
In the heated political environment of our day- the post 9-11 world- it’s hard to avoid animosity- and at times- hatred- towards others.
But we- as the people of God- should strive for forgiveness and unity- at least unity as people who live in a global society.
Yes- maybe we- as preachers especially- should re-think how we phrase things.
Yes- there are out and out statements in the bible about the ‘Jews killing Jesus’.
But in context- it would be wrong to put this on all Jews of all times- and if we ‘adjust’ the way we say these things- I think God would be well pleased.
1902 ARNOLD AND TERRI
Yesterday morning I took one of my early drives.
I kinda ride the main roads in our area- Cross-town- 37- these are the overpasses that let you drive the whole region without having to stop at a ton of red lights.
On the way back- around 6-7 am- I got off by the area where I bought the Jesus carving last week [remember the pic?]
I have been wanting to kind of start an outreach to the guys in that area for a while [remember the dollar I offered to the Mexican brother- who thought I had a gun?]
Yeah- that’s how it works- you just walk up to the guys- say hi- and over time you make new friends.
Isn’t that risky John?
To be honest- yes.
But I determined a long time ago that we [I] would take the risk.
Have there been times where you thought- for real- that this might be the big one?
Yes- a couple of times.
A friend- freaking out over some stuff- walking around with his loaded gun- I did think he might have killed us both that day- for real.
Another friend- who actually attempted to murder a couple of cops- one day I was at his house.
He knew that everyone knew him to be crazy- and that everyone feared him.
One day at the Fire House- the guys were talking about one of the local gang type guys.
His name was Campos.
They come from a big drug family in Kingsville.
Anyway- they had some ambulance run the night before- a shooting or something- and this Campos guy was involved.
The guys who knew Campos- some of the younger Mexican firefighters who grew up in the area knew all the war stories about him- he was the local ‘infamous hero’ to them.
They were talking about all the stuff Campos has done- shootings and stuff.
I got tired of hearing it- I told them ‘heck- my buddy beat the crap out of him one night’.
They shut up.
Yeah- this is my friend with the reputation of being nuts.
So anyway- as I was at his house- he just got out of prison.
He is talking to me- and he pulls out a very large hunting knife.
I could see it’s a test- he wants to see my face.
I sat there- knew it was a test- and gave him the look like- ‘I have been here before my friend’.
I guess I passed the test.
Both of these friends [the gun guy and knife] are long dead.
My ‘knife’ friend- well I mentioned him the other day and didn’t want to say too much- his brother and nephew are friends on my Face Book page.
But I’m sure they know- one night at the firehouse we had a call that some guy was attempting to kill a cop [again? I don’t know the whole story- but that’s how we heard it].
Something of that nature.
He possibly swallowed a bag of coke and went into a coma.
It was my friend.
I visited with him and his family at the hospital for about a week- they finally took him off life support.
He’s the one that’s buried at the ranch picture I posted the other day- in Bishop- Texas.
Okay- enough of this.
The reason I bring this up is I always felt I would take the risk- that I was supposed to.
So- Sunday morning when I got off on Morgan street- I really wasn’t intending on meeting any new ‘friends’.
We were going to go to church and all- and I try not to do outreach on Sunday.
But to my surprise there were a couple of street guys sleeping right on the bus benches.
In the ‘olden days’ you couldn’t do that.
This road [Morgan and Cross-town] is a high crime spot.
A kid- Jacob- committed a triple murder right at the intersection not too long ago.
But as I saw the guys on the benches- I thought ‘damn- let me stop and get them breakfast’.
There’s a McDonalds right there.
I got a laugh- when I ordered the breakfasts- the girl asks ‘is this a senior discount’.
Hell- I just turned 50- but I told her ‘if you want it to be’.
Yeah- the Lord blessed me.
So I got the meals- and headed out to the street.
It’s funny- all the people driving by- you know- one of those spots where you make sure the doors are locked.
I took a few pics- hope to post this morn.
But I walked across the street and simply told the kid on the bench- ‘hey bro- you want breakfast’.
I woke him up- he said ‘yeah man- thanks’.
I talked to Arnold for a while- nice Hispanic kid.
I gave him a few bucks- and he ran across the street to get some coffee- on the way back I told him I was gonna go offer the other meal to the guy on the other bench.
Arnold grabbed a car rag out of his pocket- he was going to the car lot right off the main street- the guy pays him 10 bucks to simply wipe the dew off the cars in the morning.
I walked over to the other guy- sleeping too.
‘Hey man- you want a breakfast’.
‘Oh yes- thank you so much’.
Terri has been homeless for a while.
He’s around 57- used to print the Ad Sack- our local paper where you list the stuff you want to sell [you know- the caveman Craigslist]
I sat with Terri for a couple of hours.
He enjoyed the meal- told me how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
We walked across the street- I offered to buy Terri some smokes- not beer.
We walked in the store [Stripes] and the girl kicked him out fast.
I guess they know him.
I told Terri ‘I’ll get the smokes- what do you want’?
He wanted Kite- they are the roll your own type- lots of the guys buy these when they are broke.
‘C-mon Terri- my treat- get what you want’.
No- he said the Kite were fine.
Sure enough- they don’t carry Kite- he got the classic- Marlboro Red.
I sat there- right on the street- having a good time talking to Terri.
It was obvious Terri was an alcoholic- I did tell him I’m trying to get clean myself.
I told Terri that I passed this road many times over the years.
When I was a firefighter in Kingsville we used to take the badly inured to the hospital that’s right across the street.
It used to be called Memorial- it was the highest rated Trauma hospital in the region- it was also the free public hospital for those who had no coverage.
So lots of the addicts and stuff use it.
I noticed Terri had a medical band on his wrist- and he was wearing the hospital type pants.
Yeah- he was probably what we call an MHMR patient.
Mental health pt.
Terri seemed like a nice guy- down on his luck- living on a bus bench- right across from Arnold- living on the other one.
Yeah- I finally made 2 new friends- I will go back at least once a week- maybe take the guys to the buffet.
This is how it’s done- I have been doing this for years- ever since the day my buddy pulled out the knife- or the other one with the gun.
Sure- you do take risks- but most of the guys are like Teri and Arnold- harmless people down on their luck.
It’s not a race thing- Black- White- Mexican- they all have had their hard times.
I will try and chronicle their stories as time moves on- I want you to see these people.
Even though Terri was obviously not all there- he still had his senses.
As I sat with him- a pack of dogs walks right by us- you know- those little dog gangs.
A few cute pups were in ‘this gang’.
I asked Terri ‘are these regular’s’
He said no- he has never seen them before.
I told him ‘I guess they just heard some guys giving out free food’.
Yeah- I made some new friends- living on bus benches.
I told them ‘hey- can I take your pics for the site’?
They loved it.
Enjoy the pics [if they post?]
NOTE- As I sat with the guys on this Sunday morning- I noticed not all of the cars driving by ignored us- some stopped and gave a few dollars- or a taco- to the guys.
They were wearing rosary beads and stuff- the people who also helped.
I felt like they were good Catholic people on their way to Mass- living out the teachings of their church- helping the poor.
May God bless them.
1901 SURROUNDED BY CRIMINALS?
A few years ago [well- 1992] when we moved to Corpus we really never shopped around for the neighborhood we would live in.
We simply needed a 4 bedroom [preferably with a study] and there was only one on the market- we bought it.
But after moving in- I told my wife ‘wow- can you believe the luck- all the bums and criminals live right around here!’
Now- to me this was music to my ears- to my wife it was ‘here we go again’.
When we first started our ‘church’ in Kingsville we rented an old hospital building.
Eventually I fixed up my 2 garage and we used that.
But- the ‘members’ of the church were made up- 99%- of crooks- thieves- and stuff much worse.
I met these guys thru a bible study I did at the jail- and many would get sent off to prison and when they got out they came to the church [their wives too].
So- this was our cool little church- many of the guys knew each other from the streets.
They often ‘reminisced’ about the old days [not good].
Elias [long dead now] was my song leader- and filled in for me when I had to work- but he was one of the ‘gang leaders’ if you will- that is they all were drug addicts- all knew the places to rob- and sell the stuff.
Now- because these guys were my friends- they would often offer their ‘services’ to me.
‘Hey John- you need a very cheap flat screen- it’s a steal’ [literally].
I would tell them ‘no way brother- I don’t want you guys to keep doing this @$#’
They would tell me that it’s no big deal- they sell the stuff to their family- and even to one of the local city commissioners [who I knew].
I was mad- I told them if I buy the stuff- even if it’s a good deal- it will simply encourage them to go out and steal more.
And I was really mad that one of their moms was buying the stuff from her son.
So- that’s the way our little church was.
I remember one time one of the guys pawned my weed eater.
I lent it to him- but he never brought it back.
So one day when I needed to cut the grass I went over.
‘C-mon Johhny- I know you pawned it- lets go get it- I’m not mad- I forgive you bro- but I need to cut the damn grass’.
Yeah- we went and got it.
So- I have had my buddies- all used to living life like this- offer me their services at various times- thinking they were helping me out.
If I walk out of my study right now- I could throw a rock and probably hit one of the guys right now- sleeping under the overpass [right by Floyd’s restaurant].
A few blocks over- they are in the streets- brush- broken down trailers- they ‘reside’ all around me.
I have a good friend- Dave- who lives right across the street.
He has lived his entire life in ’the bluff’.
After he moved across the street- we became good friends.
But he realized that the guys who were coming over to visit me- well- they were all criminals- people he knew for years- and he was shocked.
Dave has a jewelry business that he runs out of his house.
He started putting in all this extra security- he would come over and keep showing me all the stuff he was putting in.
Electric shock stuff- showing me the new gun he bought for protection.
I finally caught on- Dave was afraid that my buddies might ply their trade- at his house!
See- they actually think that they are helping when they do stuff like this- but they are not.
I was glad when I found out that all these guys hang out all thru out these streets.
If I go out right now [just was outside by the way] and walk 15 blocks- they are all over the place.
Maybe a few are up right now at Floyds- or down at Whataburger.
They fill the streets.
When they offer me their services I say ‘no- there’s a better way’.
Paul told the Corinthians ‘some of you were thieves and killers’ all types of stuff- but then he said ‘you are now washed- clean- thru the Blood of Christ’.
It’s easy for these guys to resort to tactics they used their whole lives- but by grace they [we] can learn better ways.
Yes- at the end of the day- that’s what we want- all of us.
This week I met John at the mission.
Maybe the last 2 weeks?
Anyway- when he first showed up he just looked like one of the new guys that shows up every so often.
You have people from all over that gravitate to the shore regions of the country- and we are one of those spots.
John was a little different- he had this cute Chewowa [sp?] dog- named Gizmo- and he is a ‘jolly’ type fella.
So- to some- they might paint John as gay- you know- loving on this little dog- jolly.
Now- if he were- I wouldn’t care- I mean I still be-friend people from all backgrounds- and I forgot to mention this in the post I did about race.
That a couple years back there was a nice Black kid- he came from a ministry background [family started churches and stuff all over the area].
One day I took him shopping- to the grocery store- we had a couple of other street guys.
Sometimes I’ll take the guys to the store and let them buy some stuff they need [on my debit card].
But Tracy basically food shopped.
Tracy is also gay.
It was quite expensive.
The other guys got mad ‘hey- John pays for this out of his pocket’.
Sometimes people think I have some type of ‘ministry fund’ and they might spend more than they need.
I just went with it- I was broke for the rest of the month- but what the heck.
So- just wanted to defend myself a little- being I do write on race issues- yet I believe in helping all types- even gay friends.
So- even if this new guy was gay- I don’t judge him.
But- as I talked with ‘jolly John’ I came to find out he’s not gay- but a widower.
John was a plumber for 35 years- lived in Arlington [Texas- the city where the Texas rangers come out of].
A few years ago his wife got real sick- and in October of last year she took her own life.
John always wanted to live near the ocean- he sold everything he had and spent the money coming to Corpus.
He got a job right away- working right by the mission for a mechanic shop.
Yesterday I took my van for an inspection- sure enough he was there.
So right off the bat I know John is different- lots of the guys have stories- but to put it bluntly- they don’t want to work.
This is a real problem for sure- and when you read all my posts defending the poor- don’t confuse that with thinking I’m defending able bodied people- who are not working.
No- I try to spend my money helping people who are not on the free programs- or who are really in need.
Yeah- I have given to those who I probably shouldn’t have- but all in all I am against guys just living off the free dole- when they need to work.
So- John has a good job- and he’s saving up for a cheap apartment.
He told me he’s living in the broken down car wash that’s attached to the mechanic shop.
For you local friends- he works at Fast Trax- in the Bluff- right by the HEB parking lot.
John sleeps there with his little dog- Gizmo [I’ll try and post some pics this morning?]
Yeah- John has an interesting story- a hard working man- who came upon hard times- and wound up ‘on the street’ at least for a little while.
It would be easy to look at John and judge him- I mean he is eating at the free mission [I never eat the free food by the way].
And he is a big boy- overweight- and admits it.
So- at first glance you could peg him as a freeloader who refuses to work.
When John told me about his wife taking her life- John cried.
I felt bad for him- he seems like a very nice guy.
As I sat in the shop waiting for my inspection- sure enough- his little dog Gizmo is chained up to a chair in the waiting area.
The poor baby is shaking- you know how those little pups shake- and I guess he sits by himself all day.
He’s just staring at the door where his ‘daddy’ walked thru- hoping he comes back.
Kinda sad story to be honest.
Yet John has this happy go lucky way about him- he laughs and jokes at the mission.
He lets his little puppy lay on him- he’s really an interesting guy.
John is one story- one friend- out of hundreds- maybe thousands of friends I have made over the years.
Yeah- there have been times where some of ‘my friends’ were people that others would not be around.
Dangerous type people.
Others are like John- just a good person who fell on bad times.
I have a verse posted here right behind me.
It says ‘she that tarried at home divided the spoils’.
It’s in the book of Psalms.
I posted it a few years ago- right behind the chair I’m sitting on right now while I blog.
To me it says there will be friends who read these posts- and maybe they will never see the John’s of the world.
Maybe they will live their lives as most people do.
Good lives- working- raising kids- things that are noble and good.
But to these friends- the verse I just quoted is very important.
It tells me that God intended for some of our ‘community’ to ‘stay at home and have a part’.
To you- most of you are women- don’t underestimate the need to pray for me and my friends.
I have gone thru the Gospel of Matthew- Acts- Romans and am in Corinthians right now.
Yes- I am a big bible reader- as well as a writer on all the other things.
The Apostle Paul was used by God- and in most [if not all?] of his writings- he says ‘please don’t forget to pray for me’.
For those who can- those who tarry at home- try and pray the ‘Our Father’ every day for me and my friends.
It might not seem much to you- but to be honest- I think it at times it has saved my life.
Thanks- from John- John- and oh yeah- little Gizmo.
I got with the street guys the other day.
Every so often one of the guys gets in the mood to ask me stuff- things about the bible- things they have questions about.
Hugh sat down next to me and asked me a few things.
It was funny- because I was just posting about Greek gods and all- and he asked me if there was a goddess that’s mentioned in the bible.
I told him there was- in the book of Acts it talks about ‘the great goddess Diana’.
It was a reference to the idol that was set up in the city of Ephesus.
The reason I mentioned this was Hugh told me ‘John- I like talking to you about this stuff- you know the answers [most of the time] but you don’t try and make us believe everything your way’.
Hugh and Andy and John David- all brothers that I have written about over the years- they grew up in a preachers home.
They had experiences with many preachers over the years- and they are familiar with men- good men- but men who see things a certain way- and they often demand that others see it to.
When Hugh made the above statement- I didn’t tell him this- but his brother Andy- who is a very able bible person- had told me the same exact thing a few years ago.
Before I write in the morning- I quote a verse from the book of James.
‘let every man be swift to hear- slow to speak- slow to wrath- for the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God’.
Last night I caught about 5 minutes of MSNBC- and I need this verse because of them.
Rachel Maddow was ‘covering’ the campaign of Romney- and she went on to say that who would ever believe that in this day and age- a candidate for president would run his whole campaign on being anti black.
She went on and said Romney is targeting the racist white vote- that this is blatant and open.
As I watch these race cards being played- another MSNBC host said Romney was calling the president a Nigger.
Yes- Toure’- a regular on the network- said when Romney used the word ‘angry’ twice in a row- that he ‘niggerized’ Obama.
I heard a few actual quotes this past week- actual recordings from the 2008 campaign.
‘He knew he was going to play the race card- we now have the proof that he did this on purpose’.
Who said this?
He was referring to some memo that leaked our – Clinton said it proved that this was calculated.
‘Obama- you say you want to run a clean campaign- but your actions are not in line with your words- Shame on you- shame on you’.
When you see the person saying it- she’s outraged.
Who said it?
I think it’s sad that any side would resort to stuff like this.
This is not new [unless you believe that Bill and Hillary were lying].
Okay- the other day when I posted the pic of the Jesus head carving [Facebook] I wasn’t sure if I should tell this or not.
But I got up at midnight again- and when I was just praying before I post- I felt it was time.
The reason I went down the road that the Re sale shop was on- was because that part of town is a very bad place to be.
Normally- White folk don’t go there.
Many years ago [18?] I had a bad year.
I hung out with drug addicts- and partied in the bars that were right off the street where I bought the carving.
As I was standing on the street that day- waiting for the owner to get to the shop- I had about 20 minutes or so of just being there.
As I looked east- I saw a club called Ceilo- where a shooting just happened a few nights before.
I thought about the nights when I was in another club just like it- on the same block.
I was the only English speaking person in the place- including the bar tender.
One night as the guys were ‘shooting up’- somehow the conversation got into God.
When I told one of the guys I used to preach- he said he felt God sent me- that in a way he thought even though drugs were all over the room- yet he thought God sent me.
Many nights I would be up all night- and drive home at around 6 in the morning [an hour drive to Kingsville].
I would get home just in time to put on my uniform and go to work.
There’s a song that’s been playing on the Christian station these last few days- it says we are all on borrowed time.
As I stood on the corner that day- right across the street there was this Mexican guy.
So- being I’m waiting for the owner of the shop to show up- I figured I might as well do some outreach.
So- I yelled ‘hey brother- you need a few dollars’.
I just wanted to spread the wealth round.
He looked at me for a second- and I wasn’t sure he understood English.
So I started walking towards him- and I was taking my wallet out- you know- to say ‘look- do you need a couple of bucks’.
I guess he saw me reaching for the wallet- and maybe thought I had a gun.
He turned the other way and started walking- real fast.
At this point I was laughing- yeah- out loud.
I grabbed my trusty cell phone camera and took a couple of pics- was gonna post them but they came out bad.
Over the years I have had Mexican friends- Black friends- all races.
God’s kingdom is color blind- we are here for a very short while.
It gets me mad to see the race card played- I know racism exists- it inside White people- Black people- it’s comes in every color.
When we as a society play the card so freely- we damage each other.
We give people excuses to hate other people.
Yes- some people hate Obama because of his color- but most of those who disagree with him do so because of his politics.
If people don’t like Romney- then ‘don’t like him’ because of his too.
But when you say he ‘niggerized’ the campaign because he used the word ‘angry’ twice- then you are not contributing to the overall healing of our land.
Remember- short time- let’s not waste it on stuff like this.
1894 HEROD- FAME- AND ONE COOL DUDE
I mentioned the other day that some of the street guys said ‘wow- were gonna be famous’ when I told them I was gonna post their pics to the site.
The next day I was watching the local news- and they did a report about 2 guys getting arrested for peeing- on a cop car- at the police station.
So- whenever I see a news teaser like this [you know- ‘coming up next’] I think ‘geez- wonder if I know them’.
Sure enough- it was Albert and another guy that I just saw at the mission.
They did want to be famous.
Right after I posted yesterday- I read an article that backed up my suspicion.
It was so obvious it was funny.
I wrote that I saw an NBC news clip that portrayed Romney as this angry- mean- loser who can’t stand the heat.
Then- they spoke about Obama as a very calm- almost messianic figure.
So- right after the post I read my paper- there was a report by the AP [associated press].
Let me quote the first paragraph- it’s right here ‘Romney is portraying THE OUTWARDLY CALM PRESIDENT as a man seething with animosity and power lust as the Repubs seek to undermine one of the Dems greatest strengths- his PERSONAL LIKABILITY’.
I mean it’s so obvious- you can’t take these guys serious.
I was watching MSNBC- Matthews was responding to the court ruling that backed the Repub rule that in Pennsylvania you need to show voter I.D.
This has been an ongoing political battle in a few states- including mine.
The Dems charge that there is absolutely never any voter fraud- ever.
[note- a few years ago they showed a tape of a Texas Dem- she was speaking to a room full of Mexicans- down by the border- she said ‘go out and vote- even if your not a citizen- they cant check!’]
They say the Repubs are doing this because they know many ‘poor Blacks’ who vote Dem- cannot get their I.D.’s
Once again- they don’t realize that this stereotype is racist.
Like when Harry Reid said of Obama- and Biden too ‘he’s the first CLEAN BLACK guy- on a national scene- he can talk good- he doesn’t SOUND BLACK- only when he wants to’.
Yeah- you tell em guys.
I’m surprised Biden didn’t kick in ‘yeah- you need a slight Indian accent in the 7-11’s and Dunkin Doughnuts too’- ‘I’m not kidding either’- yeah- we heard.
So Matthews goes on and asks his guest ‘tell us what this rule means for the poor voters in the state who usually vote Dem’.
The lady goes on and says that this forces them to travel across the country [huh?] in order to obtain their proof of birth from their state.
What about the fax machine?
Then she said many of these people were born by midwives [many- these people- hmm?]
And they don’t have birth certificates.
One of my daughters was born by a midwife- she has a birth certificate.
My homeless friends are constantly losing their picture I.D.’s- which is an important thing for them to have- and they regularly write- contact their home state of birth- without actually going there- and they get new I.D.’s
I really don’t know why MSNBC calls itself a news station.
Then the wonderful Chris Matthews says ‘they are going back to the days of King Herod- where he made all the world travel back to their homeland to be taxed’.
Please- Please- try and stick with the news as best as possible- because when you guys delve into the faith- you really screw stuff up.
Oh- I forgot- I also cut out the picture from the article- it shows the most calm picture of Obama I ever did see.
He’s with his wife at some function.
She looks good too- like a happy- sweet angel.
He is on a plane- doesn’t look that bad- but maybe a little stressed.
Now- I’m sure they searched high and low for a stressed pic of Romney- this was probably the best they could come up with.
I remember when Newsweek posted a cover picture of Michele Bachman- I mean it was the most insane shot I ever saw- like some wild eyed lunatic.
Yeah- the media do stuff like this- all the time.
People don’t realize they are affected by it- but they are.
Okay- this past week I posted some pics of old friends and I also shared a story about some of these friends with the homeless guys.
So I think I’ll post another ‘post’ right below- one that has some info about these old friends.
So- enjoy your weekend- Oh- if you’re a Black person from the great sate of Penn.- say high to King Herod for me.
 I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE-
The other night I had a weird dream- 2 young guys showed up at my door. They rang the bell and as I opened the door one of the boys said ‘John, do you remember me’. Now- to be honest this has happened lots thru out my life. At the Fire House I would often show up for shift in the morning and the off going shift would say ‘John- one of your convict buddies stopped by yesterday’ [they eventually caught on that lots of the guys I worked with at the jail/prisons knew where they could find me when they got out- and they figured they would catch me at the Fire House].
So stuff like this has happened lots- and there are times when I simply don’t remember who the guy’s are- if you give a bible study 5 years previously- they might remember you- but you might not remember them. So in my dream I told the kid [around 19 years old] ‘to be honest I don’t really remember you- just a little’ [Yes- I admit at times I have said ‘yeah- I think’ just so I wouldn’t offend the brothers].
The boy tells me that I did indeed help him and he won’t forget it. So I fellowshipped a little while. Then the boy asks a strange request ‘John- will you draw me a picture’. Sure- it seemed like something a young boy would ask- but why not. So I drew a picture of the beach and us just sitting there- like Father and son- and he asked me to sign it for him. I gave him the simple request and he seemed like a little boy getting a present from his dad. He talked a little more and as he began to leave he told me his name. He said ‘I’m Texas Ruiz’. And he left.
As I woke up [around 3 a.m.] I didn’t think too much about it. As I started the coffee, getting ready to go in the yard to pray. I remembered who Texas Ruiz was. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I pray for the cases I see in the paper- or on the news- the severe cases of crimes that have been committed. I have a wall of names [around 30 or so] that I paint the names of these people on. They will forever be on my prayer list- so I try and pick cases where the criminal [or victim] has a long lasting result/penalty- so as I pray for them over the years they can benefit from it.
One of the cases was a local one- here in Corpus Christi. The stepdad called 911 and his stepson [around 1 year old] had died. At 1st they thought it was from some natural cause- then they found out the step dad abused the boy and he died from this abuse. I saw the boy on T.V. a lot- being it was local. As Protestants we usually don’t pray for the people who have died- but I actually have felt the Lord challenge me about this over these last few years- and I do pray for the victims sometimes, even though they are dead. When I saw the boy on TV I would just raise my hand towards him and pray that God would be with his soul- I felt real bad for the kid. I did this a few times over about a week. I felt like a ‘dad’ to the kid- just praying for him. The boys name was Texas Ruiz.
There is a verse in Ezekiel 37- God says ‘in the day I raise you up and bring you back from the dead- in that day you will know that I am God’. I wrote this verse down on an ongoing journal type thing- every week I add whatever verse/book I’m studying from- whatever I feel might be significant. So I stuck this verse on the top of the page. A few days went by and I wrote the dream on the same page- I felt it was significant so I wrote it down.
After a few days- while reviewing the page- I saw that on the top it said ‘in the day I bring you back from the grave’ and in the dream- yes one of ‘our people’ did come back- it freaked me out.
In John’s gospel, chapter 11, we read of the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus and his sisters- Martha and Mary- are good friends of Jesus. They lived in a little town named Bethany [the name of my oldest daughter] and for the Jewish people to openly embrace Jesus at the time- it was a sacrifice. Many of the religious leaders already had turned against Jesus.
So one day Lazarus gets real sick and the sisters send word to Jesus ‘Lazarus- your friend- is sick’. Now- Jesus is going all over the place- healing sick people- opening blind eyes- multiplying bread and fish. I mean the sisters must have thought ‘well- at least all the flack we’ve taken over openly befriending Jesus will finally pay off’. But when Jesus hears about Lazarus the bible says he purposefully waited 2 extra days before heading towards Bethany.
Now- after a few days Lazarus did indeed die. The sisters are mad- ‘wow- he healed all these others- strangers- yet no time for us’. When he gets to the outskirts of town Martha goes out to see him ‘Jesus- why didn’t you come? You could have prevented this from happening’. Eventually Mary says the same thing to him. Jesus tells them ‘I am the resurrection and the life’.
The sisters only saw Jesus thru the lens of ‘why didn’t you fix the problem when it was still possible’ Jesus was saying ‘it’s still possible’. He was telling them ‘Just because the thing you thought I would do- in life- didn’t happen yet- I can still overcome the devastation that it has caused you’. Jesus of course will raise their brother- it becomes a huge miracle to the point where the religious leaders conspire to kill Lazarus too- because so many Jewish people begin believing in Jesus because of this miracle.
In Ezekiel 37 God told Ezekiel [and the nation of Israel] ‘in the day I bring you back from the dead- in that day you will know I am God’. Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. A real event that took place in time and has stood the test of historical examination [too much to cover right now- but take my word for it- the evidence is overwhelming].
Sometimes we are like the sisters of Lazarus- we expected God to prevent the disaster from happening ‘Lord- if you were here this would not have happened’. The test of faith is to continue to believe- even on the other side of the disaster. The problem with Mary and Martha was they felt like Jesus simply did not come thru in time- they heard all these great stories about how Jesus helped all these others- yet they sat at home- with a dead brother and a funeral to attend.
Today I want to challenge you- are you like the sisters? Did God not prevent the disaster from happening? Did he not do for you what he did for the others? You might not see the ultimate ‘healing’ until the resurrection- the ‘last day’- but be assured- in the day he raises you from the dead- you will know that he is God.
 THE CHINGALINGS-
Got an email the other day from one of my old buddies who I haven’t heard from in a few years. He must have googled my name and found the blog site- it’s not hard to find me being my name is on a lot of the posts that I publish.
He was surprised to have heard that I retired; he used to call me up a lot over the years when I was at the fire house. We grew up together in N.J. and he was one of the friends I always kept in touch with. He told me that a mutual friend was still in prison [Rahway, N.J.] I told him ‘yeah- I know’ I have been writing him in prison ever since he first told me about it a few years back.
He finally sent me the ‘rap sheet’ I knew our friend was doing time for a serious offense, just never knew the whole story. As I read the link I pictured in my mind the whole scene. They
I’ve been wanting to write on this for a few weeks now- but the opportunity never arose.
Yesterday me and my wife were driving to church- and I noticed they put up a new sign on the front.
We attend the only ‘mega church’ in the area- and they do all the things that mega churches do.
So- this sign is like the big marquis things you see while driving down the highway- I mean its big.
As we were right by the sign- ready to turn into the parking lot- I said ‘hey look- Bethany’s face is on the sign’.
Bethany is my oldest daughter- she’s a school teacher- and she helps out a lot at the church.
So- my wife looked- and was shocked- she thought I meant that Bethany girl [Soul Surfer] who lost her leg in a surfing accident.
That Bethany was at the church a few weeks ago- telling her story.
But no- the one on the sign was our daughter.
What’s it to ya?
Many years ago when I first started writing little books and stuff- I told one of my kids that I put a story about the cat in a book.
Wow- OUR cats are gonna be famous!
The other day when I got my new camera phone- I started asking all the street guys to pose for pics- so I could put them on the web site.
Hey- were gonna be famous!
Yeah- it’s in our nature- I mean we want it- deep down inside- to be the top dog.
A few posts back I posted about this thing popping up in the minds of the disciples [post was called GREAT].
Jesus quickly rebuked the idea.
I was going thru the book of Acts the other day- and in chapter 9 we read the ‘famous’ account of the conversion of the apostle Paul.
Paul is on the original Damascus road and he’s blinded ‘by the light’ and after 3 days God sends a disciple named Ananias to restore his sight and baptize him.
Jesus tells Ananias ‘I will show Paul the things HE MUST SUFFER for my names sake’.
If we use the criteria of the modern preaching of our day- we might say to Jesus [or Ananias].
‘Don’t listen to negative confessions- Jesus talking this way will bring you down’.
‘If you hang out too much with people who talk like this- you know- suffering stuff- then it will affect you’.
Yet- Jesus was simply telling the truth- that in order to be a true disciple- you must bear your cross.
This wasn’t a ‘negative confession’ or some type of thing that was denying our ‘covenant rights’.
It was simply teaching- from JESUS- about the cost of discipleship- nothing more- or less.
I have spent many years reading/learning from many different camps.
And verses like this- or the one in chapter 7 where Stephen is martyred for the faith.
These verses didn’t seem to fit in with the modern message of success.
I mean we view success as not suffering- or not being killed for the faith!
Yet- success in the kingdom is different than the world.
If we want to find our lives- we must lose them.
If we want to be first [fame] we must be last- the servant of all.
These are the things that Jesus taught.
I even remember how some of the teachers would do their best to say that the suffering Jesus spoke about was not ‘real’ suffering.
Some said it was the affliction you go thru when you become rich- and then when the other Christians [like me] teach different- then you ‘suffer’ because you are rich- and people talk about you.
What about Stephen?
It doesn’t seem like that would fit his case- I mean the guy was killed for Christ.
Some taught that Stephen DID NOT HAVE TO DIE.
If he chose to believe- and have faith- he would have been delivered- but it was his choice- or lack of faith that brought him to martyrdom
I could go on- but why?
Yeah- I was glad to see my daughters face on the big screen- and it’s okay that she was on it.
But the faith is not about fame.
When Jesus said ‘let your light shine before men’.
He was not talking about talents- singing- preaching- etc.
If you finish the verse he said ‘so they may see your GOOD WORKS and glorify your Father in heaven’.
Once again- the good works of charity- giving to the poor- laying your rights down for the benefit of others.
That’s ‘the light’.
1888- THE NEW AMERICAN GIGOLO
Okay- let’s talk.
Before I forget let me finish a note on one of the pictures I posted last night [Facebook].
I posted an old pic from a fellowship we had at a ranch in Bishop- at Eli’s house.
The reason I have posted some of these blurry pics- taken from a very old cell phone- is because they have friends in the pics who have died and I will never get any new pics from them.
In this photo there was a shot of Shelby- who passed away a few years back.
Henry was also there- these are my friends from the streets of Corpus Christi- and the Bishop fellowship was one of the few times that the 2 different groups met- one group from the old days in Kingsville/Bishop- when we had our little home church.
And the later days- the guys who I now work with each week- the homeless guys.
Part of the note that got cut off was one night I was driving Homer home- he was Eli’s- Bebe’s and Rudy’s dad.
They all came to the church.
And Homer told me how happy he was to see all his boys in church.
I am still in touch with these Kingsville/Bishop guys- some are on the site [Facebook].
I plan on making a trip soon [so if you guys are reading- let me know the best day- I’ll bring a few street guys].
Okay- that finished that.
I also had one of those strange experiences.
The other day while I was praying for all the different guys- I also prayed about the ‘jail’ ministry.
For many years I used to preach at the county jails in Kingsville.
When I moved to Corpus- I tried to get in at the one here- but they had certain rules that made it hard for me to get in.
I usually do stuff like that thru the name of our ministry- corpuschristioutreachministries.
But this time they wanted me to go thru another church- so it didn’t work out.
I left it at that- I mean I still have plenty of other guys to work with.
So- as I was praying I asked the lord if he wanted me to get more involved- then he would have to show me.
It was only a day or 2 and I got the letter from my friend in prison- in N.J.
So I felt this might be an open door.
I mentioned that I was suspired to get a letter from Jersey- and the next morning I wrote a post and ‘unwittingly’ titled it I KNEW A LITTLE GREEK.
Just a play on words [the post is a few back- I was talking about the Greek language].
Later in the day I realized that this buddy who just wrote me- he is the only Greek friend I have!
So- that was cool too [you know- the first letter in years- just happened to be the only Greek guy I know].
Okay- let me quote another verse from Isaiah-
‘Behold- I create new heavens and a new earth- the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind- be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create’.
This verse is also found in the book of Revelation.
Here in Isaiah God is speaking about a new future for his people- a time of restoration.
God’s people went thru years of struggle and hardship- and he is telling them ‘look- those days are now over- yeah- they served a purpose- a lot of it was stuff you reaped from making bad decisions- and to put it bluntly- sinning and messing up. But no more- this is a new time- rejoice- be glad- this is a new season’.
For those of you who need it- just take it- no charge!
And I’ll end with the tragic news event.
Yeah- I’m sure you have all heard- Romney kills women [to my less astute political readers- I kid.]
Yeah- Obama’s people put out an ad- I watched it.
It sounded very sincere- the guy said he worked for the company that Romney’s firm eventually shut down.
He then said ‘when Romney shut us down- I lost my insurance- soon after my wife died of cancer- we had no more insurance thanks to Romney’.
Now- by just watching the ad- you would have thought that the guy’s insurance covered his wife- and thanks to Romney- the lady died.
The truth is- the lady was not covered by the husband’s ins.- she had her own.
When the guy got fired- his wife still had insurance.
She finally lost hers- and later- 6 years later [after Romney left the company] the lady got sick and died.
I mean if you want to blame somebody- why not the employer who she worked for?
This whole thing is stupid- they now found out that this guy also did another ad for Obama.
That’s a big no no.
The latest ad was by one of the super pacs- and the actual campaigns are not allowed to co-ordinate with the super pacs.
It looks like the Obama people might have screwed this one up- big time.
I also liked the other Romney story I read the other day.
Some guy smashed his wife’s lap top.
He saw a picture of Romney on her Facebook page- and thought she was a ‘cheatin’
on him [he did not know who Romney was].
Yeah- he hit her and broke the computer- all because of that darn home wrecker- Romney.
Wow- he kills women with cancer- he wreaks havoc in homes- homes he has never been in.
Yeah- that Romney is some piece of work- a reincarnation of the American Gigolo- way to go Romney- way to go.
1885 WHO’S THE GREATEST?
Got with the street guys yesterday- will post a few pics right after this note [p.s. every morning that I post- I post to the blog and Facebook- these are not ‘generated’ posts- I write- post- and leave. So- if you’re reading this on the blog- the pics are on Facebook].
2 guys died this past week.
John- a nice brother- carried a staff- sort of like a prayer thing.
I didn’t know him well- but just spoke to him the other day.
The other death was a good friend- Donald D.
I met Donald 20 years ago- he was one of the first street guys from the Bluff.
He was a real nice guy- sure- problems- but nice.
Donald did not hang out at the mission- so I would maybe see him once every few years- for the past 20.
He always treated me like a brother- big hug- you know- like when you see a family member.
I was sad to hear that he died.
A few years ago I met his son- Eddie.
At first I didn’t realize it was his son.
Eddie told me they were originally from the Garden state [N.J.].
I was surprised- being I’m from there as well.
He told me they lived at Lake Hapactkon [spelling?]
Wow- I went there as a kid with my dad- a small world.
Okay- let’s finish the week with something spiritual.
I have had a few things I wanted to say this last week- but haven’t really had the time to cover them all.
So- let’s pick one.
In the gospels the mother of James and John [disciples] ask Jesus for a favor ‘can my 2 sons sit at your right hand and left in your kingdom’?
Jesus tells her that it is not his place to decide that- but God [the father] will make that decision.
The other disciples hear about the request- and they get mad.
They begin a debate about who will be the greatest.
Then Jesus says- in the world you measure greatness by how far up the ladder you go- how many people are under you.
But in his kingdom it’s not like that- but the least will be the greatest- the ones who serve- not the ones being served- are ‘great’.
This simple example covers a lot of ground.
I have friends in ministry- pastors- ministry leaders- etc.
And it’s often difficult to ‘explain’ the ministry to them.
Usually- we see ministry as setting up 501c3 nonprofit- raising money [usually lots] and then becoming- well- famous.
Often times what we call ‘pastors’ are really just motivational speakers who speak weekly- or travel to an event- all well meaning men- but that’s the category many of them fall into.
So- when I’m asked ‘to preach’ or ‘how are you funded’ it comes as a surprise that I never take money- ever.
Some of my pastor friends actually think that it is wrong to not take the cash.
I remind them that the apostle Paul left that option open in the N.T.
My purpose is not to debate this whole subject right now- I’ve taught it in depth many times over the years- but just to say that we usually judge ministry by criteria that Jesus himself said was wrong.
It’s not how many people are ‘under you’ or how much money you bring in- or how famous you are.
It’s a matter or serving others- laying down your life for others- not always seeking your own welfare- but the welfare of others.
These principles are the main principles of leadership- and Christianity in general- but they are often over looked because we simply have substituted the modern corporation for ‘the local church’ and we basically run ‘the church’ along the same lines of the corporate world.
I am not one of those critics who hates going ‘to church’ [the building].
There are many who don’t go- because of the things I just shared with you.
I’m not in that camp.
But- the things I did just share- they are very important to get a grasp on- for those who see themselves in ministry- or as pastors.
On the blog- if you look to the left you’ll see a few short books I wrote years ago.
The one called Further talks on Church and Ministry deals with this subject a little more in depth.
Also- under the Feb. posts of each year- there’s a category called ‘what in the world is the church’. There are posts about this there as well.
Okay- the point today is we [leaders- believers- the whole bunch] are not to measure success in ministry as attaining some type of material success.
We should not view Christianity thru the lens of ‘what can I get out of this’.
These are usually the main themes that you see from the TV preachers of our day- and I know they mean well- but that’s simply not the heart of Christianity.
The writer to the Hebrews said ‘you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods- knowing that in heaven you have an enduring substance’.
He was talking about the persecution they went thru- they were robbed of their stuff.
In today’s world the average preacher would say ‘get back what the devil stole’.
The writer of Hebrews says ‘praise God- you have a better inheritance in heaven’.
The apostle John wrote ‘if you have this worlds goods [see- he does not call material stuff ‘true riches’] and you see your brother in need- and don’t help him- then how does Gods love dwell in you’.
The apostle Peter says ‘you were not redeemed by corruptible things- like silver and gold- but with the precious blood of Christ’.
I could go on- but just want you to see that we in the modern church really don’t focus on these themes any more.
Sure- most well meaning preachers will say ‘yeah- I believe that’.
But we often [if ever?] actually teach it.
The bible says we should listen to the WHOLE counsel of God- not just to the ‘bless me’ verses.
Okay- that’s it for now- I know some of this stuff rubs some of you the wrong way- in the past I have had friends ‘un-friend’ over stuff like this- so whatever will be will be.
If you want more about this subject- also on the blog- you will see another little book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ I wrote that years ago- at the fire house- but it gives you some verses that might help.
Okay- have a good weekend- and don’t worry- I’ll be back to politics soon- I know how much you guys love it!
1877 CHINESE FOOD- RELIGION- POLITICS [WOW!!]
Let’s try and cover a few things today.
Yesterday I went down to the mission to see the guys.
Henry showed up- I was hanging out with Dirk and Joe for a little while.
Henry heard they were serving chili – he has stomach problems- so he invited me and Joe to go to the Chinese buffet about a block away.
Henry has been working regularly at the boat dock and he had some cash.
We walked down to the Chinese place and Joe and Henry ate- I never eat lunch [or b-fast].
We had a good time- I actually took a few pictures and my daughter will try and post them [I’m bad at that].
We talked for a while- actually the guys brought up politics on their own.
Geez- Chinese buffet- homeless outreach and politics- I thought for sure the Kingdom had come.
Henry told me ‘John- did you hear- the cops cuffed me at HEB the other day’.
He told me the story.
Henry is one of the most upstanding guys you could ever meet.
He is a deacon for church without walls [a homeless church].
He is practically a scholar when it comes to the bible- and he does not do drugs or get drunk [he drinks wine. Not a lot- he thinks it helps with his stomach- that’s actually in the bible. Paul told Timothy ‘drink a little wine for you ailments’].
So- just to let you know- Henry is not a trouble maker by any means.
Why did the cops cuff him?
He went to HEB [our local grocery] and bought lunch.
He ate- then went to catch the bus.
Someone had called the cops and said a homeless guy was threatening him if he didn’t give him money.
HEB is right next to the mission so it’s possible that one of the other guys did do this.
So- when the cops got there they thought it was Henry and they cuffed him.
Henry does get mad- over the years they have arrested him- for no reason- they were just doing a sweep of the area- business people complain about all the ‘bums’- the cops pick a bunch of them up with no real charge- Henry is not loitering- he’s not drunk- he just looks bad [check out the picture on Face Book].
So- he has had to sit in jail- without doing any crime- and of course it would piss you off- it would me.
So anyway he told me the scoop- they finally uncuffed him- and let him go.
I took a few more pictures of the guys- now that I started posting pictures of the guys- I’m like the dad that keeps making his kids pose for pics on vacation [like my dad did a lot].
The guys were like ‘why are you taking pics’?
I told them I started posting them to the site.
They said ‘wow- were gonna be famous’.
One of the guys said ‘you can’t take my pic- the cops might find me’.
I mentioned that I regret the fact that some of the guys have died and I never got a picture.
I talked about Bill.
Bill was one of the first guys I met on the street- he was about 30 years older than me and I have written a few posts on Bill over the years.
Bill eventually saw me as his ‘best friend’ almost like a son/brother.
I guess I took Bill out to eat more than any other street guy.
Bill died a few years ago.
So- as I mentioned Bill- Joe told me that they have a picture of Bill hanging up inside the mission.
I couldn’t believe it- they had one of Bill- and the camp!
I took a pic- will post it.
Many of the guys live in makeshift camps- I have visited hundreds of camps over the years.
These are little ‘tent cities’ that pop up in the vacant fields all around the area where I live.
I live on a bluff- a peninsula type jetty sticking out into the bay- right off the gulf.
So- there are lots of beach spots- and areas where the homeless can camp out.
My area is nice- it’s been developed over the years and marketed because of its closeness to Padre Island [right over the bridge and you’re at the beach- the national sea shore- you could walk it].
So- after a while the locals complain about the homeless population- and every so often they do a sweep- and go thru the camps and cut the tents [cops] and stuff like that.
I have bought tents for the guys over the years- and I get mad when I hear the cops cut another tent.
I’ll try and get these photos up loaded soon.
On the way back to the marina [where Henry works].
We started talking about all the guys who have died these past few years.
I told Henry that when I do my early morning prayers- I try to ‘see’ these guys as part of the community- the little fellowship of friends I have worked with over the years.
I told Henry- that in a strange way- I still sense Bill- Shelby- etc. – as ‘hanging out’ with us [I just looked up over my head- I have a ball cap of Bill hanging on my shot gun rack- after Bill died I found it under my car seat. He must have left it there one day when going out to eat- I kept it as a memento].
I mentioned that as Protestants- we usually neglect the biblical teaching that our Catholic friends emphasize.
The Communion of the Saints.
That even though Protestants don’t practice prayers to Mary and the saints- yet in a very real way those who have died in the faith are indeed still part of the community.
I mentioned the book of Revelation- it speaks about the prayers of the martyrs [dead Christians] going up to God as incense.
I told Henry- just because our friends have died- that does not mean they can’t still pray- even for us!
Being Henry knows the bible well- he was familiar with the passage that I mentioned- he just never saw it like that [see- there are lots of things like this in the Christian journey- that’s why we should hold judgment on other Christian denominations as much as possible- we all ‘see dimly’ at times].
Okay- I guess will end there.
I was gonna do a few news items- yesterday the ‘rebels’ in Syria bombed a key headquarters of the leader- Assad.
This was a suicide bombing- by most accounts- Al Qaeda did this.
Yet- the U.S. – and the western media continue to describe these guys as innocent civilians whom Assad is killing.
This happened in Libya as well.
I am not defending Assad- but we in the West need to stop referring to all the rebel groups in the various Arab spring uprisings as ‘innocent rebels’.
Many are not- many are terrorists- they practice such things as suicide bombings.
The one yesterday killed some key Syrian men- one was the brother in-law of Assad.
Things are getting very unstable over there.
Our recent killing of an Indian fisherman [we shot the fishing boat off the U.A.E the other day].
And yesterday’s terror attack on a bunch of Israeli tourists.
These are all signs of major unrest in that region- It’s possible that this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to Israel taking out the nuclear facilities of Iran.
Obama has been trying to get Israel to hold off on the Iranian attack- you guessed it- till after the election.
But after yesterdays bus bombing- they might decide to go.
So all in all- there’s lots of stuff going on in the world- lets pray for peace- for all people.
PEACE ON EARTH- GOOD WILL TO MEN.