Foresight and Foreshadowing
During my one trip to Europe in my youth, I took 1100 pictures, slides to be precise. Most of these were typical shots of cathedrals and street scenes and friends made. Some pictures were taken seemingly at random or based solely on aesthetic composition. The well in Acre, Israel is an example; the import of which I was at the time unaware. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.
The Abbey of St.Thomas the Doubter was a name that occurred to me and appealed to me, however I hadn't studied the Gospel of Thomas. Now that I have studied the Gospel, I find myself quoting passages. The text seems to speak to me and through me. Here is an example(Translated by Thomas O. Lambdin)
(14) Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will give rise to sin for yourselves; and if you pray, you will be condemned; and if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits. When you go into any land and walk about in the districts, if they receive you, eat what they will set before you, and heal the sick among them. For what goes into your mouth will not defile you, but that which issues from your mouth--it is that which will defile you." (15) Jesus said, "When you see one who was not born of woman, prostrate yourselves on your faces and worship him. That one is your father." (16) Jesus said, "Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand solitary." (17) Jesus said, "I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind."
First off, who is this Jesus guy? I like him. Secondly, what is verse 15 saying? Creeps me out a little. Verse 16 speaks for itself and pretty well sums up human history over the last two millennia. Verse 16 gives us credible Jesus rather than incredible Jesus. (No wonder the Council of Nicea rejected it from the Bible.) Lastly verse 17… Yesterday at church we discussed our senses and how they interpret vibrations and energy. Science has proven that many “invisible” energy fields pass through us, bounce off of us, and emanate from us. We are dynamic. Thus, next time you are ready to dismiss a Reiki healer or an aura reader as a nut job--don't be so sure. I’ve had my eyes open and as a result I've seen stuff. I've been in peculiar spaces and places--you get my point. If seeing is believing--then you’re an idiot. Illusion is in our lexicon and Photoshop on our computers. Experience is another matter.
Church in a Bag is the result of a de facto magical operation, and as Bill Whitcomb points out magic works, if it "doesn’t work, your not doing it right." The bag is some powerful stuff. It has developed from collecting welcome literature from local churches, having iconography, small books, a crystal ball w/ stand, my tarot deck, 7 metal chimes, incense, oils, chunk of bloodstone, documents and notebooks. This tackle box for spiritual fishing needed organizing. The last item I put in was Marie Laveau's Black & White Magic. I've heard of mojo bags but I never thought I would own one. (Lucky me, through an exercise of Will, I organized. I avoided lust of result by having no intention in a cognitive moment. I did not pray over my bag, anoint it, cast a spell or any such operation. All I wanted was to be able to provide a way for people I meet to see the Light. It is doing exactly that and the results have been profound.)
About those chimes--I believe it is science but you be the judge. The chimes are at the end of a 12-inch leather cord. Picture striking the chimes and holding them near your ears. Seven metal bells produce a clear, beautiful and long-lasting tone. When the ringing has subsided, repeat. The first time, the ringing in your ears may seem to travel from side to side in your head. The second time--it usually sounds as if the ringing is from the inside out, the tone does not travel. This experience can best be described as having your mind take a breath of fresh air--literally you become centered.
Enter Bag Priest. I pulled the chimes out of the bag and used them if this manner for all comers at the Red & Black. People felt the effects right away; there were smiles all around. Lastly I came to the clearly angry woman sitting in the corner. During the first chime her eyes darted from side to side--I assume following the tone bouncing in her head. The second chime produced the same effect but diminished. I gave it a third chime and her eyes remained still until the tone was nearly quiet. I set the chimes down and said, "Like a breath of fresh air." Then I approached to sit next to her as her eyes welled up with tears and she said. "But now I’m sad." She proceeded to tell me she was in pain and was betrayed and she let it out/gushed/vented and I responded with "eggs and baskets" and let her know pulling out the knife in your back is painful and leads to blood-letting but it is also the first step in the healing process. After a trip to the bathroom she was able to smile and interact with others. The transformation was so obvious as to be jaw dropping. Talk about developing street cred.
Verse 14 above applies here, I have gone to the Homeless district and over time they are accepting me. They have been very generous and have shared what little they have with me. I have healed, admittedly a drop of healing in an ocean of pain.
Perhaps I should stop dropping the f-bomb so often. Knowing me I probably won't. My colorful language and the vocabulary of the desperate do not concern me as much as hearing the term the "Homeless Problem." if you use the term, provided you ever consider and discuss people living on the streets, replace problem with people. I am out there restoring some sense of human dignity to people that are being treated like feral cats--one bitter person at a time. Active dehumanizing such as the Buckman Neighborhood’s proposal to stop feeding them and they will go away reeks of George Carlin’s NIMBY--not in my back yard--and "somebody else's problem" thinking. Comes off heartless but how would you respond if you were in their position?
In the movie Driving Miss Daisy a Martin Luther King Jr. quote was featured, to paraphrase he said that the problem of racism in the South wasn't the bigots, they were exposed, rather it is the liberal white people that wants to help. Point being people don't need your help they can speak for themselves, think for themselves, experience successes and failures and be fully functioning human beings without your help. This is passive dehumanizing.
Homeless people are not a problem.
There will always be poor, people on the street just because they don't fit in. There is a problem though. Three of four homeless people I speak with, both men and women, are veterans. The model presented for how to preserve resources and limit garbage states recycling is good, reuse is better, and source reduction is best. Analogous to retraining and educating vets to become productive in some other way, better/less spendy to keep people in the military or slide them into law enforcement, last and best choice, stop serving in the military where you are lied to abused, placed in harms way and injured physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Some people on the streets need help because they are broken; some were born that way, parents broke some and our military broke even more, true some folks were damaged before they signed up, seems likely.
Our military is creating enemies around the world faster that they can kill them and the by-product is they are breaking people and throwing them away like garbage, sure they make efforts to help vets adjust and most everyone has good intentions. Would you want the man that stabbed you to stitch up the wound? Clearly I could go on, and on and on. Next time I take out the garbage or take recycling to the curb, I will think of the people I have met that live on the streets and I will likely mutter words not acceptable on broadcast television, and I will not feel defiled.
"May the Divine Light shine within us and without us, today, and all the days of our lives."
"All power to the people!"