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Evangelicalism, You Have Traumatized Me


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Evangelicalism, you have made your people defend a book, but not the marginalized in front of them. You have blinded them with your judgements. You have made them so hungry for power, that they want nothing to do with the powerless. You have turned them into the oppressors. You have made it all about the next life, while ignoring this one. Your people pray, sing, maintain their holiness, but what they don’t see is that this is turning them into white-washed tombs. They don’t realize that righteousness is justice. Holiness is defending the powerless and taking care of the least of these. You have made it all about themselves.

You still have some honest, good people within your religion, but you must release them from your bondage. You must give them the freedom to be messy, to question, to love, to do justice, to give mercy, to be kind and gentle. You must step aside and let them see Jesus, and to be Jesus.

Evangelicalism, you have traumatized us enough. Maybe you are the one who is traumatized. It is time to examine your fruit. It is time to heal, so that you may bring healing.

Exerts from the a blog post entitled “Evangelicalism, you have traumatized me” from Robert Lofgren

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adventures

Caged Love


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Spent the day walking around San Francisco, from the Wharfs to Mission District up to the twin peaks to catch the sunset.

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In my travels I noticed that a lot of the doorway entrances have a caged door as well…

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and then I noticed some churches do too…

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and then I noticed not just doorways but little enclaves & places of shelter were caged off…

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and then I found this man in an alleyway…

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and right across the road was this church…

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it had a large sheltered area that would be perfect for alley-man to sleep & shelter in.

 

It may even make a difference in whether he lives or dies tonight.

 

I want to ask a question, so I find an entrance. On the way I see the churches slogan on a big sign,

Relationship. Not Religion.

 

I ask, “why do I see so many areas caged off?”. The answer it seems is because homeless people would take up residence there. “Is this why you guys have a caged area too?”, He looks awkward, a lady pipes up, “You have to remember we have to keep it clean for Sunday”.

I ask her if she knows a homeless guy died from the cold the other night, that he is the 5th in the last 2 weeks. She tells me if they let a few homeless stay (in the courtyard) soon there would be lots & they have families that come on Sunday.

He tells me they’re busy & I have to go now, I thank them for their time, I’m just trying to make sense of it all…

Wouldn’t God be appalled if our courtyards were dirty.

Heaven forbid we became known as a church where the least & disadvantaged seek shelter, or where faith was raw & real for our families, rather than disinfected-white-washed-sanitised-sunday-school-lives.

Lets do some simple math. There are easily a 120+ people there, that would mean committing 1 day every 2 months where you & another person cleaned up & served the homeless that gathered in your courtyard…

 

who knows, maybe then the words of your slogan would come to life…

maybe then it would stop being religion,

and start being relationship.

adventures

Kicked Out


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I’ve been in Hawaii for 5  or 6 days now, part of that time has been for vacation & travel, part has been to hangout with & do some film/photo/doco work around the homeless/houseless.

There are two reasons for this,

1) I hope to be able to put something together to raise a little awareness about the houseless & how we treat/interact with them,

and 2) I want to do it in such a way that it’s accessible for anyone to do. I’m by no means a talented editor, creative, film maker etc… I’m shooting everything on a GoPro. I guess I hope to provoke one or two others to ask,

what is it in your world that doesn’t sit right with you, what can you do about it, how can you engage with it & advocate for change

This was a beautiful moment I witnessed last night.

Last night after the sunset on the beach I spend some time hanging out with some houseless people. I take a few pics & do a little film work. I sit with one guy for a couple of hours & he just talks, he cries, he laughs, he shares his story, from the mundane to the comical & tragic.

I listen. I’m not filming, it stops being about what I need.

Unlike some of the other ‘houseless’ he doesn’t have a group he hangs with, the only time people stop to talk is to see if he can hook them up with weed.

I don’t know how to describe it other than it seemed to be a healing moment for him, he asks for me to pray for him, I’ll make a point of seeing him before I leave.

On the way back I stop by this really flash mall full of Prada, Armani etc… it’s a stark contrast to what I’ve seen in the last couple of hours, I decide to ask a couple of questions,

“Hey I’ve a couple of questions about Hawaii, can you answer for me”, yes. “How long have you been in Hawaii?”, insert answer. “Whats the deal with all the homeless people around?”.

“sorry sir I can’t answer that”. “ummm….”. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave”.

One lady called security. I start leaving, I’m on the 3rd story & it’s a little tricky to get out. Eventually I get asked to hand my camera over. I refuse, there is no way that’s happening. You’re not allowed to film or take photos in the mall without permission, I point out the dozen or around us that are filming right now.

It’s clear they don’t want a confrontation because of either my size or the scene it would create. I get asked to accompany them to their office, yep that’s not going to happen either. They inform me they can call the  police & have me charged, I’m sceptically but a little worried that this might jeopardize the rest of the trip (and judging by a few incidents I’ve witnessed, I have no confidence in the police). We reach a compromise were I agree to delete some footage off the camera under their supervision, I do so (in hindsight, something I would regret).

One of the guys tries to snatch it off me quickly, the GoPro is attached by a cord to my wrist, dick move, “I’m going, try & stop me”. We’re calling the cops…

Once I get out and around the corner I’m sure I’m shaking. I head back to the hostel & knock back a few local beers with people from around the world, there’s a really good group in tonight, it’s a shame I’m leaving tomorrow.

Great-beers-best-local-beer-hawaii-beer-longboard-lager-big-wave-golden-aleHigh: the “random” timing in witnessing a beautiful moment of kindness. The comradery of  travelers.

Low: indifference

adventures

Byodo-in 2


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DCIM102GOPRO

I awake to the sound of rain. It’s pouring down.

Beautiful.

Eventually I get out of bed & during a break in the rain decide to head to Byodo- in temple (take 2), freshly armed with the exact bus route I head off. I reach my transfer point only to discover that as of a month ago my connecting bus no longer connects… guess the website updates are running on island time.

Not only that, but because it’s Sunday it’s hardly running, not wanting to miss another opportunity I grab a different bus to get me closer, then suck-it-up & take cab.

My driver, Ricky (most popular name on the island so far) is a Vietnam vet who moved here after the war, he has seen Honolulu go through a ton of change, single lane highways to 8 lanes etc. He cuts me a good price as he picks up  another job over that way, gives me an umbrella & wishes me well.

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Byodo-in Temple is at the back of this cemetery & it is in the most pristinely beautiful area, these photos dont do it justice. It begins rain heavily, driving the few remaining tourists away, I’m absolutely soaked, but it’s Hawaii so I’m warm.

 

 

 

I hangout til dusk.

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I’m dry by the time I get back to Waikiki, although I freeze with bus a/c.

Heading back I stop by a group of homeless people, I ask if I can do some time-lapse photography, I’m chatting away while I’m setting up. One of them gets into an argument with another, the cops are called, one says,

You’re only here because I allow it!

I’m sitting on the pavement with them & realise I fit in, until one of them notices the GoPro & I’m asked to move along. The petty crime, smoking, littering, urinating, searching through trash cans, and drinking doesn’t appear to be a problem. But scare the tourists, that’s another story.

I return a couple of hours later & make some new friends. Deciding to give photo’s a miss, I film, I ask questions, they talk BS, they share the heartfelt, their stories & I get a tour of Waikiki.

Here’s a little something I put together, when I get a chance I’ll do a more thorough edit. I imagine I’ll be spending some more time with “the houseless crew”.

 

New Experience: bending busses! hawaibus47

High: Chilling at Byodo-in & new friends.

Low:  It’s a toss up between really muggy nights & mosquito bites (if you go to Byodo- in, use bug spray. The mosquito’s are like ninjas, you don’t know they’ve been there til to late.

Biggest Surprise: It’s been 2 days & I haven’t been for a swim yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

adventures

My Live Below the Line Challenge: day 4


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freedom farms bacon

If Freedom Farms Streaky Bacon – still plugging for sponsorship – is a 10, and Trifle is a 1, then beans on a rice is a 3.

Originally I’d planned on a few meals of beans on rice & a few of tuna on rice. After one meal of beans on rice this changed. But first a little more on the ‘food scale’.

 

The Food Scale

10 – Heaven in your mouth: Freedom Farms Streaky Bacon, Halloumi cheese, the first mouthful of Jack & coke, Oreo shakes, brownies

9.5 – Drexels French Toast

9 – A party in your mouth: my home-made French toast, my home-made pizza – yep I’m pretty humble when it comes to my cooking ability for these two items, ignore the fact that they are the only things in my cooking repertoire I do well.

7 – other pizza, other bacon, fish ‘n chips.

5 – I couldn’t care either way: pumpkin, potato, roast dinner – What! are you even a Kiwi! note: see yesterdays entry on rice. I have a roast for Christmas dinner (as is tradition) I wouldn’t be sad if I never had one again.

3 – I could, but only if I really, really had to.I don’t hate myself enough to eat this: supermarket pizza, white ants – a Ugandan delicacy. I recommend the dried dead ones over the still-live-in-your-mouth-with-wings-on ones. Mmm nutty.

white ants driedwhite ants wings

 

 

 

 

 

2 –  The world would be a better place without: parsnip, swede, yams.

1 – Lets take bets on how long I can hold this in my mouth before you meet the contents of my prior meals.

trifle1-e1286413613925Avoid at all costs: Trifle. Trifle is the only food in this category. I would eat a bowlful of white ants over a bowl of trifle any day. I’m not sure why I dislike trifle, I don’t recall any traumatic experiences.

If I break trifle down, Custard is a 7, Jelly is a 5, Sponge is a 5, Cream is a 7. Yet somehow these things combined make the most repulsive food substance known to man.

I guess Trifle is like the 2013 Los Angeles Lakers, made up of appealing parts, Nash, Kobe, Howard, Gasol, who on their own are all 8-10’s, yet somehow combined, became something that made all L.A fans feel ill.

Notes:

Hunger: It’s important to note that hunger has a sliding effect on the food scale. For example a petrol station pie is a 3, but after a late night & a couple of beverages that same pie can become a 10. Likewise that Dominos pizza from Day 2 is a 7, but on that day it became a 15.

Advertising/deception: Food that isn’t as advertised. KFC/McD’s/Burger King start out as an 9, but each bite you take it drops a number until it hits 5 & then 2 hours later it becomes a 3.

 

With all that cleared up my meals have been like this.

Beans & Rice – 3

Tuna & Rice – 7

Banana Rice – 7 (easily an 8.5 with honey)

Beans, Tuna, Rice – 5. I took to this as the tuna has a Thai green curry, which wonderfully masks the beans.

Meal one: 6:15am… I overslept. “Banana Rice”.

Half asleep & not concentrating I peel the whole banana, faced with eating it all now & having no banana tomorrow or having 1/2 an incredibly brown-icky banana, I opt for the whole one today, what a treat!

1 Banana, 1/3 cup of rice, milk.

A brief dilemma as I contemplate taking the car or arriving to work late. I go with late, so far I’ve stayed car free.

Meal two: 10:30am “Tuna & Rice”. 2 spoonfuls of Tuna, 1/3 cup of rice.

WP_001373Meal three: more a snack than a meal. 3pm. Beans & Tuna (no rice)

I’m so flip’n tired I combine the last of the beans, 1/5th of a can, with a spoonful of tuna, not enough to mask the beans, this meal is a 2.

 

I crash for an hour, then I get up & go to the gym…

“Tim, people who live below the poverty line don’t go to the gym, so why are you?”

Great question intelligent-thoughtful-beautiful reader! Let me tell you why…

My job is not physically demanding, yet those that are poor can do quite physical tasks to survive. In Uganda we had no washing machines, I attempted doing my washing several times. Not only was I bad at it, but it was time-consuming & draining… I was sweating like crazy & dying after 45 mins. Some of the lady’s there would be doing washing all day, absolute workhorses! On a side note the washing machine is the single greatest invention in human history.

So that’s why I went to the gym, I wanted to see what effect my limited diet would have on an intense activity.

I took the car. 3 1/2 car-less days. Sure I could make the 75min walk to the gym, but there was no way I’d be able to get home without dying.

I shouldn’t have worried, I died anyway.

Before I got there I hit what I can only call the IDGAS zone ( I don’t give a ***t!). It comes after Hangry, you basically stop caring about anything & everyone else. Who cares about this dumb challenge anyway.

The Gym sucked.

I had a session with my PT guy, doing what I’d normally do, I didn’t tell him of my new-found diet, as I didn’t want the session altered, and he wouldn’t approve. Halfway through the 1st set of bench I knew I was in trouble. Set 1 felt like Set 2 & set 3 felt like set 5, if such a set even exists. I just about passed out multiple times & I’m sure he was disheartened by what could only appear as a lack of effort.

I get home & jump in the shower, thank God for hot showers. The gas runs out midway. Instant cold water. fml.

 

Meal four: 6.45pm “rice & tuna”

Tuna is all gone. Tomorrows menu is looking dreadful, but I still have that $1.50 to look forward to.

 

The Highlight of my day came a little later, watching a young friend get baptized.

10:30pm Zzzzzzz

The low-light of my day, waking up @12am hungry & headaches, awake most of the night.

One more day to go.

 

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