Tag: Homelessness

Sharing is a Gift in Itself

Congregations becoming Spaces of Hospitality for People Experiencing Homelessness

Yesterday I spent several hours at church, but not for the reasons you might think. This was not for a worship service or a committee meeting. It was neither quiet nor serious. The evening I spent at church was filled with noise and children and purple frosting. It was filled with running toddlers, balloons, and at least four different spoken languages. When I... Read more

Finding Friends of God on the Streets of Seattle

And Listening to the Dreams They Offer the World

She said it with a cool indifference, and like she meant it: “If I stayed in Salt Lake City, I would have killed myself.” She said she had options. She had an underwear drawer full of “benzos.” She could cook a lethal overdose of heroin. The drugs weren’t really for lethal possibilities. They were medications, she said—psychic shields to absorb the pain pillaging... Read more

Hanging out with Homeless Folks in Silicon Valley

Turning Off the Default Settings on "Service" to Begin Structural Change

On a warm Friday night in August I sat outdoors with my friend Xavier and three of his buddies, enjoying the pasta dinner I had prepared for the occasion. Xavier is affectionate and talkative, eager to regale us with pieces of his story—emigration from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift, life as a transgender dancer in San Francisco in the ‘80 and ‘90s, how these... Read more

Resilience & Mercy at the Margins

Seeing Homelessness and Ministry in Silicon Valley Homeless Encampments

Median household income in San Jose, California, the so-called Capital of Silicon Valley, is $96,662 a year, with the "middle class income" range cresting at $193,324, according to the finance website, GoBankingRates. For more than 6,000 people in the epicenter of high tech affluence, however, the abundance one sees almost everywhere in the region—twin Teslas in... Read more

Love Multiplies

3 Confessions from the Streets

Mary’s forehead is dried blood. “He did this to me,” she says. John Jacob is uneasy. He’s not on his game. It’s getting late and he hasn’t sold a paper for an hour. “I bet that bitch told the police,” he says. He is speaking to me but looking at her. I try not to look at her. I look instead at the ground. In my mind, however, I can’t look away. He pauses. A woman... Read more

Make a Place for Yourself in the Darkness

It is dark. Rain falls soft and visible from beneath the streetlights. Heard faintly in the cacophony of the night is a homeless man yelling something into the air. Something indeterminate. Unsettling. Avoidingly, nervously, people walk past. Through the glass windows of a Mexican restaurant, I am waiting for him to arrive. He comes in, late, carrying the... Read more