Tag Archive: homelessness

Homelessness, the woman on my patio and the Woman at the Well

Sermon preached at First Christian Church of Palo Alto, August 10, 2014.

Text: John 4:5-15 (with references to later verses), the story of the Woman at the Well

Preamble to the sermon:

I am known in some circles for preaching a really up-on-your-feet, clap and shout amen kind of sermon. I think that was why I was invited to preach. So I want to apologize in advance. Three things have happened to me this week that placed a more reflective message on my heart:

  1. A friend of mine from FCC Redding told me this week that when she went on vacation to Savannah, Georgia, she noticed there were no homeless people downtown. When she asked about this, she found out they weren’t allowed in the tourist district. Unsheltered people used to get locked up in jail, but too many of them tried to get arrested so they would have a roof over their head and regular meals. So now they get rounded up and put in an open air pen, to create a greater disincentive to be visible or get arrested. (more…)

On colds and neighbors and unsheltered people in Oakland

I woke up with a hacking cough at about 3AM this morning. I focused solely on my own misery until I heard an accompanying cough through the wall; my neighbor in the next apartment in my fancy Jack London Square building must have the same cold. So we coughed away in solidarity until we both drifted to sleep around 5AM.

I remember about 4 years ago, on a much more typically cold and rainy January night that I had the same cold and work up with the same hacking cough. I was in the garden apartment underneath the church I pastored near Auto Row. That night, my hacking cough was also met by the cough of my neighbor. But that night, my neighbor was sleeping in the alley next to the church, right outside my window, barely sheltered from the rain.