chalicebh.jpg

I am full of life.

“Life is full of disappointments. Yes, and I am full of life,” the words to a John Gorka song, is what comes most readily to mind this week. I had to let go a house full of furniture for people because Uncle John’s truck broke down and I don’t have enough of a network of friends and supporters to call upon to get a replacement . We don’t have enough money to pay the bills, much less to rent a truck. I had hoped for The King’s Jubilee to be and to do so much more. And I had hoped to find the church of the New Testament. Somehow I thought these two goals would coalesce. Instead I find I cannot attend the Orthodox church that I moved closer to. The priest there will not talk to me. He lies, saying the bishop has ordered him not to, yet on the occasions when I do dare to go, he approaches me with saccharin sweetness as if nothing were wrong. This is a big show to discredit me in front of parishioners, after lying to me and about me and never confessing or repenting for one single offense. He is given his pulpit and I am told to shut up. He keeps oppressing the poor in the congregation and bullying any who disagree with him and the bishop stands with him, bullying us, too, by ignoring any cries for redress.

So, I guess Fr. Noah & Bishop Thomas may get what they apparently desire. I may have to shut down The King’s Jubilee. Who am I kidding? We have no church base. We have about $300/ month in pledges. It costs about $200 each week, plus we have to live. We have no income now. No one seems to care about this. There is no mutual care at the church. Someone asked me, when did Fr. Noah change his tune toward TKJ? And I looked back through correspondence. It was when I became sick and the business started to fail and we could not give as much to the church; when we became needy. This is his pattern. The money people generally don’t have serious problems with him. Of course, I’ve been told by numerous priests that he knows how to play it, because our bishops won’t make any changes until they are hit in the pocketbook. It’s all about money. I guess it is all about money. For lack of money, we will have to close or severely curtail the ministry.

Perhaps we haven’t found the true church, after all. Jesus said, “You will know a tree by its fruit.” I certainly haven’t seen a whole lot of good fruit in the Orthodox Church here in America: in-fighting, the priests who do serve the poor get grief from their parishes, three sociopathic priests in our area, spending more on entertainment than on mission, letting their own members become homeless faster than rescuing anonymous homeless. An older priest told me this week that “just such churches have produced many Saints.” I asked him how many atheists did they produce along the way as well. Persecution produces many Saints. Does that mean it is OK for the church to persecute, and the bishops should just sit back and do nothing? I was rebuked and unfriended by several priests for just posting James 5 without comment on-line. I was called a communist by Antiochian & OCA priests for James 5:1-9. God help us! No bishop corrects them. The lay people continue to be bullied. Ministries continue to be undermined.

I haven’t seen a whole lot of good fruit in the former USSR. Ukraine and Russia are at war with each other! Orthodox brethren! Georgia is killing and beating homosexuals & lesbians in Jesus’ Name?! Numerous border wars in the Balkans and Orthodox killing Muslims. Serbs and Romanians killing atheists. The beat goes on. Where is grace? Where is love? Where is faith? Where is God?

Jesus never said that we would recognize his disciples, and thus his church, by their genealogies and creed. He did say that we would recognize them by their love for one another (John13). Wealthy people standing next to people who are becoming homeless, without even considering altering their lifestyle to help, or not even caring enough to know their situation, is not love. This is the situation in most Orthodox churches I have seen, where the emphasis is on the service , the service, the service. Are we using the service to do what the service is for, to “prepare his people for works of service?” Orthodox theology says we go to heaven together and go to hell alone, but we all leave church alone. Churches hold so many services that there is no time left for people to visit in each other’s homes. The church is divided by class.

I have more than once been told, with a straight face, by priests, that their parishes could not afford to prevent their own people from becoming homeless. That would “overburden” them. I have been in some of their parishioner’s homes, or I should say palaces! Not an icon in sight, but repapered for the holiday season! James 5, communist indeed! People not obeying James 5 is what led to Bolshevism. “If the salt loses its flavor, wherewith shall it be salted?” Our parish let several families fall through the cracks, without an appeal, without anyone noticing, yet if someone passes out in a service, there are three to five doctors huddled around to determine whose specialty applies. They are not hard hearted people. They have lacked pastoral leadership and knowledge on this. We were on the verge of losing our homes, yet it was Uncle John & I who rescued a parishioner who was about to become homeless, after Fr. Noah and the parish council told him he had to quit selling his things in the parish hall. It was during Lent. It was the only way he had to raise gas money to get to and from church. I wasn’t there much. I happened to be there that Sunday & he pulled me aside.

He received no visits from the priest and no invitations for the holidays from anyone from church until I called the church (that I was not going to) and suggested it might be a good idea. Why did I expect them to care? My friend still did not have any money. What good was he to the church?

I don’t know if this church will produce any Saints, but I do know several atheists it has already produced out of cradle Orthodox under this priest.

So, once again, I am at a crossroads. Once again, I find myself at risk of losing many friends. I don’t feel at risk of losing much support, because there is not much to lose. I don’t know at this moment if I will have enough gas to get to and from the city tomorrow night. I get a lot of Attaboys & Aren’t you specials, but they don’t keep the car running or buy meat for the soups or veggies for the vegetarian dishes or help any of the guys with their rent when they’re a few bucks shy.

Sorry. I looked for the church for 30 years and thought I had found it. Now I find no accountability. The Orthodox parish is just like an independent Baptist church with a tin horn dictator pastor, because the bishop doesn’t feel like doing his job. I am expendable. The homeless are expendable. The Antiochian Church has basically told us to go to hell. Somehow, I think our ragtag bunch may be on our way in the Kingdom together, because I am very much in hell alone when at church. To people who have not suffered psychopathic abuse from clergy this sounds like blasphemy, but to the millions of us who have, it has the solid ring of freedom.

Once again, I am in dire need of doing some real making nice and solid fund raising, because we may not last another week. Do you people not understand? I haven’t been doing this kind of front lines ministry for nearly 30 years because I am a hireling who is just going to dance to your flute while you lie to my face and play church for a paycheck. We are not talking about fancy paintings and golden chalices. Lives are on the line, living icons of Christ! And you don’t care. You keep playing church under your gold plated dome.

Fr. Noah was told by Bishop Thomas to keep supporting The King’s Jubilee. He has done his best to remove all support from St. Philip’s for The King’s Jubilee. The church only supports local agencies (I will not call them ministries, because some of them treat the poor horribly.) where they can get credit locally, i.e., “Sound the trumpet as the Pharisees do.” He told me (through my daughter) that the bishop told him he was not allowed to speak to me. The bishop never informed me or Fr. Boniface of this bizarre instruction. (Fr. Boniface is supposed to be overseeing our reconciliation.) Yet when I go to St. Philip’s when he is there, say for a Baptism or Christmas, Noah makes a big , public show of greeting me. That is when I fail to see him on time so I don’t run. I ended up with a migraine with stroke like symptoms for three days over Christmas that started immediately when he touched my arm. Now he is either lying about what the bishop said, or he is disobeying the bishop when he is talking to me at church. He can’t have it both ways. In August, my wife wrote him an angry letter. For over a month he did not answer her or speak a word to her,  her priest! He sent Fr. Boniface to repeat his lying excuses after more than a month! And, of course, it was all my wife’s misunderstanding. Sure thing. That’s why Noah hasn’t looked her in the eye for a month.

So yes I am angry. And No I don’t like the idea of any of my family going to St. Philip’s, a place I used to love. It is ruled by a lying psychopath with no oversight from the bishop. He abuses the altar boys including his own sons. He abuses the subdeacons and deacon. He makes capricious changes in the middle of the services. He once stepped out of the altar at the height of the Liturgy to tell me that I was distracting him in the back of the choir, because I had my hands in my pockets! I told him he should get hold of himself and work on his concentration. He had to work to see me all the way back there around the iconostas and all; freaked me out.

I’ll catch hell for posting this. But, the bishop doesn’t check in. If I am to believe Fr. Noah, Bishop Thomas gave him an awful stupid order, to tell a priest to not talk to a parishioner, but just send nasty messages through his relatives and other priests? I don’t think Bishop Thomas is the sharpest tool in the shed, but I don’t think he’s that stupid. I think Noah is lying like he usually does. No one listens to me. Hardly anyone is giving to The King’s Jubilee. We used to get a good bit of support from St. Philip’s. Those people are mad at me for my attitude. They are still giving to support this psychopath, but they withdraw support to help the poor and homeless, because Noah abuses and lies about me! That makes perfect sense in a Republican sort of way. I have CPTSD because of his abuse and others like him, for which I am undergoing treatment. There is no known cure for psychopathy. A less harmful career path, which I have suggested to him would be real estate sales.

Somehow you think your withdrawal of support will bring me around to your way of thinking? If you punish the poor long enough on my account, I will see that you were right all along? Go ahead. Have your food fest. Use the public to pay for your temple! Soon you will have to raise more to pay taxes on it, too, as the public finally wakes up and remembers why the exemption was given and realizes churches don’t meet that qualification anymore. It had nothing to do with separation of church and state. It was the idea that churches provided services to the poor and needy that otherwise the state would have to provide, so a tax exemption was cheaper than providing those services. That is no longer true, by a long shot!

If I haven’t scared you off, you are definitely our kind of people. We have gone through changes before and the one constant has been our service among the poor and homeless. Please give. We don’t hold on to money and no one is getting rich. If there is ever any “extra”, it goes to fill someone else’s lack.



orwell2

Where did all the money go?

Somebody asked me for money last week. I told him I had none. He asked me, “Where did all that money you raised go to?” I said, “We gave it away. That’s what we do.”

That is the short answer, of course. This ministry has expenses. We have to keep the TKJ-mobile in good repair, gassed up and insured. We have to keep paying the phone bill and for webhosting and internet access, for our mortgage and utilities, so we still have a kitchen to cook in. We are not housed by or sponsored by any one church. Under Fr. Noah’s leadership, St. Philip’s has disowned us, even while sending people our way for us to help. I still have not received SSDI. Bethann’s Unemployment has run out. She still has one more quarter of school. So the money that was raised helped to one degree or another to keep 20 people from becoming homeless, plus helped an additional 15 transition off of the street, and helped provide two meals/week and other help to about 250 other poor and homeless people for the last eight months. That is not a bad return on about $45,000. But that’s not the whole picture. About half of that money will be coming back to the ministry once I get my SSDI, as it will pay off the portion that is a loan to us to cover until that comes through. So consider that as a return on $22,500. I’d challenge you to say you did better with your money anywhere else. To survive until that happens, we need more support.

There is nothing in the bank. We are late on the phone and internet bill. Soon we will be late on the mortgage. The TKJ-mobile is more than 10 years old. We need to think about a replacement before it gets costly to maintain or less than optimally safe.

It puzzles me. People are always praising me and patting me on the back for what I do. Don’t they realize I can’t do anything without their support? Some of the same people get upset when I speak of quitting, saying that I should cheer up and “God will provide.” Yet they do not make regular donations. A lot of churches like what I do and like to have their children get involved once or twice a year. Don’t get me wrong, we are grateful, but think this through. How do they think we can stay in business to receive their power packs, or socks, or cookies, with no support? It is sort of how the faith of the Christmas and Easter Christians must be very strong, for them to trust the church to still be there for them after staying away so long. One day their parish may not be. If everyone were to do that, it certainly wouldn’t be.

We have been at this for over 25 years. We have been harassed by the last three mayors. We had to sue this one in federal court (with no Orthodox clergy standing with us. That hurt.) to continue this ministry. When one reads the words of Christ, one never comes away with a sense that his priority was on building a big stultifying organization for everyone to support and the poor were to be an afterthought. No. It is quite the contrary. Everything is about being poor and serving the poor. The only picture He gives us of the Last Judgment mentions nothing of dogma, personal sin, morality, tradition, or church. It only mentions how we treat the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the widows & orphans, “the least of these my brethren.”

Yet, somehow, I have spent nearly 30 years serving the imprisoned and the homeless, and I have found myself repeatedly chased out of churches by pastors and priests. This has not just happened to me. This is a common experience among most of the people I know who serve in these ministries. Complex PTSD from clergy abuse is a common malady among us. In all of the churches we have gone to, I have known only three, rare pastors who were not so threatened by my calling that they could deal with me honestly and openly.

Here, I’ve done it again. I set out to write a wonderful, fundraising article, because we are down to our last dime. This is what comes out. I suffer chronic spine pain as a result of an infection most likely picked up on the street. This pain set off my chronic, complex migraines that caused strokes due to a strange developmental defect in the right side of my brain. I have CPTSD from non-sexual, clergy abuse (bullying).

Cooking interesting, nutritious meals for the folks on the street and watching them enjoy them makes me happy. Working with people who also enjoy serving the poor and homeless, also  makes me happy. Advocating for and with the poor energizes me. It is what I was made for. We do what we do with no government or corporate money. We serve in Jesus’ Name. Come join us. Support us. We don’t hold onto money to build a large organization. We give it away and we use it to serve the poor and homeless in our midst, in Jesus’ Name on your behalf. Yes. I may be a cranky, achy, old curmudgeon around suburban, white folks. It seems most of them/you are uncomfortable around me. So support me so I can stay away and be happy, where I can do some good with your money in Jesus’ Name. God bless you.



waronmike

There are no gaps to bridge.

Race and ethnic conflict is the hot topic from Ferguson, MO, to Gaza, Palestine. A common question is: How can we bridge the gaps to find common ground? That question has always puzzled me. I was never quite sure why. I grew up in lily white suburbs, in an upper middle class household, yet I find myself and my family joyfully accepted in the Black and Hispanic and Haitian communities. We have broken bread in basement churches and attended festive weddings. Race or ethnicity has never been a barrier.

So I got to thinking. Am I weird? Are my friends weird? I know our family has been blessed to have experienced such diversity; but what makes Sunday morning the most segregated time of the week for most people, but not so much for us?

I know I was raised being taught that “there is only one race, the human race!” Our parents entertained a lot. When they did, they invited people from all classes and all races to the same parties. We had Gov. Levander, all the sitting judges in the state, along with some waitresses, hairdressers, and folks on disability, and everyone in between, to one party. I got to experience the other lesson that my dad drilled into us: “Everybody is just the same. When they get up in the morning they put on their pants one leg at a time.” With this lesson, I was taught to fear no one, to worship no one, to put no one down. With all the different kinds of people getting drunk and letting their guard down in our house, I got to see this up front and personal. I witnessed powerful politicians and judges crying in vulnerability as I drove them home. I saw acts of class and grace from the poorest there. I was just a fly on the wall clearing dishes, emptying ashtrays, jockeying cars, taking keys, etc., learning life lessons.

My parents told us quite different stories from their childhoods growing up in the Depression. My dad told of his mom helping support at least three other families at any given time while the family skimped by. His dad had a good car repair business. My mom told us of having live-in maids and the lessons she learned from them. My mom would take in runaways, always on the condition that they had to call their moms and let them know they were OK. Invariably, it led to her returning them home the next day. Regardless, this was unusual for an upper middle class household in the lily white suburbs; the home of state GOP committee persons.

So I have this background. Then I studied the Scripture. Our story starts out with Adam and Eve. It doesn’t start out with Adam & Eve, Max & Olga, Sammy & Elmira, Omar & Ayisha, Chin & Xiang. We are one family! We are all brothers and sisters! So, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew (those are the religions who use this story), all mankind are one family! There are no gaps to bridge. When I see a man or woman, I see a long lost cousin. We have an icon of Adam in my house to remind us of our common, great, great, great, great … great, grandfather!

My atheist dad didn’t need the story of Adam and Eve to tell him we were one family. He knew we were one common humanity and that there is a law of justice or balance built into the universe, that whatever one does, good or ill, it has repercussions. He hoped to leave more good than bad echoes behind.

The first time I walked into a prison, I did not notice the iron gate clanging shut behind me. Many people have asked me that and have told me about how that gave them the willies the first time they visited a prison. No. I remember clearly. I was just struck with how terribly we were treating these, our brothers, supposedly presumed innocent. This was supposed to be a jail, actually. I had to walk through a two tiered block of cells with open walls, just bars. I could see every sink and toilet and bunk. The single TV was blaring Gilligan’s Island at the end of the block overhead. I walked the length of it on the steel floor to the activity room to have the Bible study. My eyes were wet with tears. That was me in those cells and it was humiliating. There are no gaps to bridge.

A couple weeks later, I started a Bible study in the Philadelphia House of Corrections. I was a Mennonite at the time. I had a beard and no mustache, dark curly hair, and round wire rim glasses; so did Freeman Miller, one of the other Mennonite volunteers in the House of Corrections. Occasionally some of the men would get us confused. I would just say, “That’s OK. All us white boys look alike.” It was almost always an all Black room. Uproarious laughter would follow. Over the years, it has gotten to the point that I have become the world’s worst eyewitness. I spend so much time among the homeless and the poor, I will be talking about someone and someone will ask me to describe what they look like and I will. They want to know what race they are and I draw a complete blank. It never even registers. I tell them, “I’ll have to take note the next time I see him.” They just look at me like I have three heads. We are all of the human race like my parents taught me and the Bible teaches me. There are no gaps to bridge.

OK. I’ve talked about race, but what about gender and gender preference? In Genesis 1:27, it says: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” St. Paul says that Jesus made them equal “neither male nor female” in Galatians 3. When I was in grade school, I was severely pigeon toed. I also had zero depth perception. I had to wear corrective wing-tips with custom heels or go barefoot. I couldn’t field or hit in baseball to save my soul. I was extremely bright academically. The bullies called me “Pidge”, then “fem” and “queer” and “faggot” by 4th grade. There was a group of about six of us who were routinely bullied. I was the biggest one, so I kind of protected the others. I got beat up regularly. I’m straight. I was rather precocious about it even. I started dating at 11. (Everyone thought I was 13 or 14.) But I know what it’s like to be treated like a queer. The Mennonite Church even defrocked me for being gay, over false accusations. They never met with me. They never even notified me of their action. It was because under my leadership, ours were the only Bible studies or services in the Phila. prisons that allowed the openly gay and transvestite inmates to attend. Plus I had spoken out in favor of the distribution of condoms in the prison. Is the gospel for all or not? Does God love all or just some? Am I to regard myself as chief of sinners except those homosexuals; they are far worse than me! I can’t find that verse. It was against the rules to have sex in prison. Yes. We all know that. We also know it happens. AIDS had just hit the prison populations in a big way. Are we going to preserve life? I told the rest of the chaplains and the wardens, if there were a safe way to do a needle exchange, I would like to see the institution do that, too! I can’t minister to dead people. “God takes no delight in the death of a sinner.” A Christian’s first job is to preserve life. I lost my chaplaincy for it. So, I was defrocked for being thought to be homosexual, while being married with four daughters. I do wear bright colors! I cook, sew and do art. “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” (Romans 12:16a) So I hang out with gays. I grew up hanging out with lawyers. People are people. We each have our own battles to fight, our own struggles to deal with. The two most profound statements in the Gospels are: “Judge not.” and “Jesus wept.” I believe they are connected.

There are no gaps to bridge.

So why is there so much hate? It is learned. There are evil forces that would like to see mankind divided, and the poor and middle classes battling among themselves, instead of cooperating for the common good. So jealousy and lies and false stereotypes and racism all get injected into the mix and ginned up.

We need to all take a deep breath. Take a step back. Take a fresh look to see our own human aspirations, hopes and fears, in our cousins’ eyes. They may be a different shape eye or be in a different colored face, but if you look close, you will see Grandpa Adam or Oma Eve staring back.

There are no gaps to bridge.



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Earth Bread + Brewery

The Philadelphia Inquirer has done a series of articles on us. The ripples keep on going out. Earlier this month I received a letter from Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Coulter,

My husband, Tom Baker and I, own a restaurant called “Earth” in Mt. Airy. We read in the Inquirer about the tireless work you have been doing – feeding the homeless. Hopefully, you and your wife are in good health and living in your home with less financial worry since the article was published.

We have enclosed a donation of $225, which we raised throughout the month of July. We feature a different cocktail each month and donate $2 from the sale of each one to a different non-profit each month.

We appreciate what you do and hope that it inspires others to do the same.

Sincerely,

Peggy Zwerver

Thank you so much! May God bless you!

earthIf any of our readers go there to eat, remember to bring a couple of canned goods or a donation that they will pass on to a local food bank.



HolyTrinity3

My First One Man Show!

Saturday, Anthony & I went to Teich & McColgan to pick up some rockcap ferns for around my back porch post. We still had a couple of my large, custom framed art pieces and my framed proofs in the car from the errands just prior to going there. We had gone to an art consignment shop and a coffee shop (which had just closed) looking for places to try to sell pieces of my Lily Gilding collection. We pulled into the long drive at Teich’s at 4:30 to discover that they also closed at 4. Robyn & Roland & Paul were still there cleaning up from the end of the day. I got the large “Tribal Dance” with the unique frame I had designed & stained out of the car and pointed it toward them. Immediately Roland’s eyes lit up! We drew closer. Anthony got out more prints. Roland & Robyn asked me where I was selling them. I said I was just starting. They started brainstorming and making suggestions. Then Roland asked if I could leave them there. Then they came up with the idea of having me have a show there on their last weekend of the season, which is their biggest weekend of the year. They are setting up a tent and a table for me, and sending out emails to all their customers.

TMThis is a great place! It is one of my favorite places on earth. It is a peaceful place. When I was having my summer of migraines and strokes, sometimes I would just have someone bring me there just to walk around or sit and be at peace. The Teich’s didn’t mind. Again, when we were going through the battle with Mayor Nutter and the city, it was a good place to go to meditate and pray.  It’s not just the hundreds of kinds of daylilies and hostas, etc. This garden is in the yard of a home of a peaceful and happy family.

I am so excited to have this show. It is so appropriate to have it there, since most of our daylilies came from there. One of the daylilies featured in my art was even bred there by  Roland Teich.

The show will take place on August 2 and 3 from 10am to 4pm both days at 903 Upper Stump Road, Chalfont, PA 18914. Bring your checkbook or know your Paypal, since we do not have credit card processing. Framed prints and custom framed, extremely limited edition canvas prints, will be available for suggested minimum donations form $100 thru $1,000 to benefit the ongoing work of The King’s Jubilee. All works will be signed and numbered by me.

Come join us! It will be a good time. There’s even a turtle pond for the little ones to enjoy.



plums

Ginger-Plum Chicken Breast

Last night I made vegetarian split-pea soup with avocados in it, for the fat. So when I when to Giant to see what to make for a casserole, I was thinking I should make something with meat. I found good quality, skinless, boneless, chicken breasts for $1.99/pound. I picked up two trays for a total of just under nine pounds. Then I looked around for what would go with them. I will just write the recipe. It turned out fantastic!

Ingredients:

  • ~9 pounds skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
  • 8 to 10 red plums, (~ 2 pounds)
  • 2-1/4 cups black rice
  • 3 cups quinoa
  • avocado oil
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ~ 6 teaspoons & 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • medium grind black pepper
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Put the quinoa, black rice, a Tablespoon of ginger and some oil in the rice cooker with a little extra water for brown rice and start. When done, dump into turkey roasting pan. Cut the plums in half and pit. Throw them in the blender with a Tablespoon of cinnamon and puree. Add it to the roasting pan. While this is going on, you can be browning batches of chicken breasts. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. In the largest skillet you own (preferably cast iron) heat up avocado oil and sprinkle a teaspoon of ginger and grate black pepper into it. Add a couple of breasts worth of meat and cook it long enough to sear it, not so long that it is toasted. Add it to the roasting pan and mix in. Keep doing this until all the meat is seasoned. Add the lemon juice and water. Cover and bake of an hour at 350º. After that hour, turn the oven down to 200 to hold until you are ready to go down to the street or your event.

Black rice has more flavanoids per ounce than blueberries and actually helps lower blood sugar. Quinoa is a super food because it is a slow carb and includes protein. Plums have important vitamins and fiber. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory. I use fresh ground, Chinese Cinnamon, which helps control blood sugar. I use fresh ground, black pepper which is a natural germ fighter and anti-oxidant. These are all important considerations for people who live outdoors in the harsh urban environment.



matthew-25-give-hungry

We are not a Matthew 25 Ministry

I have seen several ministries that label themselves “a Matthew 25 ministry.” This irritates me as it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel and a misreading of Matthew 25. Matthew 25 is where Jesus speaks of the final judgment where he separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep are those who have visited Him when he  was sick or in prison or fed him when he was hungry or clothed him when he was naked and the goats are those who did not do these things. Everyone asks “when did we do this” or “not do this”. He responds “when you did … or did not, do it unto the least of these my brothers.” Everybody is surprised. This indicates that this is not something one can plan ahead to do.

We cannot pay for our salvation. “All of our works of righteousness are as filthy rags.” I do not serve the homeless to earn heaven. That’s preposterous, and on some level it is insulting to the people I serve. The best answer I can give any more as to why I serve is that it makes me happy. I have said for years that I do this because I am selfishly doing what makes me happy and I mean it. God created us to do good works. Ephesians 2:10. Everyone in the evangelical camp likes to quote 2:8-9, but they forget verse 10 which is the conclusion.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

So I’m just trying to walk in the good works that God prepared for me to do. It’s what I was made for. It’s the happiest place I could possibly be.

I serve them. Hopefully, I help equip others to serve. Many of them serve me in encouragement, friendship and prayer. We learn in some small way to be God’s family, perhaps.

We work. We pray. We laugh. We cry. We struggle. We hope.

In the end, perhaps we may be surprised by grace.

Thank you for your prayers and your support. God bless you.



plantain

Guava Rice & Plantain Spice

This is a simple and delicious recipe that the people really loved. It is sweet with no added sugar. It looks elegant and smells wonderful! People keep asking me, “Where do you come up with these things!” All I can say is that I have scripts for four different psychoactive drugs, so it’s anybody’s guess. Here we go!

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres guava nectar
  • water
  • 2- 2lb. packages long grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 13 ripe, yellow plantains, peeled and sliced thin like a banana

Directions:

In my rice cooker, one bag of rice is equal to seven measures of rice, which is the maximum. Put that in with 1 litre of guava nectar and the cinnamon & cloves, and fill up to proper level for amount of rice and cook. Then empty it into a large roaster pan and add half the sliced plantains and stir together. prepare the second bag of rice the same way. Mix the two batches of rice together thoroughly. Save out enough plantain to cover the top with one complete layer.  Then cover and bake at 200º for a few hours, until you are ready to go to your event or leave for the park.

Enjoy!



Quinoa2

Hot, Sweet Something

I’m going crazy in the kitchen again. I just heard the voice of one of my daughters (or was that all of them?) in my head, saying “make that still.” At any rate, we have had such large crowds lately, that I thought I should make another dish. I had quinoa, but not enough time to go to Produce Junction. Inspiration combined with great sales on the “Ethnic Foods” aisle at Giant when I went to buy the iced tea. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups organic quinoa
  • 2 litres mango nectar
  • 1 quart water
  • avocado oil
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 cans (40 ounce) yams in syrup

Directions:

In a turkey roasting pan, over two burners, heat a generous amount of avocado oil and toast the six cups of quinoa. Be careful not to burn it.  Have the Mango nectar and the water ready. Add the Mango nectar and the quart of water before the quinoa burns. Stir frequently. Bring the pot to a boil and stir frequently while it simmers for 5 or 6 minutes. This is when you add the ginger, allspice, and cinnamon. Then mix in the vanilla and cover. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Open the cans of yams. Using a sturdy wisk, mash the yams in the cans thoroughly, then spread them over the quinoa in the roaster pan and wisk them into the mixture. Place the roaster in the oven and bake at 200º until you are ready to leave for your event or to serve to the folks in the street.

It is tasty and sweet and nutritious, with protein and fibre and flavonoids and healthy spices.



kilimanjaro

Family Climbing Kilimanjaro for TKJ

Back in January, when we were featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer about out fundraiser to stop our foreclosure on our house, Sue and Jim Reichwein contacted me with this idea. They wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for grocery money for The King’s Jubilee. I don’t know how all of this works, but they have a goal to get to the top of the tallest peak in Africa and down safely and at the same time raise at least $5,000 for The King’s Jubilee in store credit at a local grocery store. They left on Wednesday. On Thursday, they were in Qatar, they should be climbing now. Please pray for their safety.

Here is the email they sent out:

Hello everyone,
Jim and I want to fill you in on a challenge that we are excited to take on.  In an effort to honor and commemorate my father, Charlie Graham, who passed away in October, Jim and I are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa.  We leave for our trip on Wednesday and will return on June 2nd.  We’ve been training for this endeavor and are excited to take on this rigorous seven-day climb with high expectations and spiritual reverence.
A more tangible way in which we would like to honor Charlie is by raising money for a gentleman that we have met named Cranford Coulter – a kind soul who lives his life in service to others.  Jim and I have sat with Cranford.  He is the “real deal”, living his life to serve others, even though he has so little.  His actions are inspiring and what we all hope to emulate in our own personal actions every day.  For the past several years, Cranford has shopped and purchased food at local supermarkets, prepared homemade meals and traveled to Center City to feed homeless folks every week.  He’s been featured in several newspaper articles for his selfless acts of kindness and generosity.  [His picture and urls to an article are attached below if you would like additional details.]
 Unfortunately, Cranford’s health issues no longer allow him to maintain gainful employment, and, as a result, he alone cannot afford to purchase the groceries he needs to continue cooking for the homeless.  It is our objective to raise money through our climb and use the proceeds to set up Cranford with an account at his local supermarket.  We want to support him so that he can continue to serve those that are in need of a hot meal without the additional burden of finding funds to purchase food.  Cranford reminds us of Charlie, and we want to honor Charlie through this fund-raising effort.  PastedGraphic-3
Our goal is to raise $5,000 in funds to purchase grocery gift cards where Cranford shops for food in his home town of Souderton.  If you would like to contribute, you can visit the “Woody’s Circle of Care” website at http://www.woodyscircleofcare.org.  The website is set up to accept donations using a credit card.  If you would rather send a check, please make it out to “Woody’s Circle of Care” and mail it to our home address c/o: Jim and Sue Reichwein, 6 Flint Circle, Doylestown PA 18901.
Jim and I are excited to take on this challenge to both honor the memory of my father, Charlie, and to support Cranford’s efforts to help those less fortunate than ourselves.  Thank you in advance for your support and generosity in supporting our cause.
 Love,
Suzi and Jimbo (and the Reichwein crew – Cal, Jake, Casey and Jada)

Of course, if you are reading this here, you may skip the middle man, and donate directly by using the friendly yellow Donate button. You may even use that to set up a monthly automatic pledge.




serving the homeless, promoting justice, in Jesus' Name

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