Sentiments & Actions

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Last week, I posted the above image as our header on our Facebook page and it took off like wildfire. It has been shared over 40 times and viewed over 4,000 times according to Facebook stats. The number is probably much higher. Our link to donate is connected to it, both in print and as a live link. Several people have expressed their admiration for St. Maria in comments. No one has given alms to the poor through The King’s Jubilee in response. This has led me to do some more thinking about Orthodox veneration of saints. We really do like our saints, but we like them dead.

I dare say that most of the people who shared and commented on the image would probably also favor the zoning that would prohibit her from running her house of charity next door to them. She certainly exceeded most health departments’ legal occupancy limits. She lived in the cellar to make room for more. That was not an approved living space! What would that do to property values? She was a demanding woman, as well. She placed higher demands on her disciples than Jesus placed on his. Jesus only asked that if you had two coats, you should give up one. She said that you should give up your only coat to the suffering. Living saints can be insufferable. No wonder she was divorced twice!

She had what it took for the times she was facing. Our saints are human. They are not sinless. But God uses them and and shapes them in spite of and because of their flaws into just the right tools for the jobs at hand. She could smile peacefully at Nazi guards while she smuggled children out of the arena in trash cans. They were just “doing their jobs.” She was just doing hers.

The quote, “Each person is the very icon of God incarnate in the world. The way to God lies through the love of people.” This is not so hard to apply to the children in the trash cans. It is hard to apply to the Nazi guards. For years, I have had a similar saying, or rather, prayer: “Lord, with each person I meet today, let me see what it is about them that You love.” It is a terrible prayer. It breaks one’s heart when the answers come.

I believe I put the wrong image on the banner above. I once saw Gary Heidnik. I actually felt his presence, before I saw him. I was in Philadelphia City Hall waiting by the holding pen for an inmate to be released for me to take to his aftercare program, back when I was Mennonite Chaplain for Philadelphia Prisons. My back was turned, but I felt a darkness of evil. I turned around to see Gary Heidnik, the serial killer, shuffling in shackles, being escorted by two guards from the courtroom into the holding area. The hair on my neck stood on end. And all I thought was, “God is gracious. He is still giving him breath. What is there possibly left that God loves and hopes to redeem? Yet here he was, the living, breathing evidence that God ‘is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.'” I learned then, that even Gary Heidnik was the very icon of God in the world.

Jesus called us to serve “the least of these … .” Sometimes they are downright unlovely. I can be unlovely as well. “Jesus Christ came to save sinners of whom I am chief.” People are messy. God loves us anyway, every single one of us. There are no throwaway people. We serve hundreds of people every week who many have been thrown away. Right now, it feels as though we have been thrown away. We have no paying jobs, despite looking and looking. The house is being foreclosed on. I just put one foot in front of the other to serve the poor. I have worked for 25 years without pay to keep this ministry going. If all of the people who say they like this ministry would give just $10/month, we would be able to cure the foreclosure, be fulltime in ministry, and expand our services among the poor and homeless. If everyone gave just $20/month, we would be able to get a facility, organize more volunteers, and be working a plan to end homelessness in center city Philadelphia. So, don’t just kiss the icons, like the links, and share the photos. Sentiments don’t feed the hungry or keep anyone warm on a cold winter night. We need action. We need money to pay the bills so we have a kitchen in which to cook the food and a car to deliver it. We will see over 250 homeless and poor people on Thursday. We will give each of them two meals. We will try to give blankets to those who ask for them. We will try to give those who ask for it bus fare to get to jobs. We will give a few of them rides home. We do this on your behalf and in Jesus’ Name. How many will you see, so that you can give them your alms personally? Let us deliver your alms for you. Use the Paypal button below to set up an automatic monthly donation. May God bless you as you put sentiment into action.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

April and I  just finished cooking for tonight for the street. April made a huge roaster pan full of Satayamma’s Famous Cauliflower Curry from the Moosewood Cookbook, only omitting the peanuts from the recipe to avoid possible allergy problems. We both worked on the turkey, lentil, potato soup with assorted greens and carrots. By editorial privilege, I am taking credit for the Fried Green Tomatoes. Vincent dropped the tomatoes by on his way to work this morning. They were the last of the yield of their small patch. They were never going to ripen at this point, so I’ve never cooked them or eaten them. That’s never stopped me before! Sure I can use them. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • About a peck of Green Tomatoes, washed, chopped to ~1/2″
  • 1 bag Navy beans
  • 1 bag split peas
  • 1 head of Garlic, pressed
  • 3 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 6 Frying Peppers, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Turmeric
  • a handful of Greek Oregano
  • 30 twists medium grind fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups Quinoa
  • Olive Oil
  • 1-40 oz. can Great Northern Beans rinsed
  • 2-40.5 oz. cans Dark Red Kidney Beans rinsed
  • 1-15.5 oz. can Black Beans rinsed

Directions:

We had some dried beans to use up and some canned. That’s why beans are listed twice in the recipe. It is better with dried beans, so that they can be boiled with the Turmeric in the water to soak up some of the flavor. Soak the the beans. Saute’ the Tomatoes in Olive Oil. With each skilletful, blend in some Onions, Frying Peppers and some Garlic. Saute’ until tender. Then place them in the large roasting pan, and do the next batch, until all of them are done. Boil the beans with the Turmeric in the water. Use extra water to be able to add the Quinoa. Toast the Quinoa in the skillet in some Olive Oil to bring out the nutty flavor. They should just bounce a little and smell toasty. Don’t burn them. Add them to the beans and boil for at least 15 minutes and until the beans are tender. Add this mixture to the roasting pan along with the other beans and the remaining spices: Paprika, Cumin, Oregano & Black Pepper. Stir it all thoroughly together. Cover it with the lid or with aluminum foil. Place it in the oven at 200° for a few hours.

It is sweet!

Saint Maria of Paris

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“Each person is the very icon of God incarnate in the world. The way to God lies through love of people. At the Last Judgment I shall not be asked whether I was successful in my ascetic exercises, nor how many bows and prostrations I made. Instead I shall be asked: Did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and the prisoners?

That is all I shall be asked.”

– St. Maria of Paris

Mother Maria was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. On Holy Saturday, 1945, she took the place of a Jewish woman who was going to be sent to the Gas Chamber, and died in her place. It was her simple life of almsgiving that gave her the courage to do that. It was the next logical step. One does not step up to give one’s life if one has not been willing to give one’s stuff.

Monthly Donations are Easier Now

The King’s Jubilee is an independently incorporated religious charitable organization in the state of Pennsylvania. We rely on donations from individuals and various churches to support the work which we do. With the state of the economy, and the situation in the City of Philadelphia, that work has increased. We currently are serving over 200 people on Thursday evenings. We are actually providing them the equivalent of two meals each: a hot meal to consume then, and a bag lunch for the next day.

We also help people when they move off of the street. We supply them with a full complement of cleaning supplies. We also find furniture, dishes, bedding,etc., to help them set up household so they can make a go of it. We stay in contact with those that wish to, to help them acclimate to their new surroundings. It can be a big adjustment. We also help some with their rent from time to time. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

As I have been typing this, the sheriff came to my door and served me with our foreclosure papers. We may soon join the ranks of the homeless and this ministry will end. We have been living from crisis to crisis with my illnesses until my business was no longer viable. Trying to do the business and the ministry was just too much. Then infections and hospitalizations and 30 t0 50 little strokes. Bethann lost her job, etc. We have had to pay $1100/month to make sure we had insurance. What we needed was full time support from lots of monthly donors. What we need now is a rescue, then full time support from lots of monthly donors.

The Donate button has been upgraded by Paypal to accept automatic monthly donations. You may go back to the home page or to the bottom of this post. Click on the yellow Donate button and make a large one time rescue donation, please! Then come back to the page; click on it again and make a reasonable monthly donation.

Thank you. May God bless you as you bless the poor in Jesus’ Name.




Pink Geraniums

pinkgeraniumsI call this piece “Pink Geraniums”. It looks as if they were painted into the picture. This is an unretouched photo taken of Campion Roses next to our house. When I took the photo in 2007, I had no clue what most any flowers were called. I just called everything geraniums. I figured sooner or later I would be right. These were the hot pink, five petal geraniums with the pale green, fuzzy leaves and stems. The blooms are so hot that they look like special effects on the photograph. We didn’t plant these bright stars. They pop up every year in roughly the same places, and a few new ones. My approach to gardening is a pro-life one. I let things grow to see if they are interesting or beautiful, and try to make room. I think that is how we should treat people as well.

People are always interesting and beautiful, for they are created in the image of God. Each one is wondrous and unique, even when they pop up when and where we think they don’t belong.

This is available as a Giclee print. The image itself is 16″ x 13.83″. It will be matted in dark brown and framed in hand-crafted, native poplar, to complement the soft green hues of the stems, with low glare glass. Overall dimensions: 22″ x 20″

These will be signed and numbered. There will only be five. We are offering these for a suggested minimum donation of $650 to The King’s Jubilee.

We really need support right now. We are down to our last and on the verge of having to close down for good. I am working on selling limited edition art and finishing my books. The need is urgent. We serve over 200 people every week and are helping several transition off of the street. At the same time, we may be facing eviction ourselves, and that would mean a disruption to our ministry. Please pray and see what you can do.

May God bless you as you bless the poor and homeless in Jesus’ Name.



Chicken Khinkhali with Ginger Pumpkin Sauce

This is one of the dishes I made for tonight, in addition to the hearty turkey vegetable soup. April made what I named Mama April’s Broccoli Supreme! for the vegetarian entree’. We were given a whole bunch of these Georgian style, chicken dumplings, called “kinkhali”, frozen, in the package, as leftovers from an event at St. Philip Orthodox Church, Souderton, so this was the first thing that came to my mind. I know. My mind is a strange place to live.

Ingredients:

  • 8 – 1 lb. packages Almi chicken dumplings.
  • 2 – 29 ounce cans pumpkin
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • bunch of dandelion greens, chopped
  • head of radicchio, chopped
  • 4″ ginger root, peeled & grated
  • 2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • generous, four finger pinch of nutmeg
  • generous grinds of black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups of Silk coconut milk
  • ~ quart of turkey broth
  • olive oil

Directions:

Saute’ the leeks and ginger in the olive oil in the bottom of a large sauce pan, over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pumpkin and coconut milk. Stir in the remaining chopped ingredients. Stir in the nutmeg and black pepper. Add the turkey broth.

Open a couple packages of the dumplings at a time and spread them out in a large, turkey roasting pan. Ladle some of the sauce over them, then repeat the process, until all of the dumplings are in the pan. then pour the remaining sauce on top. Level it out. put it in the oven at 250° for one hour. Then reduce to 200° for remaining hours until you are ready to leave for the city.