Other People’s Children: vignettes of joy & tears from unlikely people

I just published the first in what will hopefully be a series of books with my paintings and stories of our friends from the street, along with a few ringers, to remind us to be welcoming to strangers.

This little book is an invitation to YOU to step into a new comfort zone with your sisters and brothers in this world. We are all frightened children trying to find the silk edge of the blanket at times. Let us be kind.

Order today to share the joy and beauty in quiet moments.

Pariah

"If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the chalice." - St. John Chrysostom

Sorry, I am removing any and all endorsements from the 12 Baskets group. They have told me they don’t want to be associated with me in any way shape or form, even though none of them would have gotten involved on the street had it not been for me introducing them to it and being there constantly. They say I have been cantankerous and argumentative. Of course, the person saying that to me has been extremely cantankerous and argumentative to me, and has not been on the street that much.

I have never said I am not cantankerous. I can be. I don’t know of a single person who has been at this as long as I have who isn’t at times. It is damned hard to live at below poverty standards and keep going while pastors continue to abuse you and bishops lie and abuse you and feel threatened in their lifestyle, because the pittance you want for the homeless may cut into the grandeur of their banquets and not be considered an irritant!

I am finally quitting, because I am bankrupt after 26-1/2 years serving on the street. Some of these people who are saying these nasty things, just two weeks ago were flattering me and saying how they couldn’t do this. Then, as soon as I was quitting, it was all about how they could do it easy, because of how rich they are. They despise me because of my poverty! This is exactly what makes them unsuited for this ministry!

We are about to lose our house. No one gives a shit!
I have extreme depression and CPTSD because of CLERGY ABUSE! No one gives a shit! (Perhaps this is why I am cantankerous?)
I gave up a lucrative career to serve the poor. My children and grandchildren are wonderful, happy children, largely as a result. Thousands of inmates and poor received some hope and joy and unconditional friendship. Hundreds received HS GEDs. Hundreds learned English as a second language. A couple received their Bachelor’s degree. One graduated as a nurse Cum Laude. One became a prison chaplain. Others got their families together, etc. That’s among the homeless and inmates. Then, among our volunteers; Several found their callings to be doctors and medical missionaries and counselors and priests and nurses or to serve the homeless in other cities, while they were serving with us, because I stuck by the stuff. No one gives a shit!

I went through the court case with no support from any of these people or the church, in tears for months, in order to continue serving in the parks. No one gives a shit!

I was trying to be magnanimous. I gave my cooking gear and supplies to 12 Baskets, even while I was hearing negative comments, then it went beyond the pale.

I am a throwaway. I am a difficult person. Never mind the sociopathic priests or the bishops who refuse to deal with them and just hang up on me. Never mind the pastor who threatened to kill me. He got to keep his salary. He was the right nationality. I can just go to hell. I can’t go to church without risking a stroke. But I am “playing the victim” to say this!

Yesterday, I brought a week’s rent down to a couple, only to find out today that Social Security lost our documentation for expediting back disability pay. This means, we are likely to lose our house. This is why I quit. I was just too tired of begging to people who didn’t give a damn. All they care about is their warped view of Matthew 25. Here is a news flash. If you are serving the homeless to get into heaven, it won’t work! You can’t buy your way into heaven. Everyone is surprised at the Judgment. That is the point of that story. Judge no one. Muslims or atheists may enter before you. No one can con God. If you are doing this to earn points with God, the people can smell that on you, and it stinks to high heaven of self-righteousness. You may as well stay home.

You need to serve the poor because it is the right thing to do and because you enjoy doing it. The McGraws understand this and are faithful, loving people, with more patience than me. I am really glad that 12 Baskets is taking up this work and pray that God will bless and strengthen their hands and hearts and provide them with every good thing to continue to provide for my friends for many years! I guess I am blessing them after all. God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise. If God could use me, He can certainly use them.

Saved by Beauty

Saved by BeautyPeople often quote Dostoyevsky from The Idiot about the world being saved by beauty. A biography of Dorothy Day of blessed memory is not coincidentally named Saved by Beauty. When I was a young idealist, I had no such concept. I was all pragmatics, numbers and economics. All the flowers were geraniums to me. Very slowly did I come to realize the poor man and rich man are no more and no less blessed by  the cherry blossoms in spring, or the sight of an eagle in flight, or the sounds and smells of a gurgling brook, or the sight of youths in the blush of first love. It is when we remember these common joys, we remember our common humanity. This is when we stop fearing each other; we can stop fearing that we will be left destitute if we share from our wealth. We become free to acknowledge all humankind as sisters and brothers.

This limited edition art piece in my Lily Gilding collection is a meditation on this truth. The inner circle has a blossom in motion at each compass point. The outer circle has a blossom in motion at each hour, or five minute mark, on the face of a clock. So, the meditation is with every step, with every moment, we are to consider beauty. Consider the common beauty around us and let it humanize you. Consider the beauty of the person in front of you. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field…” Then how each of us and everyone we meet is worth more that any of those beautiful lilies. God sees beauty in each and every human being. Ask God to show you what is beautiful in each person you deal with, especially the difficult people and any enemies. If even 7% or 8% of us would do this, we would be enough salt and light to save the world!

A maximum of ten of these will be sold, signed in custom, round frames. 27″ diameter. Call 267-497-0268 for pricing. Proceeds fund soup for the street, etc.

God bless you.



Blue Marvel

There has never yet been a totally deep blue daylily. Daylily breeders have been striving after this elusive goal for decades. It took me an afternoon to turn a photo of a red one in our garden into this beauty surrounded by peach and pink daylilies. These are to be printed on glass. This can be printed on tempered, insulated glass for use in a door.  It is 24″ diameter. I can make it as a hanging ornamental, or on insulated glass in a frame to be installed as a window. It can be made smaller. Call or email for pricing. Strictly limited edition.

rosewindowAll sales help us continue to serve the poor and homeless. Thank you!



Stained Glass

eyesonfireI just finished another art design. This one evolved as I worked on it. It is my most complex design to date. The meaning became more clear as I continued to work on it. It consists of only one daylily blossom, shaped and spun, then repeated over and over again.

They are arranged in rows and in circles, almost resembling crosses. I added stripes of translucent colors forming a plaid to accentuate a sense of regimentation, and further enforcing the image of uniformity, which is so contrary to the nature of daylilies and to disciples of Jesus. The circles frame the daylilies dancing (or doing drills in formation), giving an appearance of life. Life is not this uniform and regimented. Life is variegated and tends to be messy. I placed these in a Gothic church window frame.

The end result is a bright, beautiful window to communicate some dark truth. It is said that the most segregated hours of the week are Sunday morning. Churches tend to organize by race, ethnicity, social class, political leanings, even music preference. It only gets worse once the denominational and the so-called non-denominational teaching starts. Which “movement” are you in? Evangelical, Mainline, Reformed, Emergent, Post-Christian, Charismatic, etc., ad nauseum. So each group enforces their niche as being either the place where the Spirit is moving now, or the One True Church, and the flowers start to spin and get to looking more and more alike. Some open up and enjoy this. Some close up and just conform the best they can.

There’s activity. There’s God-talk. There are plenty of happy like-minded people to reinforce the truth one’s itching ears want to hear. There is beauty. What could be wrong? Religion has been reduced to a consumer product. Only adherents are quite a bit more zealous than drinkers of Coke or Pepsi, and have a lot more at stake. Both Jesus and Paul demonstrated and taught diversity of gifts and ministries. It is seen all through nature. Our churches have squelched this in favor of neat, corporate, top down structures to keep people in line, not cause trouble, and don’t interfere with the revenue stream.This is not how the church turned the world upside down in the first century.

Help us turn the world upside down. We are not interested in playing church, but if you want to DO church with the unique talents which you have, we can have such fun! We are talking liberation, revolution, equality, the universal brotherhood of humanity; the high places made low, and the valleys exalted! The stained glass window for that is truly wild and beautiful! I will make that one of my summer projects.

This will be available as a 30″ tall window. Pricing and additional specs upon request.



Lost at Sea

The newest addition to our Lily Gilding series of limited edition art pieces is “Lost at Sea”. It is a bit of a metaphor for my headspace of late. My eyes were crying profusely, as they have been for most of the last few months, day and night. I don’t know if it is because of the pain in my spine or the pain in my psyche due to PTSD, or grieving spiritually for the impoverished state of the fragmented church, or the wars and rumors of wars all over the world; or all of the above; or simply a tear duct disorder. At any rate, it leads to contemplation and it can bring me down. I decided to take a step back and paint with flowers. This is where the bright daylily above led me.

lostatsea

It is a Strawberry Candy daylily bloom as if it had been coated in plastic and caught with a movie camera’s glare, and is in turn, peeking out of an old yacht porthole that is floating in space.

I have not determined yet what form the art pieces will take that will incorporate this print. As soon as I do, this article will reflect that change. I am open to suggestions. Peace.




I paint with flowers.

I am back at it with the next in our Lily Gilding series. I don’t paint daylilies. I paint with them. This is a photograph of a Backdraft Daylily, from last summer, right next to our front step, sort of. I modified it using several filters and adjustments, then cropped it just right. I call it Phoenix as it shows the persistence of new life and hope, even in the midst of entropy and crumbling bricks.

When you buy one of these limited edition prints or Zazzle products, know that this is exactly what you are promoting and enabling through the proceeds at The King’s Jubilee. Each time you look at it, be emboldened to hope and to pray for positive change that we may rise from the ashes of our fallenness to see in each and every man, woman and child, a sister or a brother, worthy of dignity, respect, and care.

phoenix

This is a copyrighted piece of original art. It is not to be printed without express permission of the artist. It may only be shared in the complete context of this article, please!  It is quite striking at full size, 12″ x 12″. This is a very limited edition of ten numbered, signed pieces. Please inquire at tkj@shoutforjoy.net for prices and details.

Peace,
Cranford Joseph Coulter

Make-A-Wish!

makeawish

This is what my granddaughters call a “make-a-wish.” It is a giant salsify puff that blossomed outside of our front door. We have mostly native flowers in our front yard. These showed up. We let them grow to see what they were. We have a pro-life garden. We let things grow to see what they are and see if there might be a home for them. These had very tiny, scruffy yellow blooms on three foot tall, fuzzy stalks. They were going to have to do better than that to earn a permanent home here. Then the seed puff exploded out. That puff was about seven inches diameter. It took quite a bit of effort for the girls to huff and puff to make their wishes with these. Great fun!

It’s like some people I have known. The first impression is not that strong, but then they surprise you with just amazing talent or amazing empathy or compassion. Everyone has something about them that God loves.

It turns out these are European imports. They were cultivated in the gardens at Williamsburg, VA, for their medicinal properties and because the thick part of the root tastes like oysters when cooked. Their other name is Oyster Plant.

Now I did some special effects on the photo on the turquoise side. The magenta is the inverse of it. It is available as a dramatic, limited edition, museum quality, giclee print, 24″ x 24″ on canvas. These will be signed and numbered. There will only be ten made. Suggested minimum donation is $300.

May God bless this “make-a-wish” and those who respond to it to bless this ministry to the poor and homeless in Jesus’ Name.