Archive | August, 2013

Rev. Phil Lawson: Building the Beloved Community

Rev. Lawson has worked his entire life to ensure that there will be room enough in the beloved community so no one will be left outside to suffer and die in poverty on the streets, no one will be locked out by border walls, and no one will be denied entrance because of racial intolerance or homophobia.

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A Pastor for All the People: The Street Spirit Interview with Rev. Phil Lawson

“Love and compassion are what sustain me. Love and you can learn how to live. I told the Council of Elders this. When you are down and depressed, or hurting or grieving, the most powerful thing you can do to sustain yourself is to go do something for someone else who is hurting.”

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Recyclers Ride the Roller Coaster of Redemption in Oakland

Miss Kay was reminded of how the things she cherishes most are torn from her. Previous loves, old friends, and even her own family had removed themselves from her life. Her years on the street have made her almost invisible — a shadow of a life in transit between this world and the next.

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Portrait of an American Who Told the Truth

Robert Shetterly’s compelling portrait of Edward Snowden quotes Snowden’s description of what is at stake: “The public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.”

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The Obama Administration’s Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

The administration’s efforts to quash press freedom are in sync with its unrelenting persecution of whistleblowers. The purpose is to choke off the flow of crucial information to the public, making informed “consent of the governed” impossible while imposing massive surveillance and other violations of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

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A Day in the Life of a Berkeley Street Musician

Do you remember voting to let an unelected group of wealthy property owners hire people to control our public spaces? Neither do I. Yet, the Block by Block program is expanding from coast to coast as a nonsensical response to poverty and the housing crisis. Public spaces should be for everyone.

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Willa’s Way to Walden Pond

He’s engrossed in Walden and the memorable quote from Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

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The Pacifist Basho

The point of Basho’s poem, “Summer Grasses,” is the vanity of war in comparison to the fertility of the earth. If you recall Basho’s poetry while reading about war, or while sitting silently in meditation, or demonstrating against nuclear weapons, Basho’s consciousness may be a source of insight or power.

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Community Gardens Improve Personal Health, the Food Supply and the Environment

Community gardens provide an alternative to large agricultural areas. Community gardens also foster greater participation that results in improved energy efficiencies. There is less reliance on fuel-consuming machinery to sow, maintain and harvest. Growing food becomes sustainable in community gardens because there is less need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.