The December 2006 Edition of Street Spirit

A publication of the American Friends Service Committee


National AFSC AFSC Economic Justice BOSS Website



In this issue:

The Poor Will Perish Without Housing

We Accuse the US Government

The Works of Mercy: Thoughts on the Death of a Homeless Man

Greed Fuels Oakland Condo Conversion Law

Berkeley Food and Housing Project

Happy Holidays: Berkeley Targets the Homeless

Claire Burch Documents Life on the Streets

St. Joseph the Worker Needs Support

94 Years Old and Still Homeless

Judge Orders Fresno to Uphold U.S. Constitution

Stranded in the Season of Giving

Stories of Street Survival

A Criminal of Poverty

New Media Offensive for Iraq War

Poor Leonard's Almanack on Religion

AIDS & Poverty: A Deadly Link

Mysteries in Our Own Back Yard

December Poetry of the Streets


November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

July 2006

June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

February 2006

January 2006

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005

Street Spirit is published by American Friends Service Committee.

All works are copyrighted by the authors.

The views expressed in Street Spirit are those of the individual authors alone, and not necessarily that of the American Friends Service Committee.

Poor Leonard's Almanack

Toward A Universal Religion

Quotations and Original Thoughts
by Leonard Roy Frank
Street Spirit, December 2006

1. Spiritual life always implies something higher than itself towards which it is ascending.
NICOLAS BERDYAEV (Russian philosopher, 1874-1948), The Destiny of Man, 1931, translated by Natalie Duddington, 1955

2. In every age I come back
To deliver the holy,
To destroy the sin of the sinner,
To establish righteousness.
BHAGAVAD GITA (Hindu scriptures, 6th century B.C.), translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, 1954

3. If God is, whence come evil things? If He is not, whence come good?
BOETHIUS (Roman philosopher 480?-524 A.D.) The Consolation of Philosophy, translated by W.V. Cooper, 1981

4. Sagredo: Where is God in your system of the universe?
Galileo: Within ourselves. Or -- nowhere.
BERTOLT BRECHT (German p1aywright, 1898-1956), Galileo, 1939, trans. by Charles Laughton, 1961

5. Right Belief
Right Intentions
Right Speech
Right Actions
Right Livelihood
Right Endeavoring
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration.
BUDDHA (founder of Buddhism, 6th century B.C.), "The Eightfold Path"

6. The Infinite a sudden Guest
Has been assumed to be --
But how can that stupendous come
Which never went away?
EMILY DICKINSON (U.S. poet, 1830-1886), No. 1309 (complete poem), 1874?, Thomas H. Johnson, editor, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, 1890

7. There is nothing else but God
Where e'er I look
All things hasten back to him
Light is but his shadow dim.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON (U.S. philosopher, 1803-1882), journal, 6 July 1831

8. The meaning of good and bad, of better and worse, is simply helping or hurting.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, journal, 27 August 1838

9. In the infinite distances
there must be a place
there must be a place
where all is light
and that the light from that high place
where all is light
simply hasn't got here yet.
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI (contemporary U.S. poet), "Olber's Paradox," 1976

10. No human being is so bad as to be beyond redemption.
MOHANDAS K. GANDHI (Indian religious and political leader, 1869-1948), article in Young India, 26 March 1931

11. We may not be God but we are of God -- even as a little drop of water is of the ocean.
MOHANDAS K. GANDHI, in Harijan, 3 June 1939

12. I am thou, and thou art I; and wheresoever thou mayest be I am there. In all am I scattered, and whensoever thou willest, thou gatherest Me; and gathering me, thou gatherest Thyself.
GOSPEL OF EVE (early Christian writing), quoted in Joseph Campbell, prologue to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1949

13. God is the soul and the soul is God.
JEANNE-MARIE de la MOTTE GUYON (French writer and mystic, 1648-1717), letter, quoted in Elaine T. Partnow, editor, The Quotable Woman: The First 5,000 Years, 2001

14. God's dream is not to be alone, to have mankind as a partner in the drama of continuous creation. By whatever we do, by every act we carry out, we either advance or obstruct the drama of redemption.
ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL (Polish-born U.S. theologian, 1907-1972), Who Is Man? 1965

15. God's absence is an illusion.
ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL, A Passion for Truth, 1973

16. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the Lord, that doeth all these things.
ISAIAH (Hebrew prophet, 8th century B.C.), Isaiah 45:7

17. It is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read.
THOMAS JEFFERSON (U.S. president, 1743-1826), letter to Mrs. Samuel H. Smith, 6 August 1816

18. Freedom of religion, the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, minutes of the Board of Visitors, University of Virginia, 7 October 1822

19. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
JESUS (founder of Christianity, 1st century A.D.), quoted in Acts 20: 35

20. As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother.
JULIAN OF NORWICH (Eng1ish mystic, 1342?-1417?), Revelations of Divine Love, 1373

21. We have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions.
CARL G. JUNG (Swiss psychiatrist, 1875-1961), "Approaching the Unconscious: Hea1ing the Split," editor, Man and His Symbols, 1964

22. Discouraged not by difficulties without, or the anguish of ages within, the heart listens to a secret voice that whispers: "Be not dismayed; in the future lies the Promised Land."
HELEN KELLER (U.S. writer and advocate for people with disabilities, 1880-1968), quoted in Upton Sinclair, editor, The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest, 1915. A brief illness at 19 months of age resulted in Keller's losing her ability to hear and see.

23. Here on earth, God's work must surely be our own.
JOHN F. KENNEDY (U.S. president, 1917-1963), Inaugural Address, Washington, 20 January 1961

24. I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., (U.S. clergyman and human rights activist, 1929-1968), "The Most Durable Power," sermon, Montgomery, Alabama, 6 November 1956

25. God's Way is gain that works no harm.
LAO-TZU (founder of Taoism, 6th century B.C.), The Way of Life, translated by R. B. Blakney, 1955

26. Religion to me is the last frontier.
NORMAN MAILER (contemporary U.S. writer), quoted in Michael Novak, "The Most Re1igious Century," New York Times, 24 May 1998

27. He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
MICAH (Hebrew prophet, 8th century B.C.), Micah 6:8

28. God is one.
MOSES (Founder of Judaism, 14th century B.C.), Deuteronomy 6:4

29. Kindness is the mark of faith; and whoever has not kindness has not faith.
MUHAMMAD (founder of Islam, 570?-632 A.D.), The Sayings of Muhammad, translated by Abdullah Al-Suhrawardy, 1941

30. If mankind is to escape its programmed self-extinction the God who saves us will not descend from the machine: he will rise up again in the human soul.
LEWIS MUMFORD (U.S. sociologist, 1895-1990), The Pentagon of Power: The Myth of the Machine, 1970

31. Walk tall as the trees; live strong as the mountains; be gentle as the spring winds; keep the warmth of summer in your heart; and the Great Spirit will always be with you.
NATIVE AMERICAN CHANT (19th century), quoted in Helen Nearing, "Twilight and Evening Star," Loving and Leaving the Good Life, 1992

32. What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Just trying to make his way home
Back up to Heaven all alone
Nobody callin' on the phone
'Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome.
JOAN OSBOURNE (contemporary U.S. singer-songwriter), "What if God Was One of Us" (song), 1992

33. Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy.
PSALMS 16:11

34. God is a God of Lovingkindness.
ANNE ROIPHE (contemporary U.S. writer), Lovingkindness, 1987

35. In the middle
God said,
Let there be Wisdom,
and the universe echoed
with peals of laughter,
and wisdom trickled down
the corridors once carved by light
and filtered into the cracks
of all broken hearts
and made them whole.
JOAN RUVINSKY (contemporary U.S. poet), "Recreation" (complete poem), New Age, February 1982

36. Ethical. existence [is] the highest manifestation of spirituality.
ALBERT SCHWEITZER (German physician and theologian, 1875-1965), The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle, 1929, trans. by William Montgomery, 1931

37. Truly do I exist in all beings, but I am most manifest in man. The human heart is my favorite dwelling place.
SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM (Hindu scriptures, 5th? century B.C.), quoted in The Wisdom of God, translated by Swami Prabhavananda, 1943

38. A fella ain't got a soul of his own, but on'y a piece of a big one.
JOHN STEINBECK (U.S. writer, 1902-1968), The Grapes of Wrath, 1939

39. The idea of god is slightly more plausible than the alternative proposition that, given enough time, some green slime could write Shakespeare's sonnets.
TOM STOPPARD (contemporary Czech-born British playwright), quoted in George Will, "The Gospel from Science," Newsweek, 9 Nov. 1998

40. True religion [is] right belief and right feeling taking effect in right action. Without right action, right feeling and right belief have no virtue in them.
ARNOLD J. TOYNBEE (English historian, 1889-1975), "Ten Basic Questions-and Answers," New York Times Magazine, 20 February 1955

41. Let God be God in and thru you.
DESMOND TUTU (contemporary South African bishop), Ted Koppel television interview, ABC, 25 December 2002

42. [A universal religion] will be a religion which will have no place in its polity for persecution or intolerance, which will recognize divinity in every man or woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its own true divine nature.
VIVEKANANDA (Indian religious leader, 1863-1902), lecture at the World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893, quoted in "In Search of a Universal Religion," Ahimsa Voices, (Berkeley, CA), January 1997

43. There is only one morality... just as there is only one geometry.
VOLTAIRE (French philosopher, 1694-1778), "Morality," Philosophical Dictionary, 1764 , translated by Theodore Besterman, 1971

44. And there is no object so soft but it makes the hub for the wheel'd universe.
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
WALT WHITMAN (U.S. poet, 1819-1892), "Song of Myself," 1855, Leaves of Grass, 1855-1892

45. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
ZECHARIAH (Hebrew prophet, 6th century B.C.), Zechariah 4:6

46. When I do good, I feel good, when I do bad, I feel bad, and that's my religion.
ANONYMOUS (U.S.), Abraham Lincoln recalling the words "of an old man named Glenn, in Indiana, whom he heard speak at a church meeting," quoted in William H. Herndon (and Jesse W. Weik), Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life, 1889

47. Religion and science are not two equations but different sides of the same equation.

48. The twin pillars of religion are mysticism and morality.

49. There are limits to God's power but not to God's love.

50. Were God not seeking us, we would not find Him.

51. Better one honest tear than a hundred earnest prayers; better one kind deed than a hundred honest tears.

Leonard Roy Frank is the editor of Random House Webster's Quotationary. His newly published The Electroshock Quotationary, an illustrated 154-page history of psychiatry's most controversial procedure, can be downloaded free of charge on the Internet at

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