At the assembly, I panhandled until the Convention Center staff informed me there was no panhandling on the premises. Then seeing my collar he stuttered a bit and tried to explain I could full participate, but I needed to do it without my sign. I asked him what the difference was between my sign and the countless others strewn about the convention hall advertising things. He said "they're officially recognized by the show." The show he was referring to was the church. Which is as much me as it is the homeless and hungry that were escorted out of the building and the Lutherans tried to give them food, but the Convention Center staff refused.
In my favorite moment of the day Pastor Anita Hill and a pastor fluent in native languages were able to serve coffee to five homeless women and speak to them in their native tongue.
But then drama continued as a tornado hit our building (no really) and broke the steeple at the church across the street. The most deeply saddening moment for me, as my heart dropped as I thought about those who had no shelter and who were continuously being sent away from safe spaces like the building I was in. Again it's a reminder of the privilege I wear around my neck (my collar and my name badge).
It's also another reminder of how all the things people feared for my saftey on these streets are so little compared to the weather. This is to be expected, as it is always the things we can't control that scare us the most. The vulnerability of the street is living life on the other side of the illusion that the locks on our doors, the insurance we buy, the faithfulness we have that cannot really protect our fragile bodies from the chaos of life, nature and the Spirit.
So tonight I pray mightily that I can once again sleep in the skywalk. Or that I can find another suitable place. Again it is supposed to rain as it is tomorrow.
Today I raised $2,565 for the Welcome Ministry and was given enough meal tickets for the rest of the assembly to be able to ensure that 100% of the panhandling money I get this week will go to WELCOME. This brings us nearly to the halfway mark of my mission to collect $6,000 to enable the feeding of 5,000. I invite you to help as you are able. A friend from twitter brought me a soy hot chocolate, so I know the internet can provide. (begging again and again- you can donate online at: www.welcomeministry.org).
Still there is more concern for my safety tonight and I confess the weather has me worried. I know that it is bigger than me. I promise to stay as safe as I can. And I trust that your prayers will help too. Blessings to all of you, I hope you have warm beds to sleep in tonight.
August 20: Feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (According to the Old Roman Calendar)- 1090-1153 CE; Bernard was a French Christian churchman who was a merciless zealot, had an erotic relation with Jesus, his divine lover and husband. After Bernard’s death, many French individuals believed that if they passed under the rainbow of St. Bernard that they would undergo a gender metamorphosis.(Excerpt from Queerly Lutheran, Wilgefortis, 2009)