**********The City of Angels is Everywhere*********

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I got a little scripture and couldn't do it. Better off not pleasing the bishops by eating our own. Focus on the 5 percent

By Kay Ebeling

I had plans to write a scathing post today about one of the attorneys defending the Salesians in the jury trials that start November 5 in LA. I mean, why would someone whose family had to flee from criminal clergy in Iran end up defending criminal clergy in America? That same day I had an argument with a VOTF member yelling in his ear: just drop those two goals about reforming the church and supporting good priests, 'cause if the sheeples ain’t figured it out by now, forget about ‘em.” Earlier I interviewed a guy in Boston and had trouble keeping track of which victims’ advocacy group had splintered off which group going back to the beginning. And believe me if I wanted to I could write some scathing things about SNAP.

Then I happened to have free time on Friday morning to go to a neighborhood bible study and the passage happened to be: James 4:11 as translated here from The Message: "Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?"

I’m really fortunate my daughter and I got to be homeless November 2003 to November 2005. Really. In homeless shelters you learn to get along with people no matter how much you disagree. You have to or you end up back out on the street.

At a shelter you have to get along with people you don’t like and don’t agree with but like it or not you have to spend time with them. Most the women living there were much more “street” than me, and a lot of them hated white people to start with, but add in my upper middle class educated accent -- I took a lot of verbal abuse the first weeks in that shelter. I almost got thrown out a couple of times for arguments that I was sure “weren’t my fault.”

Focus on the 5 percent

You learn that when people have a common goal, they may agree with each other on 5 percent of things, those things that have to do with the common goal. You probably disagree about everything else and if you waste time arguing about that other stuff, the common goal gets ruined. You learn to ignore that other stuff and focus on the common goal.

In the homeless shelter the common goal was keeping a roof over your head to save your ass.

In the crime victim community it’s justice.

I know we all have legitimate reasons to be mad as hell at different advocacy organizations: one might want to align with a bishop who 10 years ago was not on our side but now seems to be. Persons who dealt with that bishop 10 years ago are shocked and rightfully so. But that's part of the 95 percent you don’t agree about.

Focus on the 5 percent on which we do agree, at least long enough to attend a meeting and find common goals.

When I read about two different meetings taking place in Rhode Island last week, one inside with VOTF and one outside, I knew I’d probably be at the one outside.

But I also think the guys in robes with cognac glasses in their hands are laughing out loud as they watch advocates eating their own.

One thing about Hollywood.

People from all over the country come here to try to “save” us. So all over the city are these “church plants,” people from Minnesota, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, come to rescue people in Hollywood who, face it, really need saving. Although I often do a lot of saving back.

I wouldn't even know about these church plants if it weren't for my 11 months in the Hope Again homeless shelter.

They are all over Hollywood, little places where 10 or 15 people meet regularly to read the Bible and it’s really revolutionary, guerrilla God, bashing through ceremonies and sacraments and just once in a while passing a loaf of bread and grape juice to represent the last supper. I love it.

We're like the Christians in the year 100 or so before the Popes and bishops created themselves to muck it up.

You’d think Hollywood is godless but truth is even that crack head on the corner can quote you Scripture.

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I still go to Hope Again Tuesdays for Anger Management and when I can on Fridays for “chapel.”

So thanks to being homeless and landing in a fundamentalist Christian shelter -- where believe me the “onward Christian soldiers” vibe rankled me at first -- I live my life now based on Scripture.

It was at the kitchen table at the shelter that someone told me about “The Massage” on KJLH which is linked at the bottom of this page. They're an R&B station from deep in LA ghetto. The daily Massage and their radical Spread the Word broadcast on Sunday afternoons, bible studies -- these things wouldn't be part of my life if I hadn’t been homeless for two years.

KJLH - Kindness Joy Love Happiness.

Who says this isn’t the city of angels?

When we’d been in our car and motels for six months and the cash was running out, I leaned into the back seat and just dived my hand into the pile of rubble, and honestly, it was after saying a sort of prayer. I was totally godless at the time but we were parked facing uphill and as I reclined in the seat as far back as it would go I found a business card in this pile of rubble -- I’m a middle class lady, I don't know how to explain how I ended up in a pile of rubble, it happens when you live in a car.

My arm went back, I stuck in my hand and out came this business card. A few weeks back as I’d sat once again in yet another homeless agency waiting room -- waiting, this black lady next to me was humming. We talked a bit, unusual at PATH, not a social environment. But we talked enough for her to hand me this card and say, “these people will help you.” Then I lost the card. Now out of money, surrendering to gravity on a West Hollywood hill, I found it: Hope Again and a 323 area code.

It was a fundamentalist Christian place but they would take us. After six months of not fitting the demographics of any agency in town, these cracker ladies from Alabama with a shabby office on Sunset Boulevard took us in. Main requirement was we had to attend Bible studies daily and go to church at least once a week. And a whole slew of other rules, believe me.

That's why I’m grateful that we were homeless. If you get in too many arguments in a homeless shelter, you get thrown out. So you learn to get along with people even when you can’t stand them and hate everything they say.

You won’t get thrown out if you can’t pay the rent, they'll work with you (yes you do have to pay rent in homeless shelters.) Even if you hate the bible studies at Hope Again, they'll let you stay as long as you keep going to them and don’t get in arguments.

Last Friday I was planning a post called “Leila in Lala Land” where I was going to tear into an attorney defending the Salesians, and she really has some bare blatant places to rip into her and get away with it. But since I wasn’t on deadline I took a few hours off and went to Friday morning “chapel” at Hope Again instead and we talked about that James 4:11 verse.

(New King James Version)
Do Not Judge a Brother

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

I like the Message translation better.

AND At the shelter I started work on Priest rape crime victim issues:

It was in bible studies, in Bible-based counseling, in mandatory morning devotionals at the homeless shelter --that I began again focusing on pedophile priest rapes and what they did to me.

And what I could do with the anger.

Over about three years the anger turned into this blog.

Often I combine ideas that strike me in the middle of bible studies with posts I write here. I try not to mention it too much as I know how priest rape crime victims can feel about someone pushing religion on them.

But pure Scripture minus the popes and bishops and other prelates, is so mind-blowing.

Take James 4:11 and apply it to priest rape crime advocacy:

It’s liberating to say, let God do the judging, and the attacking.

It frees me up to just point out all the blatant holes in their arguments and blatant injustices.

I don't have to lower myself to criticizing someone’s heritage or their nose or skin or obvious bad eating and drinking habits, like with McFeely.

I have to say this much, though, about Leila in Lala land.

Why would someone whose family had to flee from criminal clergy in Iran end up defending criminal clergy in America?

That's enough.

More to come. . .

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