Skip to main content

Brian Baker should buy each of his congregants a kitten

The Very Left* Reverend Brian Baker was one of the seven spiritual leaders that the Sac News & Review interviewed as part of publisher Jeff VonKaenel’s October 1, 2015, cover article “What would Jesus say about Poverty?” regarding homelessness, mental illness, folks living on the street, yadda, yadda.

SNR 10/1/2015 cover
Baker is well known in the homeless community, as a prominent figure advocating for justice and because of the contributions of his church, Trinity Cathedral; church members’ activities; and Trinity’s association with Safe Ground in providing sleep space for solo homeless adults two or three nights per month.

In the SN&R piece, a central thing that Baker says is this: “I don’t see my job as feeding the hungry. My job is to help convert people so that they feed the hungry. ‘Convert people’ [means] 'open their hearts.' The more-foundational thing is the preaching, the liturgy and the environment we create that opens people’s hearts to live more compassionately.”

My personal experience of being homeless for about four years had nothing to do with wanting others’ compassion. Now, obviously, I am only speaking for myself, here, but if the process at Trinity is to get congregants to be compassionate, maybe Baker should avert a lot of bother and buy each of them a cute kitten.

Now, of course, there are some homeless people who are distraught regarding their circumstance. And a subset of those who are distraught are eager to receive sympathy, often from whatever sources they can.

But, generally speaking, I think what homeless folk seek when there’s an “overnight” at Trinity Cathedral or another church is something starkly practical: food and space to sleep. For most, the last thing homeless folk need is for people who see them as the lowest of the low to be looking at them compassionately (i.e., sanctimoniously).
-------
Since Baker is on the left side of the political spectrum – amongst us liberals – I think he should drop “Right” in his title and insert “Left.”




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Mission Five Years Ago, And Today

I have spent the night the past two weeks plus at the Union Gospel Mission and am having an excellent time of it -- not only regards to sleeping in the dorm that the mission has, but also listening to the sermons that are delivered in the early evening. The Christmas music that is performed is also splendid. [And the food -- the FOOD -- has been fantastic during my stay so far! A happier Tom there couldn't be.] I chatted with a pal last night about The Mish – about how things were about five years ago when we both used the mission’s services frequently, and how thing are, today.
Five years ago, there were a lot scuffles between the guys when the front gate was opened in the early afternoon and in the area near the contact window there were some brawls as guys fought over where guys were in line to get a bed in the dorm.
Nowadays, however, the mission is very much a peaceful place both on the grounds of the facility and and out on the street.
I do not know what transformative eve…

Homeless Sacramentans lose case that would have given them the right to set up outdoor camping

8/11/13 I certainly give attorneys Mark Merin and Cat Williams credit for pursuing a case against the city of Sacramento to give homeless Sacramentans the right to set up tents and a campsite. I wanted them to win their case, but they didn't. They lost it.

BUT, it is also necessary to look at the particulars of the case that Merin and Williams brought and see that the situation underlying the court case was not very compelling.

During the period eight years ago when 22 homeless campers set up their tents and brought in supplies to Mark Merin's vacant lot at C Street, near 12th, there was loud noise and plenty of other mayhem. Drug dealers were on the street encouraging buys from the campers. The Hernandez couple that lived in a house nearby were constantly being taunted by the campers, disrupting their lives.

Per always with Safe Ground camps, calm was deserted for the sake of boisterousness.

Leader John Kraintz and the other Safe Grounders would claim to have signed strict a…

After a Three-Month Hiatus, a Fall from a Ladder & a Broken Wrist, Evangelist Jimmy Roughton Returns to Union Gospel Mission to Preach

After being away from Union Gospel Mission for a quarter of a year, Jimmy Roughton returned to preach at UGM on the cold night of December 13 -- despite suffering [a little? a lot? dunno.] from a fall from a ladder that likely immediately preceded a significant injury (a wrist that was broken).


It was good to see his group from Capital Free Will Baptist Church up on the pulpit, with Roughton rough-and-ready to seduce and inspire the happily-captivate crowd at UGM.


Roughton told us in his opening words that he was now in his 27th year coming to the mission.

I recall the first preaching I had heard from Roughton on June 13, 2009. At that time and up to the current time, Roughton is the only preacher I had ever heard evoke Pascal's Wager -- which is something he would do, occasionally thereafter at the mission. He would evoke Pascal's wager, yet again, last night [12/13/17].


Pascal's wager

Last night, Jimmy evoked Pascal's Wager. He did so near the end of his talk, citing …