Homeless during the holidays

Time, money, WordPress, and Facebook

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Texas A&M UniversityDuring my first year in college, I lived in Moore Hall and Puryear Hall on the Texas A&M University campus. Moore Hall had four floors, and I didn’t like it. Just too big. No opportunity for a shy freshman like me to get to know anyone or get involved. I couldn’t move the alpha males out of the way.

Puryear Hall was a ramp-type dorm. Instead of floors with 100 people living on them, there were ramps, which were simply stairways. Each ramp had four floors, but there were only four rooms per floor. With two people per room, eight people per ramp floor, and 32 people per ramp, it was much easier for a shy person to fit in.

I was on floor two, ramp 4. My seven rampmates were from Seattle, Houston, Waller TX, Hempstead TX, Kingsville TX, Lake Jackson TX, and—wait for it—Lagos, Nigeria. I don’t remember the Nigerian’s name, but I’m pretty sure he’s not one of the Nigerian scammers who wants to give you millions of dollars. Thus, I’m not a contact person or a reference….

Church in downtown Long BeachHowever, the Nigerian was very outgoing, an extrovert, an alpha male. He was interested in exploring the world’s religions, and each weekend, he would get a large group together to go visit a different church. The group started off with just four of us but, over the semester, grew to 50 or 60 people each week. We visited every church we could find—Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Church of Christ, Jew, Presbyterian. I know there was a “strange religion” in there—Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam—but I don’t remember which one.

It was during my college years that I started questioning the fundamental tenets of the Catholic and Mormon faiths in which I had been raised. My main problem then, as now, is that I could not understand how an all-knowing, all-powerful god could allow poverty, homelessness, hunger, and disease to exist among “his children.” I couldn’t understand how that all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible being would allow his children to die in car wrecks, train wrecks, airplane crashes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, heat waves, blizzards, etc. It didn’t make sense to me then and it still makes no sense to me. There is no need to try to explain it. I’m familiar with all the reasons the all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible, mystical being allows disasters and such. I’m not buying them; they are too expensive.

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s Christmas spirit, holiday spirit, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever, but this time of year always gets me thinking about these things, and this morning when I went out exploring, I found a homeless person in the middle of Balboa Park, one of San Diego’s most beautiful places:

Homeless during the holidays

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Five things in this world currently bug me, really bug me:

  1. homelessness;
  2. disease and sickness;
  3. people who are cruel to animals, including people who kill animals for sport;
  4. the current generation of idiotic Republicans. I was a lifelong Republican until last year; I just couldn’t take the likes of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman anymore; and
  5. those who blindly follow religion without questioning it, especially if they quote things out of context or haven’t even read their own religion’s holy book completely! And, yes, I have read the Bible three times, start to end. I’ve read the Quran/Qu’ran/Koran once, all of The Analects (Confucianism), the Book of Mormon many times, and several others, all while searching for my own identity in this world.

Unfortunately, I’m not rich enough to do much on my own…. a little time here, a few dollars there, and my outspokenness here and on Facebook.

Possessions of a homeless person

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Home of a homeless person

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I approve this post.Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Time, money, WordPress, and Facebook

  1. Gallivanta

    Your post resonates with me. I have been struggling with this song all day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X23r4ATlUA I love the sound of the song and I really do believe that I should help the needy etc but ..but….but…..the question that is eating me is why have I been given so much…wouldn’t it have made more sense to divide everything more evenly in the first place???? I think Zoey the cool cat has all the answers and she is just not telling 🙂

    Like

    Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I believe the only people who have been “given much” are those who inherited from their parents. Those parents might also have inherited it, but more likely they simply worked for it.

      I always get a kick out of the sports star on the winning team who thanks god for giving him/her the talent and helping the team win. Really? They have a really weird god if he’s watching sports instead of healing the sick, housing the homeless, feeding the starving, and preventing hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc. To think and believe that god helped one team win while causing the other team to lose. A really, really weird god, and one with whom I don’t want to be associated at all!

      I’d be willing to bet that there were just as many people on the losing team praying for victory, too. Of course, that brings into question this whole thing of praying for what you want. Why not pray for world peace or something much more constructive than winning a stupid game?

      Like

      Reply
  2. ontheupcyclemom

    I have struggled with this all my life. I want god in my life, but I am not a fan of the “man Made” religions. I just try to live a good life and be kind, but for some this is simply not enough and I will be going to hell anyway, because I don’t identify with religion. sigh*

    Like

    Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I had an ultrareligious friend ask me recently, “But who defines what ‘good’ is.” I told him that if he doesn’t know what good is, he’s got bigger problems. Besides, who gets to define what god is?

      Reminds me of what Sir Paul McCartney said when George Harrison died. Harrison, of course, was ultrareligious, but not hateful like so many of today’s religious people. McCartney said that he believed God is simply good with an extra O, and Devil is simply evil with a D in front. Good & Evil.

      I’m of the opinion that if someone’s God doesn’t want someone like me, that he will choose the serial rapist or serial murderer simply because on his deathbed or just before being executed that rapist or murderer said, “I repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” well, that’s a god that I don’t want to be associated with anyway.

      Like

      Reply
            1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

              I don’t “celebrate” Christmas per sé, but as an atheist explained to a religious friend of mine about why he takes off work on Christmas day, “I tried to work one time but no one else was working, so there wasn’t anything to do.” Jim’s and my Christmas tradition is to visit the San Diego Zoo. On Christmas Eve, we waste gas driving around looking at all the Christmas lights and displays, and wondering about some of these people’s electric bills………….

              Like

              Reply
  3. ellenrobertsyoung

    I like people who speak their mind as you do. I agree with your five points and would add one more: hungry children and governments that cut funding to feed them.
    Me, I’m a Christian, but not the “follow blindly” kind. One who finds in sacred text metaphors to live by. (Religion is metaphor, and most of our other thinking about large questions is too, in my view, as in the intention language scientists use for genes..)
    Enjoy the zoo – a great way to spend the day, especially in San Diego.

    Like

    Reply
  4. appletonavenue

    I would describe my experiences much the same way. The stuff they asked me to believe in just didn’t make logical sense, unless god was a hypocrite. At least I knew I wasn’t a hypocrite. Very thoughtful post and timely.

    Like

    Reply
  5. Paula

    i hear you about the things that bug me. only i was never a republican. 🙂 after years and years of christian churches, i came to the conclusion that god is inside you and me and everyone. ‘it’ is not an entity in the sky raining down wrath and answering prayers. If you want to think of god as an entity, i would call it ‘thought’. Everyone’s thought, which manifests. The scripture in the bible keeps haunting me lately, in the beginning was god and the word was god.

    Like

    Reply

Let your words flow

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s