Showing posts from September, 2012

The Unexpected Daughter

This was the sermon Beth preached at JPUSA today (9/30/12), based off the reading of Luke 8:40-56; the healing of the bleeding woman.

Even in the crowd, she was alone. She was considered "unclean" and "unworthy", probably through no fault of her own. She had lived for over a decade without the sympathy and understanding of people, without any regular everyday fellowship and kindness. She had been broken by harsh judgements and the knowledge that others viewed her as "undeserving"; this had seeped into her own soul and she began to believe it, and she lived accordingly. She stumbled along after Jesus, at a safe distance.

Jesus was being hurried to the deathbed of a child. Not just any child; the child of an important and religious man. Everyone felt that this was a worthy mission. Word traveled quickly; this was no ordinary miracle, this was special! This was a young person with a good name, truly a justified miracle. In everyone's eyes, she was deserv…

A Slap In The Face!

There are certain days I'm just plodding along, focusing on the mundane and menial tasks before me, when something rises out of the ashes and slaps me square in the face. This was one of those days!
It all started bright and early, at 4.30am! I was fast asleep, when I got a surprising phone call from our overnight supervisor at the shelter. One of our 4th floor residents got up and was walking to the restroom when she collapsed. She fell so hard, that when she smashed her head on the concrete floor, our supervisor heard it from one level below. After running upstairs, she found this lady in her mid-forties convulsing and unconscious on the ground, with blood streaming out her nose. As other residents assisted her, 911 was quickly dialed. Within moments, the ambulance came and took her away to the nearest hospital.... Yet, that was not the reason I was called. Unfortunately, it was not that simple! This injured lady has a son who slept through the whole ordeal. In …

Movement. Movement. MOVEMENT!

My official job title reads "caseworker"; yet it's a term I'm not too fond of. My rationale is that it implies an impersonal, almost robotic, connection with my "clients". Yet I'm not too fond of the term "client" either, as it triggers an "us and them" mentality. I wish there were more appropriate words that illustrate what we do; instead of viewing homeless people as our "cases", I'd love to see terms that promote these relationships not as just another number or statistic, but as unique human beings.
Working with homeless people involves the art of endlessly multitasking, while wearing many different hats. This is seen in both the positive and negative names people give me. On any given day, I could be labeled as any of the following; their case-manager, outreach worker, peacemaker, advocate, judge, activist, pastor, adviser, provider, administrator, boss, counselor, disciplinarian or friend. This colorf…