The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


encounter #1

So a couple of weeks ago at the coffee shop we watched a video about the homeless, it was cool and informative, I came away with some fresh perspective on some related issues. Specifically panhandling...which is the most likely context for me to cross paths with the homeless. Parts of that video resonated with me very strongly...and I should have known Papa would be bringing those things to bear soon. Well today was my day.

Cruse in' to work this afternoon I got off 270 at the Easton exit and approached Steltzer Rd. There are 2 left turn lanes there for traffic that wants to head south on Steltzer, that's what I have to do to get to work. I get in the curb lane generally because that's the path of least resistance if one is going to FedEx. It's about a quarter of a mile to Steltzer from 270...as I came off the ramp and onto Easton Pkwy aiming for the curb lane I saw "him"...ominous black clad figure holding cardboard sign. I reflexively jerked my vehicle toward the outer left turn lane so as to avoid "him". In a flash I remembered the aforementioned resonations...I whipped it back over for curb service. Thankfully the light was red and I was first in line and there he was 3 feet away. I engaged him visually even before I stopped as my window went down. His expression betrayed angst, shame, embarrassment...fear? I had to dignify and acknowledge him as a person who has worth because he "is". I just wanted to deposit that into him..."hey I see you". He may have been 30. Black trench coat with hoodie and a bookbag on his back...he was not really scuffed up and disheveled as though he had slept under a bridge. I spoke to him like I would anyone whom I might cross paths with on a sidewalk "hey man" with a smile. His sign said: SPARE CHANGE. I fervently scoured my between the seats cupholders and then went for my ashtray all the while trying to keep eye contact. I apologized and said I didn't think I had much in here. But somehow I had the sense that the amount didn't matter as much as the fact that I was acknowledging his personhood. He was smiling now. I came up with MAYBE 23 cents. I said "smoke"? "Sure" he replied sheepishly, but still smiling. I'm not quite sure how it happens but sometimes cigars find there way into my vehicle...I checked my stash...DANG! EMPTY! I apologized again..." I thought I might have a cigar in here". "That's ok " he said as the light turned green. He gave me a really sincere "thank you" and then said "God bless You". "You too"! I called as I rolled away and checked the rearview to see the lady behind me hand him some change as well. The whole thing lasted like 35 seconds. I chastised myself immediately: you didn't ask him his name! Oops! But that thought soon faded.

I was keenly aware that the encounter had been "life giving" for both he and I. My heart was glowing! I felt like I had given the guy $100!!! I was so high I texted Jesse just because I had to tell somebody.

I ask God to use me to push His Kingdom forward about everyday. Most nights as I lay the carcass down to recharge I'm hard-pressed to recall anything from the day that might fill that bill. Tonight I've no doubt.

The "life" flowed because I had treated someone the way I would want to be treated if I was in their shoes.

I want to thank Angela and Tracy for sharing the video. That clip where the homeless guy spoke about being acknowledged really opened me up and gave me a strategy to arm myself with. Before I alway wrestled with the "what if this or what if that" stuff and because I was trying to figure those things out on the spur of the moment I would "miss" the moment of opportunity. I didn't have any of that today, I didn't care about that stuff. I just wanted to impart some dignity if I could.

It was soooooo cool!

love to all


Scot said...

Oh! I almost forgot...I've got this jar of spare change in a closet, it's like 3 million in coins...yeah, transferin a lot of that to the ashtray. Will be stocking up the stash too!:)

Adam Newby said...

Awesome story, Scot. Thanks for sharing. It inspires me.

Angela Harms said...

Hey, Scot, I hardly know how to comment. I'm all choked up... Thanks for sharing your story.

Angela Harms said...

... ok, here's my actual "comment", on the Radical Love Project website. -- A.