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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-homeless-toronto-1.5551327?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar

My water usage went through the roof in January, February, March 2020. In April with social distancing and not allowing anyone who does not live here inside my water usage went way down.

I got the shock of my life when I viewed my City of Toronto Water Bill this month. It was way higher than I expected.

What happened?

A friends of mine got arrested. While he was in custody he lost not only his place of residence but also his identification. He was homeless. He was living on the street.

I had him here as a guest.

He took showers. Lots of showers. Lots and lots of showers.

He’s not the first homeless person I have helped. He won’t be the last.

In The Last Judgement the Final Judge we will all face says, “You saw me hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, in prison, a stranger and you passed me by,” to those on his left.

They say, “When did we see you hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, in prison, a stranger and pass you by?”

That Judge replies, “What you did not to the least you did not to me.”

To those on his right the Judge says, “You saw me hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, in prison, a stranger and you helped me by.”

Those on the right ask, “When did we see you hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, in prison, a stranger and help you.”

The Judge replies, “As you did to the least you did to me.”

My longtime friend Chester Brown created this cover to help me raise funds for my current trip through the gauntlet. It’s Chester’s favorite moment from the book. One of mine as well. It gently hammers home what it means to truly be a Christian.

That message came home to me powerfully in Hollywood, California in 1970. I tell the story in my book THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED ROCHDALE COLLEGE. There is no harm in retelling it here.

In the winter of 1970 a friend invited me to live with him in Hollywood, California. I went by bus. I took with me only one book, a pocket sized uniquely powerful translation of THE NEW TESTAMENT.

By the time I got to Hollywood I had read it through cover to cover five times.

My friend returned to Toronto the day after I arrived.

The house I was crashing in was a bordello (that is not an Italian dessert).

Reg Hartt in 1970.

The man who ran it said he wanted me to work for him.

One thing I had learned reading THE NEW TESTAMENT for myself was that Jesus never once faulted the people conventional Christianity does nothing but fault. Jesus was known as a friend of publicans (people who drink in public houses, taverns), prostitutes and sinners.

In fact the only people Jesus warned to repent were the very folks who today warn us that if we don’t repent we will burn in Hell.

The plain truth as I see it is that being in Heaven with those folks would be Hell.

I told the man I had no problem with his business it just was one I could not work in.

He said, “Well, you have to help pay the rent.”

I found an ad in a newspaper that promised all kinds of money fast. I called the number. Next morning I walked at least twenty miles to the address I had been given only to find myself at the door of a mission.

Wanting nothing to do with them I turned to walk away.

As I did I reflected that it was a a long way back and I had had nothing to eat nor would I find anything to eat when I got back.

I went inside, filled out their forms stating I was Canadian and did not have a working permit knowing that without one I could not be hired.

Then I filled myself with doughnuts I washed down with coffee.

The rest of the story is on that cover.

In the moment that man decided to put me to work I realized there are two laws.

There is the law of the land. It says I can’t help the stranger unless the state authorizes it.

There is the law of God that says, “You saw me hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, sick, in jail, a stranger…”

In that moment I knew that who I would become depended 100% on which of those laws I chose to break.

I had found the same truth expressed in THE I CHING: “The big difference is this. In all things the superior man is on the side of the lowly.”

Not only that but through my work I had become friends with several amazingly powerful American women who had chosen to live in Canada starting in 1968 with Jane Jacobs, author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES, Judith Merril, the mother of modern SF, and Doris Mehegan who ran THE SPACED OUT LIBRARY (now THE MERRIL COLLECTION).

They were all three atheists. Nonetheless they taught that when we turn our back on those who need our help we kill our soul.

I lived briefly on the street in 1981 after the suicide of my brother.

I don’t begrudge my friend the showers he took. I am not complaining about the massive increase in my water bill. It’s a small price to pay.

The plain truth is there is not enough water on earth to wash off the grime of the streets.

I’ve been homeless.

I am saying those homeless folk now being put up in hotels are going to stick their landlords with a massive water bill.

My campaign to raise funds for my legal fees has met with little response.

I told my lawyer beforehand that unless a statement was issued from his office that would help turn the tide set in motion by the stories published despite a non-publication ban that people would not help.

No such statement has been issued.

Does that bother me?

No.

Years ago I opened my NEW TESTAMENT at random to Luke 18: 8 where Jesus states, “Do you think when I return I will find so much as one person believing?”

My answer then and now was and is, “If in my time, me.”

For this reason I know that coming is not to be in my time.

People ask if I am religious by which they mean do I go to church.

When I say I do not go to church they say, “Come to mine.”

There is a saying as old as the first church/synagogue/temple, “The nearer the church/synagogue/temple the farther from Allah/The Buddha/God.”

My church is where I AM.’

In it we find the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, the jailbird, the stranger.

God bless those homeless as they now try in vain to wash the dirt from the streets from their bodies.

Those hotels are going to get powerful water bills.

I pity those folk who pass on by like the priest and the lawyer for they will hear those awful words, “You passed me by,” while the Samaritan, the man they held in contempt whom they thought had no chance at salvation hears the words, “Come in. You helped me.”

Einstein was, we are told, an atheist. Atheist he may have been but he understood the true face of evil is found on those who choose not to get involved.

2020–05–03

Stephen Hawkings said, “God is dead.” Many were happy to agree. He also said, “Philosophy is dead.” Today Stephen Hawkings is dead. Profoundly dead.

 

I don’t help others because I desire Heaven or fear Hell. I do it because it comes natural to me.

Karl Marx taught we can not have a Socialist State as when that happens the state becomes the capitalist. As with Christianity so too with Socialism. The followers do not think the ideas through. The Buddha said, “The first generation will understand me. The second will come close. The third will miss the mark completely.” The word “sin” means “to miss the mark.”

 

 

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