Saturday, October 29, 2011
S O S
There is a special group of people in Malibu that I have really taken a shine to these days. They call themselves S.o.S. (Standing on Stone). Out of all of the religious factions that I have encountered I seem to be drawn to this one the most. It could be that it is because the focus is less on memorizing scriptures and more on the principles surrounding them. Their leader seems to be a very charasmatic fellow who delivers great speeches of profound moral value with a few anecdotes sprinkled in here and there for added flavor. I appreciate how his primary emphasis is on community, which leads me to believe that this group in particular cares more about people helping people.
I will be the first to admit that when I intially arrived at this location it was just for the food, and strictly as a waypoint for my travels. They really do have some of the best meals, and as soon as I was done eating I would find the earliest possible opportunity to slip out unnoticed and escape to freedom, because religion is something I do not suffer very well at all. It wasn't long before a strange pull kept me coming back for more and for something besides another meal. Perhaps, it was the actual "option" to leave if I wanted to. This was the first time I had ever encountered missionaries that served the meal BEFORE the bible study so there was really no catch. You were welcome eat your meal and then split which for me was the bulk of the appeal. Nobody wants to be force-fed religion or anything for that matter. Chocolate could be your favorite dish in the world, but if someone put a gun to your head and made you eat it every day then eventually you will no doubt develop a growing disdain. I believe that in order for faith to truly sink in, it has to be discovered on its own. No one person can really bring you to it and this group afforded me the opportunity to do that with very little to no pressure involved. It wasn't long until I went from being first in line to barely remembering to stand in line at all because I began to discover how amazing the atmosphere there truly is. They don't just bring you food but they actually sit down and mingle with you as well which is rare in my experience. The ladies that offer the food are an absolute joy to be around and the students from Pepperdine University (or "Peppies" as they sometimes refer to themselves) have quite simply stolen my heart. I think by now they have got to realize that I am a die-hard sinner on a highway to hell and nothing can stop this trainwreck from happening, yet despite that they choose to always encourage me with unwavering compassion. Their favorite phrase seems to be that "God has a plan for me." It's really difficult for me to get excited about that one because if the plan is a lifetime of suffering then that plan really sucks. Some of them also seem really curious about homelessness. I think they would be less curious about it if they ever explored it to its fullest capacity but of course I would never wish that on any them. In fact, I would gladly take all of their pain and add it to my own if it meant keeping them from stepping one foot in a pair of drifter's shoes, and experiencing the emptiness and sorrow that comes with wandering the Earth in limbo. Now that I think about it, I believe I realize what that strange pull is that keeps me coming back..it's them. I don't believe it is the faith that makes the people, but the people that make the faith. There are good and bad people in any religion. Being "baptized" or "saved" as a "Christian" doesn't automatically make you a good person..you still have to put in the work. I would still keep coming back to see them no matter what cause they followed (especially atheist that would be the icing on the cake) not because of religious motives but because they are just a really cool damn bunch of people. They would say that it's some sort of divine intervention which is cool, too, I guess. Me personally, I think that it is the strong desire to for once in my life surround myself with nothing but good people that bring me up and not drag me down.. and at this place I have seen nothing but the best. Whatever the case is, I'm glad my travels have led me to them. I wouldn't say that I pray..I don't think I will ever be qualified to do that..but I can say that I will very strongly for their survival, and that more good things happen to them than bad.
S.o.S. gets the Nomad..