Nashville’s Room In The Inn

Nashville’s Room In the Inn has six programs serving the homeless, the one similar to Columbia’s Room at the Inn is the Winter Shelter Program.  Below are its five key features:

  1. Uses congregation model— about 20 congregations shelter 12-15 guests in their own church about one night a week;
  2. Open from November 1 –March 31 (in a warmer climate than Columbia).
  3. Not more than “observational security”—no security wanding, no security guard, no checking metal items at the door;
  4. Alcohol use is not permitted (but there is alternative housing); and
  5. A sit-down dinner is provided by each congregation each night.

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Notes and Links for “I am Not Your Negro” discussion March 27 at Boone Home

Notes and Links:” I am not Your Negro”

                Additional information for the Community Discussion of “I am not Your Negro” on Monday, March 27 7:00 at the Boone Home (next to Second Baptist Church) Columbia Missouri

1.       New York TIMES review

2. New York Review of Books

3.       NPR Director Raoul Peck: James Baldwin was speaking directly to me

4.       Travis Smiley interview with Raoul Peck February 3, 2017

This Travis Smiley interview contains (at 0:40-1:15) a memorable and powerful part of the film. It is James Baldwin responding to a Yale philosophy professor on “Dick Cavett” in 1968:

                “I don’t know what most white people in this country feel. But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian Church which is white and a Christian Church which is black. I know, as Malcom X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday. That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. It means I can’t afford to trust most white Christians, and I certainly can’t trust the Christian church. I don’t know whether the labor unions and their boss really hate me—that doesn’t matter—but I know I am not in their union. I don’t know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children and the schools we have to go to. Now, this is evidence. You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.”

5.        ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ brings James Baldwin’s words to life” CNN February 17, 2017

6.       Official trailer  At 1:25 another memorable quote:

“The future of the Negro in this country is precisely as bright or as dark as the future of the country. It is entirely up to the American people and our representatives—it is entirely up to the American people whether or not they are going to face and deal with embrace the stranger who they have maligned so long. What white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a “nigger” in the first place, because I am  not a nigger, I’m a man. But if you think I am a nigger, you need him.  . . . If I’m not the nigger here and you invented  him, you the white people invented him, then you got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it is able to ask that question.”

What to do with Carl, another homeless man?

What am I to do with another helpless, homeless man?

Three of the last four Wednesday in the winter of 2017  while volunteering at Loaves and Fishes in Columbia, Missouri,  a man,  who I will call Carl, has been dumped in my lap near closing time. The first two times he was transported by taxi from a local hospital, the third by a well-intentioned woman who had found him lying on the pavement at a nearby gas station after he had been dismissed from the hospital. Each time Carl was hungry, had no place to sleep that night, was in considerable pain, and was rather helpless.

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Beaver Plants a Tree

Leave it to Beaver, Beaver Plants a Tree                        

     In my effort to curb my intake of political news, I caught a “Leave it to Beaver” re-run. It was titled “Beaver’s Tree” and first aired November 11, 1959 and tells of Beaver remembering a tree that his father gave him for his birthday due to his class reciting a poem that begins “what does he plant who plants a tree?”  The dramatic twist is that the Cleavers had moved from their original house, leaving the tree behind. After indirectly asking his mother’s advice (e.g. “if you put a million dollars in the bank, and the bank gets a new owner, don’t you still have the million dollars?”), Beaver returns to his old house and digs up the tree and takes it to his new home.

            In my youth, we only saw “Leave it to Beaver” when me or my siblings were sick in bed, but we planted lots of trees. I’ve left trees behind in at least four states so I was curious about the poem used in Beaver’s grade school class. Thanks to the internet, I learned the poem (“The Heart of a Tree” ) was by Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855-1896), whom I was unfamiliar. It is a comforting, sentimental three verses.

The Heart of the Tree

by Henry Cuyler Bunner

What does he plant who plants a tree?

   He plants a friend of sun and sky;

He plants the flag of breezes free;

   The shaft of beauty, towering high;

   He plants a home to heaven anigh;

      For song and mother-croon of bird

      In hushed and happy twilight heard—

The treble of heaven’s harmony—

These things he plants who plants a tree.


What does he plant who plants a tree?

   He plants cool shade and tender rain,

And seed and bud of days to be,

   And years that fade and flush again;

      He plants the glory of the plain;

      He plants the forest’s heritage;

      The harvest of a coming age;

The joy that unborn eyes shall see—

These things he plants who plants a tree.


What does he plant who plants a tree?

   He plants, in sap and leaf and wood,

In love of home and loyalty

   And far-cast thought of civic good—

   His blessings on the neighborhood,

      Who in the hollow of His hand

      Holds all the growth of all our land—

A nation’s growth from sea to sea

Stirs in his heart who plants a tree. (in the public domain)