When to go:
I am going around November 2006. I am doing it in the summer so I don't have to worry about surviving freezing cold winter nights, at least not for a while, if I last with it that long. I also applied for a new short term position at work this week that only runs till 20th October, it would be good timing if I get it.
I got the 3 month Job and after I left work, things took a lot longer to tie up than I expected. Also I was wanting warmer weather and October had been the coldest on record, so I was quite happy to delay things for another month. What it came down to was that just as I tied everything up and good friends was about to get married. So I went to his Bux party on the Sat night and fitted in my two week time away in the desert before his wedding on October 9th. I then went to Church the next night and walked in straight after that.
What to wear:
At first I couldn't decided whether to wear a medieval type monk robe or ordinary casual clothes. The robe would be good as it would visually symbolize who I was and what I was about. I think it would be easy to maintain and I would be comfortable with the identity. It would also draw immediate negative ridicule from a lot of people in Melbourne ( a shame as in places like Jerusalem it is a common sight the people accept and respect). It might cause the police to consider me to be a bit of a loony and get me locked up, though I am willing to follow this road where ever it goes. The casual clothes option would be a lot more under the radar, but people would not at first understand why I wanted to talk to them and some sort of 'ice breaker' would be good. I am now thinking of mixing both ideas and wearing some brown pants with a brown top, sandal type footwear and putting a big white cross on the front and back of the top, as the identifier. The back cross may have the words father, son, spirit, and us, one at each end of the cross. I can print this up on my computer and iron them on with t-shirt transfers.
I haven't decided whether to get a top with a hood. I think I might as it feels more monkish and could be a bit warmer on a cold night.
I don't think I will take my rings and cross necklace, I want nothing of value and I don't want to be concerned about being robbed or loosing anything. I also don't think I will take my glasses. Again they would only get lost or broken pretty soon and I can see ok without them as long as I don't do any driving.
May 23rd 06 - I saw someone, from behind, with the perfect brown hooded top that I had been thinking about. I thought about how hard it might be to find one and that I could ask the person if I could buy it off them on the spot. But he turned around and it had heaps of colored logo stuff all over the front.
June 1st 06 - I have decided that I shouldn't wear jocks or socks, as they would need daily washing, which I don't think I will be able to do, although I am considering boxer shorts.
June 15th 06 - Last week on a very cold day I wore my sandal footwear around all day. At first it was quite discomforting with the coldness on my feet when I went outside, but later I forgot about it, so that concern does not bother me anymore.
December 27th 06 - Well after a lot of hunting, I was unable to find a plain brown hooded top. So I found one I liked, which had a big Puma logo on the front, and then bought two of the tops. I took them to a tailor and had him cut the back out of one of the tops and sow it over the front of the other hoody, thus making it a plain top, and an extra layer warmer. Then I got an A4 iron transfer paper (which was plain white) and cut it into the shape of a cross and stuck it on the front of the top. The pictured result is in the top right corner of this blog. On the back I had been thinking about a few motto messages and ended up going with '24hr Church'. It was the 2ndry vision I had at the start of the year. I had been thinking about a Church that was open to the public for 24hrs a day, that I would staff, and people could drop in to talk or pray whenever I liked. I had spoken to my church and a few people about it but there was little interest, and so untill some future time, I consider myself on the street as a living mobile 24hr Church. I am there to talk and pray with anyone at any time. So that is what I put on the back of the top.
For the rest I had just my brown pants (and boxer shorts), sandles and a t-shirt under the hoody. No rings, or cross necklace, or glasses, or any spare change of anything, just what I was wearing.
When to tell my friends and family my plan:
This is really hard, right now I am thinking about July, giving about 3 months notice. I expect to cop a lot of resistance when I tell and am worried about that, and how my resolve is effected.
July 10th 06 - Well, I have opened the gate a bit and told a few people. July 1st came along and was a day of change on a number of levels. I told my best friend my plans. I was nervous, so it probably came out really badly, but he sat and listened quite calmly, which was good. We didn't discuss it much further than my explanation, I gave him this blog address for further understanding and then he left, which was cool, as he will take some time to think about it. A week later he messaged me that he is going to give me some 'resistance' (noted from above); we have yet to chat. I will try and have a good discussion with him, and not close my mind to what he has to say, just because I may not want to hear it.
Last Tuesday I wondered if it was too early to tell my Small Group; I checked with God and he indicated to do it. I set the agenda for us all to talk about how we were going with God. It was a long overdue discussion that I had put off as I hadn't wanted to ask the others about how they wetre going with God because I wasn't read for them to ask me. Because of what I was going to say I really wanted to go last so as not to distract from the importance of what other people were saying. So I checked with God again and he said it would be ok. I arranged the order of discussion to be random, by people reaching in and selecting the next person to talk from a pile of paper on the table. I was picked up last, so that was good! Again my head was a bit jumbled as I talked but we all prayed well for each other at the end, so I was happy.
At the end of the week I told my house mate (who missed the Small Group night) and he was really positive and interested, which picked me up a lot. Then we chatted more that Friday night with his brother and his girlfriend at the pub, and I felt much more comfortable about it all.
Today I flew home from interstate and was reading my bible on the plane, which caught the interest of some business men next to me, and I talked to them about it too! When I mentioned I was nervous about telling my family, they were like 'In life you have got to make your own decisions, and that's it.' Great, but I still dred telling my mum, she's currently all 'you need to buy a place to live', though I think Dad could be ok...
December 27th 06 - Well my parents provided the most resistance, which with the 'concern for a child' is somewhat understandable. What my actions were doing, on one level, was confronting and revealing people's position's on how they see the Bible and Christianity. For my mum she is all a bit unsure of how much of it is reliable; "no one really knows" and thus was concerned from a psychological perspective as to whether I had thrown out rational thinking for an irrational fanaticalism. My dad though believed in my Christianity and relationship with God, but thought I was misunderstanding the Bible. His whole ministry is that your employment position is your mission field, and you should focus your Christian efforts there. For me to leave my job and go into an unpaid and unsupported (Church structor wise) mission field, was the old way, not the new way God was calling people to be missionarys. Both though have slowly been more accepting, changing from 'this is ridiculous' to 'we see your logic but disagree with it' to 'it's generally positive but we have 'this' specific concern about it'. Overall I feel it has been beneficial to our relationships as we have had many open discussions about our Christianity that we never used to talk about. Thus we are getting to know and respect each other better.
With my friends, again it is initially polarizing. Some say great and others are shocked and shake their head. The good thing is that people are thinking about the issues. Again I have been surprised by the number of people that tell me that they are amazed by my FW plans and thing it is a really good thing to do. I am learning and surprised as much by some people as they are of me!
When and How to resign from my job:
If I get the role that ends on Oct20th then great, whether to say what I am doing or just that I am leaving is something to think about. I will have been there exactly 2 years at that point and while they are one of the most Christian companys in the world, I'm still not sure what to say.
December 27th 06 - Well I got the short term position, but things were not that simple. It turned out to be the best job, with the most fun and loving people, I had ever had. On top of that the boss offered to extend the position for another six months! This put me in a delimma and I was not sure what to do. I prayed and talked about it with a couple of people, and a week later I decided that I felt the timing to leave the Job at Oct 20 was still right. I went into a meeting and basically gave my boss my testimony, and explained what I was planning to do. I was sure he was going to think 'this guy is a looney, it's good he is going...' but he said what I was doing was great! What? and that I should tell the other staff about it so they can be encouraged in their spiritual journeys! What? What? And that I was welcome to call him about future job positions, should I be interested! Wow. I was blown away, not what I expected at all. Later I gave a short talk to the staff in my department about my plans, and they were all interested and supportive. My supervisor even came in the next day with photo's of a Faith Walk she and her husband did around Italy as her husband used to be a Franciscan Monk. I later had a couple of good chats with him too. This was a big psychological turning point for me as I had not expected to get any positive support from anyone, and now I had friends interested and supporting me, it was a position I didn't expect to find my self in and it really helped me go forward with a much more positive attitude towards the future and God.
How completely do I rid myself of all my wealth and possessions:
Well I dont have much to start with, as I hate wealth anyway. But considering I could change my mind in less than a week I would like to keep my car or at least my bike in reserve, but then the point should be to let go of the things I am holding on to the most. I should have the mind set that there will be no going back and so get rid of everything. Jesus didn't tell the rich man to sell everything, except...
May 25th 06 - I just bought some winter cycling clothing. They were expensive, which annoys me that an un-necessary amount of money went to someones pocket that could have better helped someone in need. It also seems a shame to get new clothes for just a few months worth of wear, but I bought them more as a tool, so I can ride to work in the cold and the rain. It seems my possessions have increased, for now.
December 27th 06 - I have described this process de-wealthing myself elsewhere on the blog.
Do I take ID (drivers liscence) with me:
Again, a hard choice. My identity will change as I sacrifice myself to Gods will, in effect the person I am now will cease to exist. I even plan to use my spiritual name to identify myself, which will feel in conflict with the ID if it is in my pocket. But the ID could help with convincing police that I am just a normal person out to help people, without it I'm not sure. I wonder whether normal homeless people carry ID around?
December 27th 06 - I took no ID, although I scanned it onto the internet should I need it there. So far I have had no interactions with the police.
How long will I do it:
Right now I feel it could be anywhere from three days to three years. The important thing is to go expecting not to return to my regular life at any specific time and have faith that what ever happens is a part of God's plan/journey for me.
Can I still lead my small group:
It would be cool for my Church home group to continue and be led by a homeless person. I still plan to go to my church every Sunday. It would be hard to keep in contact as I won't have a mobile phone, and how will I organize studys?
July 10th 06 - I am thinking leading will probably not be possible.
December 27th 06 - My small group closed due to low numbers and attendance. I joined another small group which has been very helpful supportive over the last couple of months.
What body weight to be:
I used to be a bit overweight, which was good as it gave me plenty of reserve in case I did something like this at short notice. The more weight I have the longer I can survive on little or no food. I have fasted for 43 days before and last year dropped 25kg as I practiced living on little food, only three meals a week, over a period of about four months. I am a little above normal weight now and I always wanted to be 'thin' for a while but that would not be helpful as I start being homeless. It would be easier not to worry about being hungry so much at the start, so some weight would be good, but I also don't like feeling overweight. So I think the standard average weight about 70 to 75 kg would be about right. Then I can feel in good form as I walk off and have a month or two of reserve fat if I have trouble getting food to eat. I might drop some weight over the next couple of months as fasting four days a week makes me feel really good, and then I can pack a bit back on in the last two months before I go, if I need to.
December 27th 06 - I did put on some weight weight (to 85Kg) in the last couple of months, as I was really unsure of the food situation on the street, and with no money. And so to my surprise with the amount of available food on the street, I haven't really lost any weight.