Do the lessons of the world yell at you like they yell at me?
I worked at Perkins restaurant washing dishes when I was 14. The manager said I was doing too much. I played the trombone. I played the cello and I was in choir. He said I needed to quit something. I was doing too much. He was right. So I quit his job. (He told me that wasn't what he meant.)
I was principal cellist in the Baldwin Wallace Orchestra. I was on a full scholarship. The director once told the orchestra that if we weren't fully committed we should get out of music. He was right. I left the program. (He told me he wasn't talking to me.)
I once heard Councilwoman Omobien speak. She said if you want something done don't look for others to do it. Do it yourself. That was the beginning of me putting 50 tents on my land for the forgotten homeless people of Akron. (I don't know if she would have approved or not. I think she is torn.)
People call me a loose cannon. But I feel like I'm an incredibly loyal and committed student of the lessons of the world. Just because you don't like how I interpret your wisdom doesn't make me random and chaotic. If anything, it makes me one of the most predictable people you will probably ever meet.
The problem is integrity.
Where I and most of the world disagree, it seems, is where we each fall on the spectrum of being true to ourselves.
The other problem is that my fear switch is mostly broken. I'm just rarely afraid.
Let me ask you this: if I saw a puppy in a burning house, what do you think I would do? (I sincerely hope by now you know without question I would rush in to save the puppy.)
See. That's not a loose cannon. That's someone with a broken fear switch and a high level of integrity.
My homeless friend, Kenny Boldt, taught me 2 incredible lessons. The one that is applicable to today's story is: Do the right thing.
Life gets incredibly easy when you put that statement in the front of everything.
How should I act? What should I do?
Do the right thing.
I knew I had to leave the Homeless Charity when they said it was too much of a risk to have a known sex worker living on the charity's land.
I imagine they were at least a little caught off guard when I immediately resigned as executive director.
Probably in their eyes I fell into the loose cannon camp.
But of course I would resign. How could I not?
I live and die by the wisdom of Kenny Boldt. Do the right thing.
I still love The Homeless Charity. And they continue to run 2 transitional houses for homeless people, among many other things. And furthermore, I get where they were coming from with their concern about people doing illegal things on their land.
But I simply couldn't stay.
They presented a life lesson to me. I asked them what Jesus would do with a sex worker. They told me I had responsibilities to protect the charity as executive director. I agreed. So I left. Super simple.
I also learned that I can't do the work I am called to do in a group, in a charity. Invariably, the organization becomes more important than the cause. You can see it clear as day in every single charity that got big.
So I've decided to do the work I am called to do as an individual, not as a charity.
I am not a professional surveyor, so the picture I am about to show you is not the most accurate rendition of land ownership you will ever see. But hopefully you'll get the idea.
The red circle is land I personally just bought this week. The orange circle is land I now currently own.
That's the building at 15 Broad Street and land around it.
The land behind the building is now officially being called: The Dorothy Day Garden For The Forgotten and Unloved.
As long as I own that land it will be a garden where all are invited. If you don't know who Dorathy Day is, here is a brief summary of her:
Dorothy Day was an American journalist, social activist and anarchist who, after a bohemian youth, became a Catholic Christian without in any way abandoning her social and anarchist activism. She was perhaps the best-known political radical in the American Catholic Church.
Dorothy Day was the walking icon of the principle: Do the right thing.
Dorothy Day is one of my great teachers. She is who I continually aspire to be.
She began the Catholic Workers Movement which included Catholic Workers Houses. Anyone can have a Catholic Workers House.
You can learn about their values here:
They typically refuse nonprofit status because of their anti-tax stance. You can learn more about that fight here:
There are many dangers to integrity on all fronts. The government wants obedience to the state, not some "unrealistic" morality to the Forgotten and Unloved. Organizations all eventually just start chanting the phrase "It's too much of a liability."
Being independent allows me to brush those worries aside so I can focus on being an unrealistic idealist with integrity.
Staying independent will help me stay true to my personal values.
(But I will always pay my taxes. There is power in land ownership. It's hard enough to keep the government off your land even if you follow every law and pay every dime in tax.)
Integrity is a chicken bone in the throat of reality instructors. If nothing else, I want them to wrestle with the "Sage Conundrum." What do we do with a guy like Sage?
The answer is written in the Bible, of course, as well as all throughout human history. But hopefully I will be a symbol to remind you of what many of you have professed to be faithful to. There was a guy named Jesus who asked you to be true to God. I'm asking you to be true to Jesus. And if you don't care for Jesus then be true to Kenny Boldt: Do the right thing.