Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Watch out for fake homeless men in Norman…

The guy pictured above is Dusty Buff. No, he’s not a retired a porn star. He’s the pastor for Grace Church Norman. If you’ve ever wanted to give Dusty some loose change, a warm coat, or yell at him “GET A JOB!!!”, this would be a good week to do so. He and an OU student are conducting a “social experiment” by pretending to be homeless for 10 days. Hopefully they don’t get stabbed while eating pizza.

From an Emma Hamblin article in the OU Daily:

An OU student and local pastor are leaving their homes and hitting the streets for ten days to gain perspective on the treatment and daily experience of the homeless.

Music education senior Philip Nguyen and Grace Church lead pastor Dustin Buff began the social experiment Sunday.

Buff and Nguyen each only took a sleeping bag, a Bible, two forms of ID, a cell phone and one change of clothes, Nguyen said.

The cell phones will be used as a safety precaution, and Buff will use his to keep in contact with his wife, Nguyen said.

Nguyen seeks to gain perspective on what it’s like to be a homeless college student who has to figure out where to eat and sleep, he said.

I’m sure this will work out well. We have a church pastor and future band teacher pretending to be homeless. It sounds like the plot from one of Brandy McDonnell’s unpublished erotica novels. At least they’ll have cell phones with them for “protection,” because you know, nothing will scare away psychotic transient meth addicts more than a cell phone they want to steal.

Actually, isn’t having a cell phone kind of cheating? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a homeless man playing a game of Words With Friends against his wife while panhandling at an intersection. In my book, when you’re 100% sober, reading the bible, and have a cell phone in your pocket, you’re not doing a good job at pretending to be homeless. It would be like competing on Survivor to help better understand what it’s like to be shipwrecked on an island. 

Anyway, I hope these guys survive their social experiment and will be able to successfully exploit their entire experience at church. Not to ruin the plot, but I think they discover that accepting Jesus is the one-way ticket out of homelessness. Also, lets hope this undercover homeless operation works out a lot better than it did on Season 5 of the Wire. If we get word of a strange homeless serial killer haunting transients in Norman, we’ll know where to look.


  1. The fact that this was publicized before it happened makes it even more ridiculous than it already is. I bet their “stories” will be horrifying! The OU kid still has to make it to class, it must be tough being homeless living around campus with a student ID.

    • The story in the Transcript ran one day into the venture and the story in the Daily ran two days into it.

    • They actually have received no money, but they have given portions of their meals at food and shelter to other homeless people. Also the pastor of this church does not ask for money at the church.People give tithe to keep the building up and to help others. He and his wife have jobs outside of the church, in which they tithe as well, so your argument does not stand very strong.

  2. If these McChurches spent as much time feeding hungry people as they do with marketing gimmicks . . . Next, one of them will feature electric guitars, video screens, laser light shows and occasionally trot in some guy in a buffalo costume to hug retards. Wait.

  3. Every homeless person I see has a sign sez “God Bless” so I’m thinking that whole “one way out of homelessness” theory may have as many holes as a homeless guy’s socks.

  4. The only way I can tell the difference between a bearded hipster and a homeless person IS the possession of a cell phone.

  5. God, I hate these types of stunts. Ten days sleeping on the “rough” streets of Norman is not going to tell you anything about what it’s like being homeless. Begging for money and food on false pretenses is plain wrong. If I gave a homeless guy a fiver and he turned out to be a mega church pastor, I’d want to kick his teeth in.

    • It may be wrong, but “kicking his teeth in” is not proportional punishment, jerk face.

  6. The Transcript had an article about this too. From the photos in both papers with the captions about them staying in a woody area of east Norman, I can tell you that they’re probably staying in the George Sutton Wilderness area, which is a known gay cruising spot. So maybe they’re on more than one kind of mission.

  7. As someone who’s actually *been* homeless, I can safely say that these posers are one of the biggest problems we have.

  8. They just had better not come to the “Big League City” and try to take me and my buddy’s corner @ Western and Sheridan. “One-Eyed” Mick will kick the shiite out of them with his one good leg.

  9. Wait a minute!! I’ve seen several “homeless” people with signs at Reno and Eastern with cell phones!! and…another question…why do most of the homeless people SMOKE? They seem to have money for smokes…

  10. Hmm… living on the street to gain perspective… As someone who was kicked out of my house as a 19 year old with no job, I can tell them the perspective. It sucks because you don’t know what to do, but it freaking rules because you can do whatever the hell you feel like. There. Perspective gained and you didn’t have to tell your UCO graduate wife, 2 kids, and 2 dogs goodbye as they stood in the doorway of your warm, hard wood floored 3 bedroom bungalow. Cynisism aside, this is still a really half brained, half assed attempt to “reach out to an underworld that needs it.” How about instead of living among the homeless, you feed them with food. Put them in a center so that they can have some drive to produce something in this society besides a minor inconvience that stares at me before I get on the highway while I enjoy my smash burger or asks me to give them a cigarette as I casually walk into my local best buy.

    • The thing is they actually do things to feed the homeless all the time. They have done many charities for them before this. They stated,”we have done so many things for the homeless that it feels like we cover the real problem with a band aid” this is to gain insight so they can do those things better

  11. I also wanted to add Grace Church is not you average church. We extend love to anyone no matter who or what you are. By the way I am glad to be the subject matter in this blog because I do enjoy this blog most of the time.

    • I don’t completely disagree with what you are trying to accomplish. What I disagree with is the fact that this was publicized before it happened. Why do you need to self promote a good deed? Just go do it and if the press finds out about it afterwards, then give them a story.

      • Obviously notice was given to the congregation, as our pastor will miss this Sunday’s service. Both the Norman Transcript as well as the OU Daily ran stories one and two days into the process, respectively.

  12. I saw the pastor sitting outside of Jamba Juice drinking a smoothie the other day. If your gonna pretend to be homeless at least do it right and sit outside the 7-11 and bum smokes and beer money. How many homeless people have you seen sitting outside of a Jamba Juice for crying out loud!

    • I can assure you that they did not have Jamba juice. I am the one pictured above, it is not the pastor. I have been to jamba juice within the last couple of days, so I can see where you could be confused. Plus they only started this on Sunday so I still seriously doubt you have seen them sipping down jamba. I saw them tonight, and talked to them on the street. They said the most money they have had is a dollar, so not enough to get jamba juice. So again you must have mistaken it as me or another bearded man.So thank you, false informer.

      • Well next time don’t sit outside the Jamba Juice with all your crap laid out around like a homeless man and I won’t get confused. And I’m sure y’all re just like all the other mega churches and pick and choose which scriptures you go by.

  13. …this is pretty much what I do when I camp out with the kids….I stick the kids in a tent but I sleep on top of picnic table. Next time we go, I’ll notify the press. you can call it a social experiment, I call it family time.

  14. Norman has one homeless person and that’s the old asian dude. I think the white bread pastor dressed in Abercrombie would be easy to spot.

  15. Okay, once more for the people in the cheap seats on behalf of those of use who were and who still are currently homeless.


    STOP. Just stop. You are not helping. You are not learning. You are in fact harming. You are taking what little resources are available away from those who actually need them to survive. They don’t need you to take up their space under false pretenses. You are not being a kind and generous person, you are just being a douche.

    As a side note, I feel that it is important that you also stop forcing bible verses at them. They don’t need your religion. In fact, I hate to break it to you, but half of the people who tell you that they’re good Christians do so only because you won’t help them otherwise. It rather belies your own claims of Christianity that you even ask to begin with.

    In any case, as I may have mentioned previously,

    STOP. If you continue it’s merely added evidence that this is nothing but a superficial, self-aggrandizing publicity stunt.

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