Time Out!

It seems sometimes that, in the words of James Taylor, people are too much for me to take. They continue in their destructive behavior which not only hurts themselves, but other people.

A long time ago, a man named Jonah found the people of Nineveh too much to take. When God told Jonah to go to this wicked town to minister to them, he blew God off and walked the other way.

As the story goes, Jonah gets aboard a ship and out of nowhere comes a storm. Jonah told the crew that his running away from the Lord caused this. They jettisoned him and Jonah got swallowed by a whale.

Time out!

Inside the whale, Jonah got to think about his attitude and his disobedience to God. He repented and asked God to guide him. Jonah returned to Nineveh and the town repented and turned to God and from their evil ways.

Jonah, however, didn’t like God’s compassion for the wicked city.

Jonah had written off Nineveh as a lost cause and wanted them destroyed. God didn’t.

Like a sibling who couldn’t wait to see his brother or sister punished, Jonah sat waiting to see God open a can of whoopass on Nineveh.

God made a vine grow over Jonah to protect him from the hot sun but then he brought a worm to chew the vine, leaving him exposed to the blazing hot sun. Jonah grew faint and wanted to die. He was angry at God.

God gave Jonah the message similar to the opening of the science fiction series The Outer Limits:  “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image; make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits.”  God showed Jonah that He was in control.

He compared this demonstration  to the people of Nineveh and told Jonah: “You have been concerned about the vine, though you did not tend it of make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than 920,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

The homeless community in lower Bucks County, PA is my Nineveh. Members of this community engage in destructive behavior – stealing, conniving, lying, manipulating, being drunk and disorderly in public. Some knuckleheads caused more responsible people to have to vacate their makeshift dwellings. A druggie stole two coats and a cell phone charger from a cancer patient I’m taking care of, after she was shown great hospitality as if she were a daughter.

It’s a human character flaw to wish, as Jonah did on Nineveh, bad things to happen to people when they wrong you. I told the victim of the druggie’s theft that I wished she would die out in the street from withdrawal.

The victim admonished me, reminding me that this is not a Christian view. She’s right, and I prayed to God to deal with the SAM (lower Bucks County PA druggie) the way Jesus would.

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” –Romans 12:19

God gives people 2nd chances. He gave me another chance. Like the people in Nineveh, I persisted in my sinful ways. After falling into a pit as a result of my behavior, I called out to God, who forgave me and rescued me and directed my paths.

Despite people, including myself, reaching out to people in the homeless community, they continue their destructive ways. I felt bad to see people I’ve tried to help turn to the dark side.

I’ve had to come to grips with the idea that my task is to obey God and show love towards others. After doing all I could do for someone, I’ve had to walk away. A friend told me that it was their choice and it wasn’t on me that she didn’t change. God, not I, am responsible for outcomes.

A counselor at a treatment center I visited told the visitors to make rules and set boundaries for their loved ones with addictions but to never condemn them. Good advice!

Don’t give up. Some time ago, a drug addict said that he wished he didn’t do what got him into the sorry state he was in. Although, as I told him, life is not a videogame where you can delete what you did, you can get back on the right track.

Drug users use more and more to try to get satisfied. They never reached their nirvana and end up flatlining. We strive for nirvana but never get completely satisfied. Drug addiction, like other sins, leads to destruction. As Neil Young sang:

“I’ve seen the needle and the damage done

A little part of it in everyone

But every junkie’s like a settin’ sun”

Like Nineveh, which God threatened to destroy if the people there didn’t come back to him, addicts and other people who regularly engage in other ungodly behavior still have a chance before they become toast.  At the 12 Steps Journey program I attend, which is not just for addictions but for other problems, I’ve seen people with big problems get their act together. It’s not quick as a wink you’re in the pink, but a long journey that requires devotion and constant turning to God. http://12stepjourney.com/

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” –Psalm 40:2

Through the Looking Glass

“If I did drugs, I could find a place. If I was an alcoholic, I could find a place. If you’re just on hard times, there’s nowhere to go.” said a homeless man about to be evicted from an encampment.

http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-02/news/31519830_1_homeless-tent-city-homeless-count-homeless-enclave 

It’s like we’re with Alice in lower Bucks County, PA, going through the looking glass into a bizarre, backwards world, where the Queen makes up rules as she goes along.

Druggies from all over the country have headed to Levittown, PA and vicinity, their mecca, where they find recovery houses, services, and drugs. Except for a rare  few, the druggies are not being cured and are bringing crime to the community, lowering property values, and clogging up housing which could be used for people who didn’t make the decision to engage in this destructive behavior.

Yesterday I got into a conversation with someone who had been in the emergency shelter and struggled to find a place for her and her family. She said that the recovery houses keep the homes in Levittown from being vacant – that they are being used. How about the innocent homeless? People with limited funds who are homeless mainly because they are out of work.

A deal could be worked out with these people, who are like normal residents, where they could use their time to fix up and maintain the houses, in the tradition of the Homestead Act of 1862. Unlike the druggies, the only difference between these homeless and the rest of the community is that they are low on funds and are struggling to find a place to live.

Why is it that the druggies are mollycoddled while the other homeless who didn’t engage in drug or alcohol abuse have to run Helter-Skelter for shelter?  Hummmmm…?

Because of the druggies – and drunks – there is a months long waiting list to even get into the emergency shelter in Levittown. As is often the case with the recovery houses, druggies and drunks have been using the shelter for a flophouse. I just learned that a drunk who was out of the community, living somewhere, is back in the shelter. I think this is at least the second or third time within about two years.

Holy revolving door, Batman!

August, 2014, I emailed Bucks County Commissioner Diane M Ellis-Marseglia and offered some ideas about how to resolve the homeless problem, which has plagued the county  since the late 80s. One idea is to set aside county land that is trucked away and use it for official homeless camping areas, the same way you would open land for tent and cabin camping.

The commissioner’s response: “That will not happen because there is too much liability. I also do not think that is helpful to the homeless. It just creates more space for them to avoid going to Housing Link and getting the referral,. they need, to start getting sober/clean, on medication, in therapy, signed up for assistance or some type of work, and a solid roof over their head…”

So the idea is that the homeless will just wait a year or two, which it takes to get county assisted housing, before getting a place to live. What do the homeless do in the meantime? What they’ve been doing, living in cars, sleeping on the pavement with sleeping bags, in the woods…

In an earlier email, Commissioner Marseglia said that people don’t want their taxes increased to help the homeless, but she pushed the idea of more mental health facilities and added to vote for people who will help the homeless. Just like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll may have been watching Bucks County  today when he wrote the story.

Recently, a homeless woman told me that she is offended at the idea that all homeless people have mental or drug problems. This is why various entities circulate data that fudges the facts in order to achieve a desired conclusion, much like the way the lie about human caused global warming and ozone depletion is made. The only thing this is consistent with is the bizarre, backwards world of Wonderland.

Based on the mental health hustlers aggressive canvassing, there seems to be plenty of room in the Inn at the nuthouses.

There is indeed an epidemic of drug abuse and other problems in our country today. Today’s society is getting curiouser and curiouser, to quote Alice. We didn’t have this social epidemic during the Eisenhower 50’s.

When I was in elementary school the Bible was still being read. We didn’t have school shootings back then. Cause and effect? You read my blogs; you’re smart. You can figure it out.

Here’s a link that addresses the Bible’s influence on society:  http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-influence.html  

Anytime At All

“Any time at all
Any time at all
Any time at all
All you gotta do is call
And I’ll be there”

–The Beatles Anytime At All

I have an idea that will help resolve the recovery house problem in Levittown, PA and vicinity, which will benefit the community and Penndel Mental Health Center.

By the way, I just had a discussion about my disagreement with Morris Derry’s comment where he said that 95 percent of the homeless have addiction/mental problems. Morris may have been talking about a specific area he’s dealt with. My reason for bringing it up on my last blog is that some homeless people in lower Bucks County PA said they object to being pigeonholed as having mental problems or addictions.

Morris’s organization, No More Pain Inc. Is doing good work for the homeless community in lower Bucks County, PA. All the homeless need mentoring in one form or another, even if they don’t have an addiction or mental problem. The percentage doesn’t matter; what counts is that people who need help can get help. Homelessness itself is a problem.

You can’t learn about people and expect to help them from behind a desk or in a book, although these tools are valuable. I remember reading something years ago: The computer study says the best way to get to know people is to talk with them. Good advice. Morris is continuing the mentoring trend the advocate Donna started. Although she moved with her family to Arizona, she is here in spirit and still stays in touch with her homeless friends.

Back to my impending satire:

My idea is to have a hotline in all the recovery houses in lower Bucks County which will alert Penndel Mental Health Center when a Sam (druggie in lower Bucks County) is about to be kicked out. It will work much like the Bat phone. When the Bucks County Agents who recruit for Penndel Mental Health call back, the recovery house will know it’s them by the ringtone “Anytime at all, anytime at all, all you gotta do is call, and I – ill be there.”

Penndel Mental Health will have a 60’s VW bus with psychedelic paint. The theme music, as the agents drive to the recovery house will be the 1975 disco hit “Do the Hustle…”

Here’s a typical scenario: “Batman, a Sam is about to get out of a recovery house and invade lower Bucks County.”

“We’re on our way, Sam Commander. Thanks for letting us know. We’ll take them to the slammer, I mean drug treatment, behavioral modification center. Don’t worry, we have a stockpile of prescription drugs on hand to keep the Sams from taking down Levittown.”

The feds and the recovery houses may not go along with this idea, as they may feel they are cutting into their turf.

Penndel Mental Health may win; they are endorsed by big pharmacy.

When the Sams are picked up, they will be given the words of a song they will sing:

ACT NATURALLY (parody of the Buck Owen’s song)

They’re going to put me in the nuthouse

They’re going to make a bigger monkey out of me

They’re going to put me in the nuthouse

Where the taxpayers fund big pharmacy

Psychiatry and Big Pharma are joined at the hip:

http://counterthink.com/Psychiatry_and_Big_Pharma.asp

http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/pn.40.16.00400003

They are in some cases. I believe, as I’ve pointed  out in previous blogs, they this is the case at Penndel Mental Health Center. As Paul Revere and the Raiders sang, there is a better way. Mentoring, especially faith based, is one effective tool for helping people.

Someone to Lean On

“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”
http://www.metrolyrics.com/lean-on-me-lyrics-bill-withers.html

There are a lot of people out there who are hurting and need a helping hand.

There are people out there who want to help. One such party is No More Pain, Inc.  On Tuesday night, the organization had a joint meeting with Pro-Act to find volunteers to mentor others with addiction and other problems. http://www.nomorepaininc.org/  

http://www.councilsepa.org/programs/pro-act/ 

No More Pain and Pro-Act trains committed volunteers to reach out and help those in need. One mission is mentoring people in prison and helping them get back into society.

A blog on a Salvation Army link argues that mentors are needed to help people released from prison get back on track.  http://www.salvationarmy.org/nhqblog/news/2014-06-20-the-revolving-door

Government programs can do only so much, in fact, in some cases they do more harm than good. Although I have from good authority that at least two of the recovery houses in the area seem to be doing the right thing and blend into the community (one recovery house boss told me his neighbors don’t know the house is a recovery house), in general the houses have created more crime and nuisance problems in the community.

Many recovery houses are a revolving door, with druggies getting kicked out and ending up homeless, taking up shelter space for people who just need a place to stay and in the woods and community causing problems. And Penndel Mental Health Center, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, is a bad joke.

Many people need help, in many ways. Volunteers at these two organizations give people the opportunity to put their lives in order.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, No More Pain owner Morris explained that people being mentored can in turn become mentors. People who have worked through issues are well equipped to mentor others.

Other groups, such as the 12 Steps Journey program also addresses drug and other addictions. The 12 Steps Journey also deals with anger, anxiety, depression, and other maladies. There is a common root of all these problems.

The program is free and you can just drop in on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in Levittown, and 6:30 p.m. in Newtown. See “meetings” on link. People who have gotten their addictions under control mentor others. There is a main leader and a few others regulars who lead the program. http://www.12stepjourney.com/ 

If we step up to the plate, we can make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t pay any attention to that man from the Bucks County Health Department. Remember, Oz didn’t give anything to the Tin Man, that he didn’t, didn’t already have.

Pro-Act states that there are many ways to recovery. I believe the only way people can be made right is through Jesus our Lord.

Homelessness is a need No More Pain addresses. They, as do others, bring food, clothing, talk to the homeless and help them in various ways. They don’t, however, actively address the problem of shelter for the homeless. In lower Bucks County, PA, nobody does. There is more vacant property in Bucks County then there are homeless. People, including myself, have been trying to put the two together but have been stonewalled, mainly by the County of Bucks.

Much of the problem for creating much needed shelter for the homeless is hobophobia, the irrational fear and distain of the homeless. Some of this is a result of the ignorance of people behind white picket fences and by the bad examples of some members of the homeless community, mostly druggies and to a lesser extent, drunks.

I don’t agree with Morris from No More Pain that 95 percent of the homeless have addiction or mental problems. Certainly there are a lot and the percentage is growing largely because of the local recovery houses. Addicts from all over the country end up in the local recovery houses, which created an explosion of the amount of druggies running the streets.

Conventional wisdom in Bucks County is that the homeless need treatment before housing. Alan Johnson from the Bucks County Health Department told me that “housing first” doesn’t work – that people have to get straightened out first. This presupposes that the homeless are all problematic, and ignores those who are homeless just because of job loss or similar circumstances.

In any case, people need help.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

–Galatians 6:2

For Whom The Bell Tolls

“Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee” — John Donne

A tragedy struck at a homeless camp early Sunday morning in Bristol Township, PA when a fire broke out in a motorhome at the camp, killing a 63 year old man. http://levittownnow.com/2016/02/21/homeless-man-killed-in-rv-fire/ 

The motorhome was donated to the residents of the homeless camp fall of 2014. About this time neighbors of the camp made complaints and the homeless campers were under threat of eviction. About a year later, the local district court ordered people out of the camp by early November, 2015. Concerned parties have filed an appeal.

The sword of Damocles is still hanging over their head.

Places for homeless people to go are constantly shrinking in lower Bucks County, PA. Even the emergency shelter in Levittown has a waiting list. I, like many others, were originally surprised to learn this.

It took me almost two years to figure out the main reason why shelter for the homeless is so hard to get. The main contributor is the local recovery houses, which number about 100! Druggies are piled in like cattle and they head out through the revolving door and end up in the emergency shelter, causing a waiting list and bringing crime and harassment of people who just need a place to stay.

Because the shelter is brimming with druggies, and to a lesser extent, drunks, people who fell on hard times who just need a place to stay end up on the street, scrounging to find a place to live. As in the popular musical, the hills may be alive with the sound of music, but the woods, shelters and streets are alive with the occupation of druggies, along with people who have become homeless not because of addictions or other social problems.

Druggies caused an eviction in the woods by the Levittown public library. Steve Long, Chief Bucks County Ranger, told me that this was a result of complaints about drug use and people with warrants. Syringes were found in the woods.

The Rangers circulated eviction notice fliers which included contacts for assistance, housing opportunities. Well, it takes a year or two to get aboard county assisted housing. The “assistance” offered no viable alternative to the woods.

The only other alternative is the nuthouse. Representatives from the Bucks County Health Department have been aggressively chasing homeless people to sign them up for mental health services, whether they need it or not, not to mention not having a choice where they go. I recently learned that some time ago, someone from the Bucks Health Department tried to bribe a homeless man to tell him where the homeless camps were located so he can Shanghai them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these ambulance chasers from the health department show up at the homeless camp where Sunday morning’s fire occurred. This is the same department that wouldn’t let a homeless woman with COPD sit in the WIC building in Levittown during business hours to get warm until the library opened.

All the State’s Horses and all the state’s men will not put homeless lives back together again. When I say “state”, I mean the government. As President Ronald Reagan said  “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

As a result of the federal government pushing and protecting recovery houses in lower Bucks County, PA, crime has gone up with the release of the Frankenstein-Druggie monsters on the community. Lately, the PA government is trying to find ways to clean up the abuses of the recovery houses. http://levittownnow.com/2016/02/16/head-of-pa-department-of-drug-and-alcohol-programs-speaks-about-certified-recovery-houses/ 

We’ll see how well this works. It’s a good idea to look into fixing the recovery houses, but I am skeptical, even if the problem of stuffing people into rooms like a flop house, poorly trained counselors and other problems  are resolved, this may not be the best solution, even if a voluntary certification program is put into place. Voluntary certification is a step in the right direction, however.

The problem is who certifies.

Homeless people with addictions or mental issues, like homeless people without addictions or mental problems, should have a choice, and not just be tossed into the official place and the official time for help. The recovery houses have just resulted in monsters being released into the community, and people who have just become homeless are put on hold for a year or two to get housing.

Penndel Mental Health Center is becoming, by fiat, the official treatment center for mental health in lower Bucks County, PA, whether people need their services or not. For drug addicts, the only thing that will change at the center is the legality of their drug use. Legal drugs is the sine qua non at Penndel Mental Health Center. They use drugs to control behavior. Isn’t that what druggies do on the street? They take drugs to feel better?

About two years ago I was a mess with anxiety and depression. I was introduced to someone from Penndel Mental Health who asked, first off, if I would be willing to take prescription drugs. I ended up as an outpatient at Penndel and was prescribed Paxil, which made my anxiety worse. I also started seeing a therapist at the same time. At one point, I stopped taking the Paxil, and the therapist told me I’m not supposed to get therapy without taking drugs.

Soon after, I also stopped the therapy with Penndel Mental Health and cut all ties with the institution.

The Cognitive Therapy used at Penndel, however, was a good model, a methodology for sorting out problems. The patient just has to fill in the blanks. In a nutshell, cognitive therapy tries to get the patient to think the right things in order to control behavior. The behavior that results from an idea is evaluated and then the patient thinks about how he can change his thinking to improve his life.

I’ve had to learn to do the right things by doing the wrong things. Now, I use God as a guide to control my thinking and behavior. After returning to God, I still had to reevaluate my thinking based on behavior. There was a homeless woman I spent time with whom I got very close to — even thought I was in love with. Someone thought I could help her with her drinking problem because I don’t have a drug or alcohol addiction and that we were both educated. She would get me to read books which we’d discuss and we’d have interesting conversations about literature, art, and other matters.

Like Robert Palmer, I was addicted to love. I’m still in recovery.

But the woman, like a dog returns to its vomit, returned to her drinking. She went to the dark side, being insulting, rude, and even tried to steal my cell phone. She also stole from others, almost everywhere she went. I kept thinking she would turn around and that our relationship would flourish. Wrong! Trying to steal my cell phone was the final straw.

There were two other woman I had a romantic interest in. They both seemed to have a negative outlook on life – certainly not the Christian view — were manipulative and harbored anger, resentment. One of them misused prescription drugs and the other street drugs. I’ve started to get my anger/resentment under control, thanks be to my faith in God. Getting into a close relationship with either of them would spell disaster; I’d be dragged down with them.

One of them kept asking me to be her errand boy and I’ve just kept my distance from the other. Whenever the latter sees me, she talks sweet to me and hugs and kisses me and we hold hands. Like Odysseus, I then steer away from the Siren to prevent disaster.

There are alternatives to the recovery houses and Penndel Mental Health Center. Gaudenzia treatment center, one of which is in lower Bucks County, is one option. It is faith based and the patients’ loved ones are part of the treatment. On visiting days, loved ones meet with staff to discuss problems. People I know have gone there for short term treatment. Gaudenzia has the sense to send the patients far away for long term treatment.

http://www.gaudenzia.org/ 

The recovery houses in lower Bucks County, PA have a revolving door, where the druggies are in and out of the homes, back on the street in an area where they know where they can find drugs. Originally, the druggies have come from different parts of the country and, by fiat, use the recovery houses as a way station on route to continue their addictions.

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”

John Donne

There are many hurting homeless people out on the street, struggling just to find a place to live. They need caring people to help them in different ways. Finding more shelter for them is a long term goal, a tough one for me and others to achieve. Meanwhile, we can feed their bodies and their souls.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, individuals and churches have reached out to the homeless. At the community meals, the hosts sit down with their guests and develop relationships. At one of the meals, a host talked one on one with a guy with an addiction problem who ended up at Gaudenzia. When I saw him there he told me he realizes that he needs to take treatment for his addiction seriously and needs to stay the course.

I told the guy who talked with the man who ministered to the man at a community meal about this. This was good news for him, as he didn’t know what he was doing since he saw him last.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

–Hebrews 13:2

Does Your Dog Bite?

I was walking the family dog in a park years ago, when a guy with his kids approached. “Does your dog bite?,” he asked. “No, do your kids?”, I replied.

Yesterday, when a man with a service dog entered the public library in Levittown, PA, Pat, the head librarian, told him he couldn’t have the dog in the library. It’s a legal service dog. I’ve seen the man with his service dog at community meals. The dog’s been very professional, friendly and well behaved. The dog’s legal status didn’t matter to this autocrat, who said “we don’t do that here.”

I was glad to see the man stand his ground. I had to leave and didn’t learn the outcome. The next time I see the man with the service dog I’ll ask what happened and will tell him I’ll gladly testify for him should he file a complaint with the Americans with Disabilities or whomever.

Here’s what the ADA has to say: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

The homeless are also not welcomed in the Levittown Public Library. Like the guy with the service dog, they have been standing their ground. Just one advocate from the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) and an outspoken spokesman for the group who is one of them have mitigated the prejudice against the homeless at the library and surrounding area. There was also a homeless guy who had the gift of schmoozing unwritten agreements with people in charge.

The security guy from the library and the municipal building made the effort to understand the local homeless and understand them as individual people. When the old guard was replaced at the municipal building, the outspoken homeless spokesman introduced himself to the new one and quipped “we’re going to have to break you in.” The official took it seriously, stating “nobody has to break me in. I’m a…” He soon lightened up and the two realized they were in agreement about many things.

As I mentioned in previous blogs, I think the druggies from the local recovery houses who run amok in the community like the Frankenstein monster have contributed to the prejudice against the homeless. Another factor is the white picket fence, judgmental new age types who frequent the Levittown library.

The Community Relations and Development Director at the local Salvation Army told me that people don’t like the homeless coming to the library – that they stink, are dirty, sloppy, unkempt, and leave food out all over the place. The homeless who visit the library don’t stink and aren’t dirty or sloppy. Sure, they don’t look like executives ready to go to the golf course, but I wouldn’t call them sloppy.

The homeless should be subject to the rules everybody is supposed to adhere to, and not singled out by class.

Not everybody is held to the same rules. People bring noisy, bratty kids, who screech  and run around the library as if they are at a playground. These types may very well be the ones who complain about the homeless. Some of the so-called parents are louder than the kids! There are two brothers who come in regularly who can be heard, very loudly, from one end of the library to the other. The librarian walks right past these boisterous people yet says nothing to them.

Just as most domestic dogs don’t bite, most homeless people act civilly in public places. Not the same can be said about the druggies, who tend to mingle with the general homeless. There has been many cases where the homeless were allowed to camp out, either with tacit or direct permission to stay at various places, where a few idiots abuse the privilege and generally cause problems, resulting in everyone getting booted out.

Some bus stops where the homeless and needy catch the bus were relocated because of foul language, panhandling, fighting and other problems, mostly created by the druggies.

It’s said you can’t teach and old dog new tricks. I disagree. You can teach and old dog new tricks. That is, if the old dog is willing to dump old bad habits and learn good ones. Even with the druggies and homeless with other problems, positive change is possible. Although I wasn’t addicted to drugs or other substances, I engaged in destructive behavior and was on a downward spiral, ready to give up.

But this dog has learned new tricks.

Dogs don’t have to bite. Even a good dog, if taunted and backed into a corner may turn on you. But even abused dogs can become loving creatures if shown love. My sister has a rescued dog who has quickly become a lovable member of the family.

Believe it or not, there are people here even in lower Bucks County, PA who have shown Christian love and concern for others, and are in the process of figuring out ways to better help the homeless here.

Awhile back, at one of the community meals, one of the hosts ministered to a man with an addiction problem one on one for much of the meal.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

-Galatians 6:2 

While visiting a friend at a short term treatment center, I ran into the guy, who realizes he need to be fully committed to treatment and is on his way to a brighter future.

 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

-Ephesians 4:22-24 English Standard Version (ESV)

What is “is” ?

What is “is”?, quipped a previous progressive President when he wanted to evade a probing question. This is not unique. The government does not have an absolute definition on other matters, such as “what is marriage?”

To the church, marriage is a union of a man and a woman, which is designed to create children, whom the parents teach to further the faith. Recently, instead of defining marriage as strictly a union that started with Adam and Eve, the government has co-opted it and said that marriage could also be a union between Adam and Steve. What’s next? Because there are no absolutes, why not call marriage a union between Adam and Fido, or between Adam and Betsy the cow?

During the 50’s, traditional marriage was the societal norm. Then came the turbulent, flower power sixties, where everyone called each other “brother” or “sister”, particularly among the children, as they couldn’t for sure determine their fathers.

Then came the Femi-Nazis, during the “me decade” of the 70’s. Sociology Professor Marlene Dixon of the University of Chicago sociology said “The institution of marriage is the chief vehicle for the perpetuation of the oppression of women.” Frederick Engels, Karl Marx’s Communist sidekick, wrote that “marriage is legalized prostitution; in a capitalistic marriage.”

The ancient Greeks also had a negative view of marriage. Greek gods, who were mad at Prometheus for giving men fire, sent men a psycho b-itch named Pandora, who is rumored to be an ancestor of Hillary Clinton. Gangsta’ rappers depict women as a Pandora.

Because the state has gone beyond treating “marriage” as a civil union, which delineates obligations concerning guardianship of children, property ownership, responsibilities for debts, etc., and redefined marriage, some Christians think that some leaders of the Reformation were right about thinking church and state should be separate.

The problem, as I see it, is that the church needs to be a good influence on the government. During the Eisenhower 50’s, it did. Our country had a Christian consensus. Our culture was a result of the healthy, nuclear family influencing society. Families stayed together, parents disciplined their children, people lived within their means and they worked hard and acted responsibly.

Our country prospered as we operated as a free market society, where there’s a free choice between sellers and buyers and there was peace and prosperity.

But all that changed. In the mid 60’s, with President LBJ’s so-called Great Society, and his alleged War on Poverty, the family unit, especially among black families, was destroyed. As a result, there was more crime and poverty. I explored this in detail in my blog What’s so Great About the Great Society.

In the 70’s, Christian theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer. who founded L’Abri Fellowship, wrote that crime and law enforcement is increasing and that freedom has been abused. One of two things will happen, Dr. Schaeffer wrote: either we will have to have a police state to control behavior, or we’ll have to have a Christian revival, and we change people from the inside.

http://www.labri.org/ 

The destruction of the free market, and the use of the government to be a thug, through eminent domain for a bully such as Presidential candidate Donald Trump, is creating a tyrannical society. Fortunately, Trump did not succeed in using the government for a land grab in the case where he wanted a window’s property for his gambling business and in another matter.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/265171/donald-trump-and-eminent-domain-robert-verbruggen

In Levittown, PA is an example of a tyrannical government. As I noted in earlier blogs, the feds are forcing recovery houses on the community against its wishes, and escaped druggies run amok in the community like Frankenstein monsters. Because of these monsters, a security guard was placed in the Levittown public library and has given the head librarian an excuse to create a police state.

It seems that anyone who doesn’t fit the librarian’s arbitrary  criteria is treated like a mindless drug addict, especially the homeless. Earlier today I left my laptop in a far corner of the library and ran a scan while I used the library computer, periodically checking on it. The last time I checked it was gone.

Big Brother Librarian snatched my private property and took it to the office. When I complained about them seizing my private property while it was running a scan, one of the stormtroopers said that someone may need the space, although there were about ½ dozen tables open.

Of course one can’t reason with someone who struggles to define what “is” is.

This must be the government rulers definition of what a public servant is. Evidently, it isn’t how Webster defines it or what a public servant was during the Eisenhower 50’s!

And the mental health hustlers continue to try to shanghai homeless people. I recently said one of them with a clipboard at a community meal. He saw me and escaped. Before long, Penndel Mental Health Center will start putting large advertisements on the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) busses that take the homeless to community meals. After all, Big Brother knows best!

Wait For It!

The past two years have been a test of faith — job loss, dog dying, problems with problem people, severed relationships, etc. This took a toll. And the latest, a car accident.

A Christian sister once told me that if you pray, then you don’t have to worry, and if you worry, why bother to pray. The two ideas are mutually exclusive, she implied.

The choice is either to ring your hands and become a nervous wreck or wait patiently for God to deliver you.

My mother used to cite an old German saying: “Why is it so soon we become old but so late we become smart?” My grandmother used to quote Proverbs 3:5 : “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

After I lost my job and could not get regular work, my funds dwindled. I soon scrambled to find food to eat. I found a local food pantry but that wasn’t enough. I volunteered at the food pantry. As my funds ran dry, I kept losing things, like the woman in an episode in The Twilight Zone, a spendthrift who struck a deal with the only creditor who would take her on, but with the condition that when she misses a payment, something is taken from her. First the cat, then the dog, then her kids, then her husband, then her house, then her car. For me, one of the things to go was my Internet service.

So I used the Wi-Fi at the local library. I befriended some homeless people I knew from the community center where I went to  meals for the homeless and those in need. I didn’t have my car and the told me about a free bus that takes them to other community meals. Some of the hosts also had food banks.

I was able to find sporadic work. At Christmas time, a local homeless advocate set up a Christmas party at the Levittown Public Library, where I was given Wawa and Walmart gift cards. I used the Walmart gift card to buy some insulated, waterproof boots, which I really needed.

After my house was sold, I got my car back and got money from various sources.

It was circumstance after circumstance where I couldn’t see a positive outcome but God provided for me in the end. Each time, I worried, but then felt silly after things went OK.

A little more than a week ago, a car turned into a car wash, darting right in front of me as I was driving the other way. Nobody got hurt, but the one of my wheels was smashed in and the car was undrivable. I was worried that I would not be able to take a cancer patient I’ve been taking care of to her appointment at the cancer center a few days later.

The next morning, my insurance company told me that Geico, the other party’s company, accepted full liability and I drove off in a rental car before noon, courtesy of Geico.

Through Geico’s website via email, I was able to buy another car, without draining my account too much.

By now, it’s finally starting to sink in that God has my back. I still have to be reminded, though.

I continue to associate with the homeless in lower Bucks County and still go to the community meals, which is not just about food but about fellowship. Some friends I meet there talk about their faith in God. There has been problems at the meals — arguments and other drama, but lately the meals have been more civil.

There are things people on a low budget can do for themselves. I found the chair yoga class very healthy. It helps my breathing, relaxing me and helps my well being. The physical part is good. I just ignore or laugh at the humanist-pagan elements, such as us being able to bring peace and light to our world on our own. One substitute teacher was hard core. For about five minutes, we waved our hand back and forth chanting “I am”. As I told a friend in the class “It’s the Popeye thesis; I am what I am!”

I’ve found Kava tea, a natural muscle relaxer, to help prevent cramps and to relax. Bananas also prevent cramps.

Another thing I found helpful is the 12 Steps Journey program. Based on the original 12 Step Program, this faith based program helps people get their act together, including quelling anxiety, restoring them by letting God mold them into what he designed them to be.

http://www.12stepjourney.com/ 

A Christian friend used to say “God’s got it!”

As a sergeant would tell the marching formation waiting for his instruction, “wait for it”!

 

 

Sams Taking Down Levittown

Surface to air missiles, known as SAMS, were a problem for fighter planes in Vietnam. It was a SAM that took down then Commander John McCain’s fighter jet in Vietnam.

During the reign of President LBJ, when he ran the so-called war from the Whitehouse in an asinine manner, our GIs, including pilots, were unnecessarily put at risk. The idea that the war would be more winnable if the military, rather than the politicians, ran it is the subject of the movie Flight of the Intruder. Tired of having guys killed on useless missions, a fighter pilot and his navigator go on an unauthorized bombing raid on Hanoi to bomb a SAM base.

The flyers are court martialed but, after the policy changes, they are let off the hook. The Navy prosecutor who tries them, played by Fred Thompson, told them “it would be silly” to convict them for doing what the military is now doing, bombing Hanoi with everything they got.

http://www.movies.com/flight-intruder/details/m31986

Just as the politicians screwed up the war in Vietnam, the federal government is creating problems in Levittown PA by allowing the SAMS to endanger the community. “SAM” is a synonym for a druggie in lower Bucks County, just as “Krout” was a by-word for Germans during WWII.

SAMs have been bombarding lower Bucks County. Their base is the recovery houses, promoted and protected by the federal government. Like LBJ’s policy in Vietnam, these houses continue to grow like weeds, releasing SAMs on neighborhoods, the Levittown Public Library, and the rest of the community.

Crime has greatly increased in neighborhoods that recovery houses invaded. A couple years ago, the Levittown public library added a security guy, mainly as result of the druggies, mostly from the recovery houses.

At the very least, lower Bucks County needs to put a moratorium on recovery houses. They are revolving doors, where druggies often get kicked out and join the ranks of the homeless. Unfortunately, people associate non-druggie homeless with the druggies who have become homeless. This contributes to hobophobia. For those of you in Doylestown, PA, “hobophobia” is the unreasonable fear of the homeless.

Profiling druggies is legitimate. They  lie cheat and steal and will lower themselves to any level to satiate their expensive addiction. One SAM went as low as to steal a favorite purple coat and cell phone charger from a cancer stricken woman while she was sleeping.

To illustrate how low SAMS will go, here is an adaptation from Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham:

“Sam I am, would you steal from someone on a plane?”

“Yes I would steal from someone on a plane,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, would you steal from someone on a train?”

“Yes I would steal from someone on a train,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, would you steal from someone in the rain?”

“Yes I would steal from someone in the rain,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, would you keeping doing drugs until it makes you insane?”

“Yes I would keep doing drugs until it makes me insane,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, would you steal from someone walking with a cane?”

“Yes I would steal from someone walking with a cane,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, would you sell your daughter to a pimp?”

“Yes I would sell my daughter to a pimp,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, would you sell yourself until you limp?”

“Yes I’d sell myself until I limp,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, will you steal from a sick old lady sleeping in bed?”

“Yes I would steal from a sick old lady sleeping in bed,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, would you pretend to be in love with a guy not to be in the red?”

“Yes I would pretend to be in love with a guy not to be in the red,” said Sam I am.

“Sam I am, is there anything you not do to satisfy your addiction?”

“I can’t think of anything I would not do to satisfy my addiction,” said Sam I am.

“Except I would not eat green eggs and ham,” said Sam I am.

Passing on Goodness

Our late sister, Martha Dayman, a baby boomer, survived homelessness. She was an excellent example of someone being homeless who still maintained her dignity. I don’t remember her lashing out at anyone; she kept the interests of others in the local homeless population in Levittown, PA at heart and helped make sure they were alright.

Martha cared.

“She was like a grandmother to me”, said a member of her adopted family in the homeless community, when he learned he wasn’t able to get a ride to her burial. Although donations to the family went to the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need, AHTN did not provide transportation for any of  Martha’s  local homeless family to go to the viewing/funeral or to her burial. Some members of “The Memorial Mob”, as many of the friends in her circle were affectionately called, missed paying their respects to their beloved friend.

AHTN doesn’t care about these matters, but only about their own self-aggrandizement. AHTN didn’t even mention Martha’s passing after a bout with cancer on their website or Facebook page, let alone not showing their respects by attending any of the events to honor her. AHTN likes publicity that trumpets how wonderful they are.

All I found on AHTN’s Facebook page shortly after Martha’s passing were  links with psychobabble: “The number (of homeless people) will never get down to zero since people have the right to live outdoors, one advocate said” and “Bucks County’s homeless population continues to climb six years after the federal government declared an end to the recession”.   Liberal spin

I am considering writing and book about the homeless and donating some of the proceeds to help the homeless. I would not donate a penny to AHTN!

There was, however, a former member of AHTN, who ministered to “the library people”  and was always there for Martha. On one occasion, when Martha was in the Levittown library crying about something bad that happened to her, Donna went right over to her to console her. Donna also resolved Martha’s problem.

Donna, who has moved with her family to Arizona, like some other caring people in the community, has ministered to others in the homeless and needy community.

It’s cold outside and the homeless do what they can to survive. When it’s very cold — and Code Blue has been open to shelter the homeless overnight — the homeless at least have a place to stay warm at night. But places to go during the day are limited to the hours they are open. And some public places limit the time the homeless can stay at their establishments.

Staying dry is perhaps a bigger problem than just staying warm. Some homeless people only have sneakers, mainly the new ones. Gracious churches and benevolent organizations such as No More Pain Inc. has helped out with footwear, clothing, and food. After I lost my job and couldn’t find regular work, someone from a local church gave out gift cards at a Christmas party for the homeless. I used the card to get a pair of warm, waterproof boots.

People in the community have pursued using vacant property to house the homeless. I’m a publicist for a nascent organization which has been trying to make this a reality. This idea has been stonewalled by the Bucks County establishment, which only offers lame excuses as to why this can’t happen.

When the homeless get wet, they can’t just go home, remove their wet clothes, shower, and change into something warm. This is something people with homes take for granted.

Martha was an excellent example of the way many homeless people are. Some people in the homeless community continue her tradition of caring for others and bonding together, like the characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath

Some people and the government of Bucks County are indifferent to the plight of the homeless. They say that they care about the homeless and want to help them, but talk is cheap.

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?…” -James 2: 15,16

Except for some friends, all the homeless  have is each other.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

Philippians 2:3 New International Version (NIV)

This is the motto the homeless community needs to take to heart. Martha did.