All I Want To Do

“All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I’m not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I’m not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard”

-Lyrics From Sheryl Crow’s All I Wanna Do

Is all you want to do in life is have some fun, until the sun comes up over Santi Monica Boulevard? Hummmm?

An article on LevittownNow.com reminded me of the drug problem in Bucks County, PA. Back in April, 2013 neighbors found a 27 year-old guy dead along the fence line at Red Cedar Drive and New Falls Road near the walking path, not far from the Levittown public library complex. A few months later, in July, the coroner said the cause was drug overdose.

He had some fun until the sun came up over Red Cedar Drive and New Falls Road.

This incident is just the tip of the iceberg in the drug abuse in Bucks County, a leader in the nation’s epidemic.

http://levittownnow.com/2013/07/17/coroner-drugs-killed-man-found-dead-along-new-falls-road/

Another article on LevittownNow.com reports that drug overdoses in PA has increased four times in the last 35 years!  http://levittownnow.com/2016/03/16/drug-overdose-deaths-in-pa-increases-14-fold-in-last-25-years/

One wonders why so many people today engage in destructive behavior.

“Because Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?”, to quote Bob Dylan.

We have lost our moral compass. We used to have a Christian consensus but we are becoming rudderless, drifting aimlessly towards a moral abyss.

Can we change course and head in the right direction?

This country needs to return to God. Churches need to teach the unadulterated gospel and people need to worship God in sprit and in truth, not just knowing what’s right but doing it. If we don’t get on the right course, we will be shipwrecked!

The 1987 movie The Untouchables illustrates the depraved society, with corrupt politicians of the progressive era in America. These are the fruits that resulted then, as today, in a godless society. As our nation started turning to God, we overcame and became a better society. But then we backslid. History repeats itself.

At one point, our country realized that banning alcohol because of the problems  of a few who abused it didn’t work.  Enter Alcoholics Anonymous’, which over time  created the 12 Steps program (it started with six steps) to deal with peoples’  drinking problems by changing them from the inside.

Changing people from the inside is the way we can cure drug and other problems. I attend the 12 Steps Journey program, which addresses drug, alcohol, depression, anxiety, anger, and other problems from their root cause. http://www.12stepjourney.com/ There are weekly meetings at a church in Levittown and in Newtown.

Back in the 70’s, evangelist Francis Schaeffer said that freedom in our country has been misused, and that to handle the nation’s problems, we’ll either have to create a police state, where people are controlled from the outside, or have a Reformed Christian revival, where people are controlled from the inside.

Christ is the only way to change people from the inside.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” –2nd Chronicles 7:14

Respect Yourself!

“Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don’t respect yourself
Ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na
Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself…”

-lyrics from The Staple Singers’ Respect Yourself

At a recent community meal for the homeless and needy, one of the guests told another guest that she should have more respect for herself. She was not happy with the meal everyone else was served by gracious hosts. “Do you have anything with beef in it?”, she inquired. Known as “The Queen of England”, this guest kept bugging the host and others for something or another. At one point, she went to a table where deserts sat waiting to be served and helped herself and walked off with a big chunk of cake!

This behavior is not typical of homeless people. Bad behavior, especially the gimee-gimee, entitlement mentality is indicative of today’s society.

How do we deal with character flaws such as this? Witnessing this behavior, I became disgusted and angry about how someone who is getting a free meal acts like she is the only one being served and makes excessive demands. I talked with two of the hosts about this. One said she knows how to handle this person – it doesn’t bother her. Another host explained that he tries to find the line between enabling this  behavior and showing Christian love, grace.

A counselor at a center for drug and alcohol abuse told people visiting their loved ones there that they need to set rules and have borders but never to condemn their loved ones with problems.

We all are sinners. Christians are sinners saved by grace.

As a Christian who has been around the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA for more than two years, I sometimes struggle to reflect God’s grace. I have to question my motivation for my thinking and, as it says in the book of James, to say and do things that should spring out of my faith.

“Two dead batteries won’t start a car” is a saying used in recovery. I heard it used in the context of males and females in recovery not getting involved in a romantic relationship because they need to get their own act together first. Likewise, I need to get my life in line with God’s ways before I can relate to and influence others. I have to practice what I preach.

My motivation needs to be scriptural: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

-Philippians 2:3

In the case of The Queen, it’s right to think that her behavior was wrong, but not to judge with a sense of moral superiority. The two hosts were in charge of the situation; it was their call how to handle the problem.

I have wronged others. I have failed to do what is right, but God is working in me to follow Him and love my neighbor as myself. By doing this, I have more peace and more respect for God and, as a child of God, myself. If I don’t respect myself for others I won’t give a good cahoot, na na na na.

After much reflection about my role among the homeless, I’ve decided that I have to work on my attitude and do things God’s way, and  lean not on mine own understanding.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

–Matthew 5:16

Save The Homeless From Progressives

Like FDR’s New Raw Deal, the progressives war on traditional energy sources hurts the little guy, especially the homeless.

Awhile back, in her newsletter, PA State Representative Tina Davis praised the PA governor, Big Bad Tom Wolf for his mandate to stop harvesting resources on state lands. She admitted that by letting businesses to continue business as usual, it would help the economy, but, (drum roll) it is more important to save the environment. This is a bogus claim.

The generals in this war on traditional energy to save the environment do not give us any specifics as to how they are protecting the environment with their initiatives.

We need someone to save us from these charlatans. There have, in fact, been some victories against them.

In Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie, a large movie producer, Engulf & Devour plots to take over a small producer, who has a problem with alcohol by paying a bimbo to play up to him then break his heart so he could go back on the booze and ruin his business. Engulf & Devour writes a check to the bimbo for: “Pretending to be in love with…”.  If politicians like Tina Davis, the Bimbo of Bristol Township and Governor Big Bad Wolf were as honest as Engulf & Devour, they would put a check written by the High Priests of Ozone and Human Caused Global Warming on Facebook that would read “For pretending the sky is falling.”

As Chris Edwards points out in a piece in The Cato Institute, FDR’s New Deal   “favored fat cats over average families.”

http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/tbb-0508-25.pdf

The government catered to the large farms by having them even burn crops, while people go hungry, in order to reduce the supply to keep prices high.  This hurt the little guy, such as the Joads, the characters depicted in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrathhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath

Likewise, social engineering for alternative energy sources by today’s progressives favors fat cats over average families. We have clean air and water in this country already. When my daughter visited England she said the air was not as clean as in Levittown, PA, and she coughed a bit. What the elites’ social engineering does is hurt the economy. This leads to more homelessness.

We need to pay attention to the (wo) man behind the curtain. Oz, like Shrillery, can’t give anything to the Tin Man, that he doesn’t, doesn’t already have. The magical kingdom, a perfect environment, as found in the Land of Oz is fantasy. The real world is back in Kansas, where, as Oz said when he came clean, there are real things people can do to make things better.

“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  –John 8:32

The Free Market and Homelessness

Hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless, was a reason I gave in my last blog for the lack of shelter for the homeless in Bucks County, PA. Today I’ll address the economic causes of homelessness.

Unfounded, unproven alternative energy initiatives cripple the economy. They are underwritten by the government, using tax money to fund this pipe dream. A good example of this is Solyndra, Barry’s boondoggleThe manufacturer of advanced solar panels received a $535 million loan guarantee to build a factory outside of San Francisco.

Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011 amid falling prices for solar panels, and has since served as the poster child for government policy gone bad. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra

Its assets were being auctioned off, and DOE is not expected to recover any meaningful amount of money.

The executives at Solyndra, who contributed to BO’s presidential campaign, walked away with golden parachutes, while we got the shaft.

We all suffer when the economy suffers, especially the homeless. The homeless are the canary in the mine, an early warning  for an environment that can no longer sustain life.

The government blocks energy production that works, just as Bucks County government blocks plans to create more shelter for the homeless. The free market has provided clean, affordable energy and has created legitimate jobs, not bogus energy jobs that are artificially propped up by the government.

The free market works for energy as well as for other economic matters. Government programs, which kowtow to the rich, spoiled brat Woodstock leftover environmentalist wackos, doesn’t.

In my blog Fight Homelessness; Don’t Vote for Progressives, I documented that there is more homelessness under liberal rule than when conservative policy prevails. Out of her own mouth, presidential candidate Shrillery Clinton stated that she’s going to continue the war on coal and other traditional energy sources in order to make way for alternative energy.

I also heard the former Wicked Witch of The West Wing Augustly say “I’m a progressive.”

The snake oil salesmen (and saleswomen) who hawk government mandated alternative energy are like the lying profits that Jeremiah wrote about: “…I (the Lord) am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare ‘The Lord declares’. Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams, declares the Lord. They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least, declares the Lord.” — Jeremiah 23: 31,32.

The High Priests of Ozone and Human Caused Global warming do not have our best interests at heart, nor do the politicians who underwrite them.

The free market is the key to energy, the economy, and the homeless problem. It is only a tool; it needs the right people to use it.

Why Not Help The Homeless?

At a recent meal for the homeless and needy in Bucks County PA, talk at our table was about all the vacant property available that could be used for much needed shelter for the homeless. For years, people have proposed putting these two things together, but nothing came to fruition.

Why?

Hobophobia. For those of you in Doylestown, hobophobia is “an unreasonable fear of the homeless”, according to the Urban Dictionary. Some time ago, I asked the president of The Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) in Bucks County if AHTN would help the nascent non profit I’m associated with create more shelter for the homeless. Her response was that this was impossible because security would be needed 24/7.

In a piece in the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, Joanna Laine explains why there are misconceptions of the homeless, which has resulted in arbitrary law enforcement against them. https://socialchangenyu.com/the-harbinger/from-criminalization-to-humanization-ending-discrimination-against-the-homeless/

The homeless are treated like criminals. “To truly address the criminalization of homelessness, however, it is necessary to challenge not only laws but also biases that pervade our society. Fear and discomfort around homeless people is the driving force behind anti-homeless laws, and such fears are irrational and unnecessary,”Ms. Laine wrote.

The Salvation Army Levittown Community Center is another example of hobophobia in Bucks County. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, at this center the homeless are treated like criminals and children.

As is the case in any population, there are problem people. At a recent community meal, a homeless guy bullied another guest and had to be restrained. The cops were called. An officer went into the AHTN bus and made the bully get off the bus.

This problem was influenced by false witness that was initiated by someone formerly in the homeless community. This individual has been out of the neighborhood for awhile but the poison is still effective.

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” –James 1:26

There was an incident the involved what appeared to be a homeless guy (he had no listed address) at a WaWa in Bristol, PA.  He went ballistic when the manager told him he could not charge his phone on the outside charger, and threatened violence. He also got into an altercation with a woman who was pumping gas after she told him to watch his language. Two men intervened and he scratched them with his knife.

http://levittownnow.com/2016/06/08/two-stabbed-at-wawa/

Unfortunately, people stereotype the homeless based on a few isolated incidents.

Some homeless people are getting their acts together. Tonight, a homeless guy I’ve known  for about two years told me he’s becoming more self sufficient – that he is starting to support himself. He said he came to grips with the source of his problem and is “moving forward” after putting the blame on himself. He said he doesn’t want handouts but a hand up, which he appreciates.

The man also said he turned to God for help.

I saw another homeless friend who was excited about a recent part time job he and his daughter just got. We agreed that it’s a good start. He’ll be doing that, he said, instead of working as a red kettle for the local Salvation Army.

The community meals for the homeless and needy continue to be drama free. I’m glad that individuals, rather than the whole homeless group, were held accountable for bad behavior.

Man does not live by bread alone. Many of the churches that host the community meals are not the equivalent of Jeff Dunham’s Walter as a Walmart greeter: “Welcome to Walmart; get your sh** and get out.”   Instead, the hosts mingle with their guests and develop relationships with them, showing Christian concern.

Going to the community meals at the meals is a get together with friends who engage in interesting, edifying conversation. People in the same boat, whether homeless or needy, need to help one another. I found this to be the case among the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA; they have helped one another with physical and emotional needs.

There is hope for the homeless. They, like all of us, are made in the image of God and should at least be shown respect and given a hand up – the opportunity to move forward.

Although it’s tough to create more shelter in Bucks County for the homeless, for now, one thing, besides their physical needs, we can give them is encouragement.

“For I know the thoughts I have for you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me, and you will go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me, and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
—Jeremiah 29:11-13

Hope for Depression

People have depression for different reasons. Being homeless is depressing. I know; I’ve had a taste of it. But with God’s help, you can be delivered and lead a productive life.

The world doesn’t see it that way. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men can’t put people back together again. Ultimately, the world writes people off. In Bucks County, PA, a hustler from the county mental health industry approached me and others with a proposal that we resign ourselves and allow us to be labeled as a lost cause and essentially become a ward of the state.

The Bucks County establishment sees the homeless as a lost cause.

This is the case with Odysseus’s men in The Odyssey when they were in The Land of The Lotus Eaters. Like kids who don’t want to leave a place they like and their parents have to make them leave, Odysseus had to get his men to leave this sleepy land.

“In Greek mythology the Lotus-eaters, also referred to as the lotophagi or lotophaguses were a race of people living on an island dominated by lotus plants. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary food of the island and were narcotic, causing the people to sleep in peaceful apathy.” –Wikipedia  

By contrast, in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and others get through trials and temptations along their journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City.

God sent people to help the pilgrims through tough times, such as Mr. Great-Heart and Mr. Valiant for The Truth. Two pilgrims had a problem with depression and anxiety – Mr. Despondency and his daughter “Much Afraid.”  In fact, Mr. Great-Heart and company rescue Mr. Despondency and Much Afraid from Doubting Castle, where they were held prisoner by the monster Giant Despair.

Pilgrims in Mr. Bunyan’s allegory of the soul also are nearly trapped on their journey when they find a soft spot to sleep. At this spot they were just supposed to rest up but not linger.

We need to encourage one another, including the weak and weak minded. One pilgrim in the 17th century story, Mr. Feeble-minded, lingers, hesitant to continue on the journey to the Celestial City. Mr. Great-heart takes him under his wing. “But brother … I have it in commission, to comfort the feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must needs go along with us; we will wait for you, we will lend you our help, we will deny ourselves of some things, both opinionative and practical, for your sake; we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you, we will be made all things to you, rather than you shall be left behind.”

In a post on the Biblical Counseling Center’s site “Lessons Learned from the Dark Valley of Depression”, the poster relates the testimony of Bob Somerville, a Biblical counselor and professor at the Master’s College in Santa Clarita, California.  Dr. Somerville fell into a deep depression after he had major back surgery and after having been worn out by a tough work schedule.

“Everything was black and hopeless. I truly believed I would never preach or teach again,” he said.

Dr. Somerville explained how God brought him out of this dark valley.

He read the Bible daily, read Christian literature/publications, got Christian counseling and was supported by his wife, who stayed by his side during the ordeal. He counted on God’s grace.

One of the lessons Dr. Somerville learned after his bout with depression is deeper empathy for those who suffer from depression.

There is no quick fix for depression. In the 12 Step journey program I attend we learned that overcoming our problems, whether it be depression, anxiety, anger, alcohol or drug abuse, takes time. Wounds don’t heal overnight, but, if you stay on the right path as John Bunyan’s pilgrims did, you will find peace.

Years ago, I strayed from the King’s Highway, the road to the Celestial City in Pilgrim’s Progress, and like some of the wayward characters in the story, suffered as a result. But God sent circumstances and the right people my way and I got on the right road.  http://www.12stepjourney.com/

In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian gets stuck in the Slough of Despond, which is composed of the decadence, scum and filth of sin and cries out for help and is pulled out by the character “Help,” and goes his way on solid ground towards the Wicket Gate, where sinners saved by grace can enter the narrow way.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” –Psalm 40:2