Ever Done Any Boondoggling?

“Ever done any boondoggling?”

–Egbert Souse (W.C. Fields) in The Bank Dick, 1940

In lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania, like the rest of the country, the mental health industry has been hustling to get clients on their roles.  They are so eager to do so, that many of them don’t really belong there.  Even for those who do, I question whether the mainstream mental health industry really helps people.

The tactics Penndel Mental Health Center, who sent a representative to a meet and greet at a homeless camp in January, 2013 in Bristol Township, PA., employs is tantamount to ambulance chasing.  Much of the mental health industry is a boondoggle.  And this Bucks County health center incessantly attaches itself to other services, particularly for the homeless, such as housing. Like manure, they are everywhere.

Holy pork barrel, Batman!

For those of you in Doylestown, PA, “boondoggle” is defined as:

noun

  • work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.
  • “writing off the cold fusion phenomenon as a boondoggle best buried in literature”

verb

  • waste money or time on unnecessary or questionable projects.

The word “boondoggle” has a funny sound, especially when W.C. Fields says it.

And the mental health industry is a joke, with it’s boondoggles.

There are certainly many people out there, including some homeless, who have problems and need help.  And there are some people who have serious issues who are in important positions that affect others who have flown under the radar.

I’m not a psychologist but, as Bob Dylan sang, “you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”.  The head librarian at the public library in Levittown, PA has an obsession, a phobia about the homeless.  I have been referring to her as “Jihad Jane”, but I now think that “Bull Connor” would be a more suitable term.

Like the Democratic Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights movement in 1963, the Levittown librarian  has been figuratively hosing the local homeless who frequent the library. Instead of having dogs attack those she considers persona non grata, she gets her dogs (and herself) to employ measures to make their visits to the library uncomfortable and even have them removed.

Just a disclaimer, sometimes banning particular homeless people from the library is warranted, but in many cases homeless folks are thrown out for the day, sometimes longer, if they just nod off.

To make the homeless unwelcome at the library, many of whom are baby boomers, Bull Connor had two benches and the shelter for the homeless bus removed.

There are many more examples about how our local version of Bull Connor oppresses the homeless and treats them like second class citizens, but suffice it to say, this librarian has major issues.  About 15 minutes before closing time, like a child, she flashes the lights on and off countless times, creating a light show or lightning effect.  She’s not playing with a full deck.

The problem with the conventional wisdom of modern psychology is that people are not held accountable for their actions; something not their fault has caused anti-social behavior.  In their estimation, it has nothing to do with a character flaw, which we all have to some degree.  Some people are just bad, mean.

Instead of the self serving boondoggles concerning the homeless, there are people out there who offer genuine help to the homeless.  In a blog from the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission’s website, the blogger relates how the mission helped bring around a homeless man who had mental issues,  problems with alcohol, and suffered many bouts with pneumonia.  By ministering to the man’s medical, physical and spiritual needs, the formerly homeless man moved into an apartment and lived a normal life.

The mission’s outreach worker was able to help the man by getting him on the right track, especially by pointing him to God.  And the outreach worker’s motivation to help the man was driven by God.  This is where it’s at — our only hope.  http://www.sundaybreakfast.org/2014/03/27/tentsbuckscounty/ 

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come”

by William Croft, Isaac Watts

In the early 1970’s, Jay Adams started a revolution where he argued that the church should not relegate “mental health” issues to secular psychology, but use Biblical resources to counsel people with problems.  http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography 

This is no boondoggle.

Also not a boondoggle is our nascent non profit organization that was created to help the homeless in lower Bucks County with their need for shelter.

http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529

And this is no Bull!

Ambulance Chasers

The more I think about how concerned community members brought along a representative from Penndel Mental Health Center when they made their early expedition to a tent city in lower Bucks County, PA, the more I’m concerned about the tactics of mental health “experts” in our society.

Anyone can claim to be an expert.  In the wake of alleged race problems and subsequent race hustling, “experts” from MSN NBC were found to be way off base in their analysis of the situation after a thorough court investigation.  As conservative commentator Anne Coulter wrote, to qualify as an expert on MSN NBC, one has to have been dropped on one’s head many times as a child.

Bringing a mental health expert to reach out to people at a homeless settlement is an example how the mental health community has been rushing to judgment to label people as mentally ill, or at least suspect they are. http://www.sott.net/article/257456-More-homeless-camps-discovered-in-Bucks-County-Pennsylvania   Penndel Mental Health Center has been intermittently subtly soliciting business from the homeless community.

Pastor and counselor Jay Adams cites a case where it was discovered that people sent for evaluation for mental illness were falsely diagnosed.  In an experiment,  six people, who were as sane as you or I, were labeled schizophrenic and one was classified as manic depressive.  The experimenter found that no one was turned away as a malingerer or faker. After the person who conducted the experiment announced to the institution that he would check the intake records again, many people were turned away from the institution as malingerers.  http://www.nouthetic.org/the-physician-the-pastor-psychotherapy-and-counseling

As is the case with the rest of the mental health industry, medication tends to be a quick fix for problems at Penndel Mental Health.

The problem with modern psychiatry and psychology is they treat as “mental problems”, as though it is a medical problem, using medication.   There are physical problems and spiritual (moral) problems.  The psyche community came up with a third category, a non-organic, non-moral category.  To quote Jay Adams:

“But it (the psychiatric community) knows nothing about a ‘mental illness’ category, in which a non-organic bug of some sort creates a non-organic problem which has to be treated non-organically under a medical aegis, though there is nothing medical about it. What is peculiarly medical about someone telling how to live with grandmother? “

Dr. Adams further indicts the mental health community.  “There is a mess out there in psychiatry. Zilboorg, in his two volume history of psychiatry, concluded: ‘The field is in disarray, just as it was at the beginning.’  I agree with him that the field is in disarray, but I disagree that it is just as bad as it was at the beginning.”

People should have a choice to get help for their problems.  The free market works!  Penndel Mental Health has been chasing after the homeless, like a lawyer chasing an ambulance and has somewhat of a monopoly.  This is not the free market but economic protectionism.

Dr. Adams writes of “gatekeepers”, which can be pastors or doctors who pass on someone who comes to them for help to someone else.  Many of them have been passing the responsibility on to the mental health world.

I went along with the gatekeepers at the Salvation Army who referred me to Penndel Mental Health.  I was a mess at the time.  As I related in an earlier blog, I was prescribed medicine at Penndel Mental Health and went to therapy there.  At the same time I pursued Biblical solutions, through prayer, scripture reading, fellowship, a Bible based 12 step program, and Godly behavior.  I found that the Biblical route worked best.  I stopped the medicine and I’m about to end the therapy.

We need to create a free market to help the homeless with their problems.  The nascent non profit, Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless aims to give the homeless the wherewithal to build their own homes.  The volunteers from The Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN), the hosts at churches, and other people offer the homeless Biblical help for their “mental” problems.

Let the homeless discover what works best for them in a free market of ideas.

We at Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless have an idea to help the homeless.  Check out the article posted in Times Publishing about us:  http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/.

 

There’s a Place Where the Homeless Can Go

One night, people sitting on the benches at the Veterans’ Memorial outside the public library in Levittown, Pennsylvania had an impromptu discussion about Shakespeare.  This could have been small conference-like gathering of a college literature class.   But these people were homeless.

The idea for the nascent non profit Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless was hatched at the memorial last summer when Adam, who was homeless for a time, told me about his plan to create much needed shelter for the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA.

Like the TV series Cheers, the memorial is a place where everyone knows your name, or at least soon learns it.

One of the memorial regulars walked into a local VFW and they knew his name.  They thanked him for help keeping up the memorial — for cleaning it up and helping to police it from vandals and other troublemakers.  He and other regulars who regularly frequent the memorial take pride in the place that has become a home away from home.

The regular memorial visitor who stopped in the VFW ironically refers to the folks who hang out at the Veterans Memorial as “The Memorial Mob.”   This is a joke, as most of the regulars respect the memorial and are law abiding citizens.  It’s as an accurate description as the name “Curly” for that shaved headed jokester on the Three Stooges.

Of course, as in any group, there are bad apples.  Over the years, there have been busts for drunk and disorderly behavior and there has been occasional vandalism.  But the Memorial Mob, when they are there, is vigilant about making sure that doesn’t happen and has helped keep the place looking nice.

On one occasion, people discussed their situation and their problems, when one guy in the group remarked “this is a therapy session”, as he sprang to his feet and walked away.

Unlike most people, the homeless don’t have clubs or organizations to visit, and many of them have been separated from their families.  The Veteran’s Memorial is their clubhouse.

The Memorial Mob gets together for planned events as well as has impromptus.  Word gets out for holiday gatherings, birthdays and for other meetings at the “clubhouse.”

This is one of the places volunteers from the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) visit with their homeless friends.

The flavor of the memorial for the regulars is captured in the lyrics of an old Beatles’ song:

There, there’s a place

Where I can go

When I feel low

When I feel blue

And it’s my mind

And there’s no time…

Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless, the nascent non profit, is working to create homes the homeless can go to.   To help us get started, we are using a fundraising site:  http://www.gofundme.com/lq6sfc

You can skip the ad after a few seconds.

Rubber Soul

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You say “I’m looking through you

The same old way

I’d like to help you

But not today”

The only difference is you’re up there

How would you like it?

if you were in my homeless underwear?

 

You see me as different

Because I’m down here

You’d see things as  different

If you and I places would change

You say “I’m looking through you”

How would you like our places to change?

 

Your lips are moving

I cannot hear

Your voice is soothing

But your words are not clear

Between you and me is no difference

But you think we’re not the same

You say “I’m looking through you”

So why don’t we our places change?

 

Why tell me why do you not treat me right?

Unlike your smug self I’m not in a nice home overnight

 

You’re thinking of me

The same old way

You think you are above me

That’s not what I say

The only difference is you’re up there

You think you are above me

But that’s not what I say

 

Now I’m looking through you

And you’re a man nowhere

I’m looking through you

In that way we’re not the same

I’m looking through you

We’re not the same

 

Like Scrooge, Ebenezer

You can change

Karma sure has a funny way

Of changing people overnight

 

I’m looking through you

Your views can change

I’m looking through you

Your views can change

The only difference

Is you can change

I’m looking through you

You don’t have to be the same…

A Modest Proposal Part II

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In my original blog, A Modest Proposal, I suggested cannibalizing homeless people (we need to be culturally diverse) by grinding them up into green wafers as the society did in the movie Soylent Green.

There is an added benefit to turning people into edible wafers.  With all the prejudice against traditional religion, this would be religious friendly, especially to the Catholic faith.  Humans would carry their cross, so to speak, and would serve their fellow humans as a wafer when paritioners have communion.

Holy transubstantiation Batman!

The green wafers, composed of the remains of homeless humans, would also be a boon to those who believe in reincarnation.  This way, the dearly departed can still be with us.  Hey kids, here’s Uncle Joe! He’s back, as a wafer!

What goes around, comes back around.

Holy Karma Batman!

The possibilities are endless.

In any case, Bucks County Pennsylvania will be Green. Soylent Green.

Bucks County can come up with slogans.  I’ll offer a few:

Green is the color of my true love’s corps.

It’s really easy (and cool) being Green.

Show me the Green!

Modeling the movie, Soylent Green, will be a good advertisement for a particular brand of environmentalism:  Watermelon environmentalists — Green on the outside; red on the inside. He was Green, and shed his blood for you.  See, environmentalism is a religion!

Keep Bucks County Green, and clean (take out the homeless).

Fight homelessness, recycle the homeless.

In the tradition of Zap Comics, with its satire Nigger Hearts, I write about Bucks County’s Homeless Wafers.

A disclaimer:  Like Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal and Zap Comics, my blogs are satire.  Back in the 18th century, some people took Dr. Swift literally and were appalled by what he wrote.  Well, I don’t advocate (I’m not an advocate, or a crook) cannibalism but use irony and wit to make people  appalled at how the homeless are treated in a judgmental, utilitarian manner in Bucks County.

If you have a heart for the homeless, you can help by going to. http://www.gofundme.com/lq6sfc

After clicking, you will be prompted after a few seconds to skip the ad.

 

Why Can’t the Homeless Find a Home?

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“I’m a lonely frog

I ain’t got a home

I’m a lonely frog

I ain’t got a home

I Ain’t got a madder

I Ain’t got a fadder

I’m just a lonely frog

I ain’t got a home

Whoo-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe whoo-ewe

Whoo-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe whoo-ewe

Whoo-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe WHOO-ewe

Whoo-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe-ewe whoo-ewe…”

–Clarence “Frogman” Thomas

Recently, someone at Denny’s restaurant in Langhorne mentioned that there are more vacant buildings and property in Bucks County, Pennsylvania than there are homeless people.  I’ve heard many times puzzled people question why the vacant properties in Bucks County can’t be used to house the homeless.

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

I repeat, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.

In Frogman’s humorous lyrics  about a lonely frog, a lonely  boy and a lonely girl, we hear, individually, in the voice of all three, about the search for something.  The boy wants a girl, the girl wants a boy, but the frog is looking for a home.  In real life, frogs have a higher success rate than do homeless humans.  So do illegal aliens.  Those who broke into this country have  more rights than the homeless in this country.  They are not allowed to “squat” on land in their own country.  The only crime the homeless committed is they do not have a home, yet they are considered trespassers on “public” land.

Through the grapevine, I hear words like “liability” and “insurance” as reasons why we can’t develop land for the homeless.  On Bucks County land, I’m told, that if someone “squatting” on land under Bucks County jurisdiction, and is attacked or hurt, he or she can sue the county.

Beam me up Scotty, there is no form of intelligent life in Bucks County!

To quote Charles Dickens, “the law is an ass!”

Part of the root of the problem of homeless people finding homes is the stereotype people have of them.   I learned from a reliable source that people in Bucks County don’t like the homeless people coming to the library because they are dirty, sloppy, stink,  and use the library like a picnic area.  This is not the case.  In one instance, as I related in an earlier blog, when I was talking with a Bucks County official outside the library, a homeless guy on his way to the library joked around with us on his way to the library.  When I told the official the guy was homeless, he remarked “I thought he was a counselor.”

Remember the old pop song Signs?  In the song, the artist talks about “tucking his hair up under his hat” before he interviews for a job.  “You look like a fine young man; I think you’ll do,” the potential employer remarks.

Then the young man removes his hat, exposes his long hair and remarks “imagine that, me working for you!”

Recently, a county “cop” harassed some homeless people who were peacefully, respectfully hanging out at the Veteran’s Memorial outside the Levittown public library.  Included in this harassment blitz screen was a volunteer from the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) who was cutting a homeless man’s hair to make him more respectable/employable.  This busy body, evidently under the influence from the busy body women from the WIC office next to the memorial, said something to the effect that some Veteran’s department will only allow them short visits, say 15 minutes, to the memorial.  His statement is dubious.  Evidently, the WIC women don’t like the people who visit the memorial and think it’s their own personal property, and think they have to right to invite whom they wish.

The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.  And here a tyrant/bully hassles people who are trying to enjoy their freedom by visiting the memorial.

Like the frog in Mr. Thomas’ song, the homeless need a home.  Let’s help them:  (you can skip the ads after a few seconds)

http://www.gofundme.com/lq6sfc

In the Year 2525

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In the song, In The Year 2525, released in 1969 and played on the popular radio stations, the artist sings about a future society where people are essentially zombies, powered by drugs (some would call it medication) and machines.  What you think say and do is preprogrammed in the pill that was given to you.  No need for reaching out and getting things, because there is a machine doing that for you…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Year_2525#Summary

The mental health community tends to see medication (drugs) as a major means to control behavior.  It seems to me it is an industry.  Certainly, some medications are necessary, especially for short term, such as tranquilizers, but it seems to be a catch all in the mental health industry.

Although, like the rest of the population, the homeless have mental issues, and may need some kind of treatment/therapy, not all do, and medication isn’t always the answer.

Given a little help from their friends, people can help each other.  One evening, at the Veteran’s Memorial by the Levittown Public Library, where the local homeless and their friends congregate, they discussed their problems and their plight.  One homeless guy sprang out of his seat and exclaimed “this is turning into a therapy session”, and walked away.  Indeed, it was.  Nothing wrong with people, on their own, having a spontaneous therapy session.

People need to think on their own (I think Maslow called this “self actualizing”.)

The mental health industry seems to have a one track mind about medications, which seems the first line of defense to combat mental health issues.   I had some disturbing things happen to me, and I was having problems.   I talked with someone from a local mental health clinic.  Early on, maybe the first thing he asked was “would you be willing to take medication?”  When I mentioned herbal remedies, the mental health center rep summarily dismissed the notion, saying Augustly, that herbal remedies don’t work.

I guy I volunteer with said he believes that herbal remedies may work with some people, but others may need pharmaceuticals.

I tried Paxil.  Although my focus seemed to improve a little, I got the shakes.  I was told that this was just part of the break in period.   The shakes continued.  I was prescribed Gabapentin to stop the shakes.  That helped a little.  At some point, I did some research and found information on the herb Kava.

I started drinking Kava tea, which is available at some regular stores.  Shortly thereafter, I had my vitals taken, and they were great!  I also started calming down.  I wasn’t sure if it was the combination of the pharmaceuticals or exclusively the Kava tea that did the trick.

I’ve been off the Paxil a little more than a week and have just been drinking Kava tea at night.  A friend told me I don’t seem to get angry as easily since I stopped taking Paxil.  By the way, in my research I learned to steep the Kava tea in warm, not boiling water (which kills the beneficial ingredients) and use a little bit of creamer or milk with the warm water to draw out more of the good stuff.

I still get stressed out, mainly when there are triggers, but not as bad as I used to.  The Kava tea not only relaxed my mind but is a natural muscle relaxer.  I can sleep better in the car and if I have to get up to walk to the bathroom, I don’t have to worry about a cop suspecting me of public intoxication.

A guy in the 12Stepjourney program I’m in said that once I get squared away with God, through this peer-to-peer counseling program, I won’t need Paxil.

Herbal medicine started heading towards the ash heap of history, but it’s coming back.

There is an effort to cheat and not allow people to choose Kava in a free market.  Kava was banned in Germany, based on what was later shown to be a fraudulent study.  This is economic protectionism.

People need to think on their own, and not just parrot popular sound bites, such as “save the earth” and “stop global warming”.  I once saw a slogan on a pickup truck that read “Human caused global warming is a product of recycled Marxism, mixed with junk science.”  I thought about this and agree.

The establishment (remember that term Baby Boomers?) thinks all the homeless people need mental health treatment.  If you were doing word association, the word that comes to mind to some when one says “homeless” is “mental”.   Yes, there are crazy people in the homeless community who need help, but I’m not sure if legal drugs are going to help them.  Some of them became that way because they did drugs.

And homeless people are not helpless.  Given the chance, they can help themselves.

Homesteading the Homeless

Many homeless, like the rest of the population, have the skills and ability to build homes.  The only difference between the homeless and the rest of the population is that they don’t have a home.  They are not akin to the Walking Dead.   We don’t see zombies walking aimlessly  looking for people to eat  when we enter homeless territory in the woods.  No, they are not sub human creatures who can’t fit into society, although some of them, like Greta Garbo, want to be alone.

Given the opportunity, many homeless people can improvise and work with what they have.  Before he and his wife were evicted from the area of the woods where they encamped, a man told me about an idea he had for a small community to keep warm and dry in the winter, which is a challenge for homeless people when it’s cold and wet.

The man’s idea is to build, essentially, forts, with a wood burning stove and a vent for the smoke in the middle, big enough to shelter a half dozen or so tents.

Why not make what the homeless have been doing to survive legal?  It’s been the case that the police have come into the hideouts of those wanted by the law and took them to justice.  The homeless are no more danger to the community than the rest of the population is.  Only a small percentage of them are outlaws.  Most of them just can’t afford a home and are just surviving.

You can help the homeless help themselves:  http://www.gofundme.com/lq6sfc

You can skip the ad after a few seconds.

 

Please Mr. Wizard (I don’t want to be homeless)

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This reference will date me, but back in the late 50’s or early 60’s, when I was a kid, there was a cartoon, with a moral (like many things during that era) called Mr Wizard.  In each episode, a character asked Mr. Wizard to make him something he’d rather be than a boy.

In one episode, for example, Mr. Wizard granted the boy’s wish and made him a bird.  The boy wanted to fly and be free.  For awhile, he enjoyed it, but when a hawk swooped down on him to devour him, the boy pleaded “Please Mr. Wizard, take me back.  I don’t want to be a bird!”

By choice, I have become homeless, living in my car for the past few months.  Because a sickly person has nowhere to go, and can’t stay in a home with me, we’ve been sleeping in my car.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my first “homeless” experience occurred when I spent a night on a walkway besides a business off a main street in Levittown, PA.   After this experience, a homeless woman said “Jeff, just because you spent one night” on the street, you haven’t fully experienced what it’s like to be homeless.

Now I have a better idea of what it’s like to be homeless.

It can really suck eggs!  Please, Mr. Wizard, take me back.  I don’t want to be a homeless person!

Things you take for granted, such as having a bathroom a few feet away, where you can do your business, bathe, get hot water to soak your feet, having a refrigerator where you can store perishables, have a table and lots of storage space for food, medicines, and other items, are missing in this equation.  You don’t have a desk or place to keep papers.  If you want to eat hot food, you have to eat out or pay cash at a store and eat in your car, which I find, has limited space.  You get to drive a hybrid — both a bed and a form of transportation.

There are many people in this position — in cars, in tents, or out on the streets.  According to a Bucks County  preliminary point in time count for homeless people, released January 26, 2015, the preliminary count for unsheltered people for 2015 is 38.  In 2013 this count was 41, and for 2014 was 28.  The unsheltered are people who “self- report they will be staying in their cars or outside or outdoors the evening of the count”, according to the county report.

People are unsheltered because the local shelters are full, and there is nowhere else to go except their cars, tents in the woods or out in the street with sleeping gear.

Unfortunately, Mr. Wizard is not here to take them back.  I know many people in Bucks County may not be living in the real world, especially the people running the county, but Mr. Wizard is fictional (hate to break it to you).

What is real is Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless.  If you are really serious about helping your fellow Americans who happen to be homeless, please go to the link below.  You can skip the ad after a few seconds.

http://www.gofundme.com/lq6sfc

 

 

The Mental Health Craze

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I recently saw a post on Facebook that read:

“When I was younger, we didn’t have behavioral disorders.

They called it ‘being a brat’.

It was as simple as that.”

Just this morning, in a conversation with a mental health professional, this professional asked if a homeless friend of mine is set up for a  mental health program.  This was based on scant information about this person.

A short while back, when I asked a politician in Bucks County Pennsylvania about what we can do about the homeless problem in Bucks County, she put a lot of emphasis on mental health, without enumerating needs for particular problems.  Indeed, like the rest of the population, the homeless have issues, but lets not put the cart before the horse.

In an adult Sunday school class, the issue of child predators came up.  Someone in the group said predators are “sick”.  Another person said that this is “sin.”

It seems the psyche world tends not to acknowledge the idea of something just being wrong — that the  bratty kid has a behavioral problem.  This is what Rush Limbaugh would call “psychobabble.”

It seems any problem is a mental issue.  We all played “Marco Polo” when we were young.  Someone would yell “Marco” and someone would respond as quickly as possible “Polo”.  Today, if someone says “I don’t like the way he treated me”, the “Polo” response would be “find a mental health provider”.

In one episode on the Soupy Sales TV show, a man knocked on the door and said “Buddy, you have to help me; my wife thinks she’s a tree!”

“Why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”, Soupy responds.

The TV audience then sees the guy outside the door pulling a tree.  “Come on, Dear”, the man says as he goes away pulling the tree.

In the early 70’s, Christian author and preacher Jay Adams wrote Competent to Counsel, which challenged the church to not relegate mental problems to the secular world, but use it’s resources and principles to counsel people with problems.  Dr. Adams wrote that if a problem is very deep, then there is even more reason for the church to handle it — it’s a spiritual problem.

http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography

In some cases, people need “professional” help — someone who is equipped to handle unique issues.  But the professional needs to base advice on sound Christian principles, the preacher says.

In his book, Competent to Counsel, Dr. Adams criticizes contemporary psychiatryHe relates The Parable of the Tack: Someone is sitting on a tack, in painOne secular counselor, who subscribes to a method where the counselor just repeats what the patient says, tells the patient “I notice you are sitting on a tack”.  This is like a scene in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood Men in Tights, when Robin and  A Chew (son of A Sneeze) get into a fight with King John’s men.  Robin asks A Chew to watch his back.  A Chew says, as the bad guys hit Robin in the back “you just got hit in the back.”

A Freudian counselor in the Tack parable mentions that the tack is near the  patient’s private parts…

Dr. Adams wrote that Christian brothers and sisters are perfectly capable to counsel one another in most situations.  This is the basis of Twelve Steps –  A spiritual Journey program, modeled after the original 12 steps program started in 1935 by Alcoholics Anonymous, using Christian principles.

Twelve steps can help people with problems other than alcohol and drugs, including problems the homeless face.  Twelve steps gets to the root of the problem to help people recover from mental/social problems.

A Salvation Army Captain once said that just being nice and greeting people who are down and out means a lot.  One problem the homeless have is that they feel they have been rejected by society.  Treating them, as we do others, with kindness and respect goes a long way.

Volunteers who help the homeless  and have been developing relationships with them do a lot more than so-called professionals for their mental health.  Of course, the so-called professionals can compliment the agape love and caring the volunteers give the homeless.  And some professionals are better than others.  One has to be aware of experts.  As Anne Coulter recently wrote in a column, one qualification to be an expert on the TV news station MSN NBC is that you were dropped on your head many times as a child.

Back to the parable of the tack:  The Christian,” Nouthetic” counselor would tell the person sitting on the tack “get off that tack!”, and then try to get to the root of the problem.  Alcoholics need to get off the booze, drug addicts need to stop using drugs, people with anger problems need to stop yelling at people, etc., and they need to work through the 12 steps to restore their humanity and their sanity.

What is Wrong with the Homeless?

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There are different reasons people become homeless, but the fact is the one common denominator they have is, to quote Henry “Frogman” Thomas, they “ain’t got no home.”

What’s more important than the why, is how it can be remedied.  Let’s play doctor.

No matter what the reason someone becomes homeless, like a patient, after diagnosing the problem, the right steps need to be taken.  As is the case with cancer patients, a patient’s mental attitude is very important to getting well.

Like cancer patients, the homeless need to have hope, and faith.  They need to take one day, one step at a time, and have faith that someone cares.  In 12 Step Programs, there is a belief to hold on to by faith that there is a power greater than ourselves.

Like cancer patients, homeless folks need to take actions that will help them.  A friend of mine is undergoing chemotherapy.  The doctor recommends drinking lots of Gatorade. Likewise, the homeless need to improve their skills, further educate themselves, find jobs and do other constructive things.  As I wrote in a recent blog, idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

The homeless need to have a mission in life, and not loiter in The Land of the Lotus Eaters.

Just as cancer patients are not helping their condition by smoking, homeless people are not helping themselves by escaping through alcohol  and drugs.  A married homeless couple got drunk and were hit by a car.  They survived the physical harm, but their cynical, nihilistic attitude and nasty demeanor continues to plague them.  People around them consider them  personae non grata.

People without a home are like the rest of the population — they face various issues, such as drugs and alcohol.  There are various degrees of problems in the homeless community, as there is in the general population.  Some can function in society better than others.

When you get down to it, human nature is human nature, and we all have the potential to get involved in  anti-social behavior.  It’s just a matter of degree.  Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist,  once visited a nuthouse with someone he called “an intelligent layman”.  This layperson remarked that the people he saw in the funny farm were just like everyday people, but with their problems greatly magnified.

The homeless are just like the rest of us, except they have the added burden of not having a home. In their circumstances, it is easy for the homeless to give up on life.  They sometimes feel that society has written them off.  And some members of society have.  That’s their (the ones who have written them off) problem.

Some of the homeless have become alienated from their families.  This past season there was a Christmas party in the public library in Levittown, PA and a Christmas dinner at a local warehouse, fixed up for the occasion.  The volunteers who help the homeless and other homeless people are their family.

I have been connected with the homeless in Bucks County, PA for about a year.  Still I wonder, as in the Bob Dylan song:

How does it feel?

How does it feel?

To be on your own

No direction home

A complete unknown

Like a Rolling Stone…

With a little help from their friends,  and with a power greater than us, the homeless, like Lassie, can find their way home.