The Titanic Sails At Dawn

“The Titanic Sails At Dawn” -Bob Dylan 

Despite warnings that the Titanic was approaching a huge iceberg, the Titanic steamed full speed ahead. The Titanic’s captain smugly stated that he “could not imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” 

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” -Proverbs 16:18 

Despite warnings that drug and alcohol abuse is destructive, thinking they are indestructible, people continue destroying their lives with drugs and alcohol. Engaging in these sins pull people apart from one another, alienate them. Love and caring is lacking. Relationships become mercenary, where people use one another just to satisfy their own selfish needs. And, as Neil Young sang, “Every junkie’s just a settin’ sun.” 

The Needle and the Damage Done” is a song by Neil Young that describes the destruction caused by the heroin addiction of musicians he knew. Though not specifically about him, the song was inspired by the heroin addiction of his friend and Crazy Horse bandmate Danny Whitten. It previews the theme of the Tonight’s the Night album that reflects Young’s grief over the heroin overdose and death of both Whitten and Bruce Berry, a roadie for Young and Crazy Horse. 

The root of the addiction problem is sin. People think they can resolve life’s problems by escaping through drugs or alcohol. This only makes things worse. We create problems for ourselves then we think we can deal with everyday life and its problems through an artificial remedy. We are not the captain of our ship! God is! 

Increasingly, churches, including many in Bucks County, PA, are offering programs to help people overcome the sin of addictions by getting to the root of the problem. 

Is your ship ready for an iceberg? Who is your captain? God is a captain who can get you through troubled waters. 

To Serve God

In my last blog, I focused on how people who allegedly serve others, serve themselves, like the Kanamits in an episode of the Twilight Zone. 

Today I will focus on serving God, which by doing so, you serve others.

  • Out of compassion, you genuinely care for people and make sacrifices to help the needy.  Like Christ, you show agape love — love which expects nothing in return.  Develop relationships with the people you serve and focus on what’s best for them.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

2nd Corinthians 5:20

Except for the one host I mentioned at the Salvation Army Community center, Levittown, PA, who often hosts the community meals, the hosts at the meals have been gracious to their homeless and needy guests.  They have been developing relationships with the guests; they know each other by first names.

A woman from one church that provides community meals remarked, during a conversation she had with a few of us after we finished eating, “we are a small church; I wish we could do more.”  I told her that they have done a lot.  They not only give out small care packages at the meals, but they make their guests feel at home.  They accept them unconditionally and help them sort out their problems.

That church is the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Newtown, PA.  This is the same denomination where that evil man gunned down people, in Charlestown, SC.  People associated with this church didn’t vent anger by attacking white people or ranting and raving that Confederate flags be banned. Instead, they were forgiving and continued to serve God.

In a Christian blog about progressivism versus Christianity, the writer said that we are actually born liberals —  because we, as my daughter’s preschool teacher told the kids, are born with “a dirty heart”.  In order to practice true, genuine tolerance, Jesus has to change us from the inside.  Because someone is unregenerate (heart not changed by God), he cannot do this.  Instead of addressing the problem of human character flaws, outside circumstances need to be manipulated.

Gun control is a perfect example.  Liberals think that if we take away people’s guns, then we will have peace.  Wrong!

When I first thought about the AME abbreviation, African Methodist Episcopal, I thought that maybe this was an Afro-centric church, and that they, like that certain Salvation Army woman, favors black people.  I went on the church’s website and discovered this was not the case.  The AME church was formed because at one time blacks were not allowed to be ministers, so they formed the African Methodist Episcopal church.

My experience with the AME church is that they genuinely welcome everybody.  I have gone to their church twice.  On my first visit I was one of two visitors.  The pastor welcomed us during the service and asked us to introduce ourselves and to say a few words.  I took communion for the first time in years, as now I was in a real church.

I was hesitant, as my dirty heart needed cleaning.  On my knees, I asked God to help me.  Several men prayed with me.  After the service, a man gave me his phone number.

The last sermon, which I heard on Sunday, was about following God’s path.

Psalm 1:1-6 NKJV

The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly

1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The pastor preached about taking the right path when you come to a fork in the road.  He admonished the congregation that when you come to a fork in the road, follow God.  The pastor warned that if you don’t follow the way of the Lord, you are headed for destruction.  He quoted an old popular song that said that you should just act naturally, that is, act on impulses.  The pastor admonished the congregation not to take this path.

We are born in sin, depraved, and we need to learn to walk in God’s ways.  This doesn’t come naturally.  Christians shouldn’t succumb to un-Godly behavior.  The theory of the Noble Savage, put into practice, leads to destruction.

Addictions and other character flaws can be overcome by tapping into God’s grace.  If your roots are in the Lord, you can overcome your problems, even what is called “mental illness”.  That is unless the cause is organic.  God wrote the book on human behavior, and he knows what’s best for us.

There is a group that meets in lower Bucks County, twice a week, two different locations, that applies Biblical principles to the original 12 step program, created to help alcoholics.  This program helps participants get to the root of this and other addictions and problems, such as anger, resentment and drug misuse.

Jesus said he is the way, the truth, and the light.  We shall overcome!

In the Year 2525

[ad name=”AdPageViews 3″]

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…

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:

You can skip the ad after a few seconds.