Free Homeless Christmas Florida Vacation

Different institutions in Bucks County, PA have teamed up to sponsor a free trip for the homeless to Disneyland Florida. The county will charter a special Amtrak train, The Disoriented Express, to take them to Florida. Once there, a chartered bus, To Serve Man, will take them to the Seven Seas Lagoon, where alligators have been known to attack children. Bucks County spokesperson, R.I. Diculous, said this is the county’s Christmas gift to the local homeless. 

At Disney, they will be given a meal – a picnic at The Seven Seas Lagoon. To allay any fears, signs warning about alligators will be taken down. The only signs posted at the time will be “Reserved for The Homeless.” Once the alligators chop down on homeless sitting on the edge of the lagoon, Disney will flash notifications all over the park: “Seven Seas Lagoon is now open.  It’s safe there now; the alligators have eaten and are full.” 

The Soylent Green plant, slated to be built on the site where Stand Down, an annual event for homeless and needy veterans used to be held, will not be ready for Christmas, so to not welsh on a homeless Christmas present, the Disney vacation will replace the Green gift to the homeless. http://levittownnow.com/2016/09/10/program-helps-veterans-need-kicks-off-last-year-current-site/ 

The gift of the plant, the Soylent Green initiative, will give the homeless the honor of keeping Bucks County Green. In this program, the homeless will be allowed to camp, virtually in pristine woods, as they are carried along conveyor belts, past the rotating knives, in extreme comfort, where their mangled flesh is ground into wafers, just like in the movie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green   

In the funhouse, the homeless pass through a diorama of pristine forests, a homeless paradise. Just before they get to the rotating knives, a giant neon sign will flash “THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO KEEP BUCKS COUNTY GREEN.” 

Disclaimer: The Free Homeless Florida vacation and Soylent Green Plant stories are satires in the tradition of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, a satire to criticize the heartless, utilitarian attitude towards the poor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal 

People should not be made into Soylent Green. We should be just as shocked at the attitude towards the homeless in places like Bucks County as was Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) in Soylent Green: “SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!” 

Like everyone else, the homeless have value; they are made in the image of God. 

“And the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.” -Genesis 2:7 

In my recently published book, “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless”, I discuss attitudes about the homeless in Bucks County, PA.  I focus on my experience hanging out with the homeless in lower Bucks County, particularly with Sandi, who walked alongside me on my homeless journey for almost three years after I became homeless. The book is available on Amazon.com.   

https://www.amazon.com/dp/172865209X/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_.iX9BbZXM6842?fbclid=IwAR0gPVr_CAM7L0hyxu92hll8KTsLWTUmr1nIEamgTnuc_Hi4yDafBYGcMqs 

Do We Have A Prayer?

Serenity Prayer

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.”

There’s a lot of wisdom in that prayer.

Two plus two will always equal four. Mixing vinegar and baking soda will always make a good volcano for a science project. But human behavior cannot be reduced to formulas. As Shakespeare wrote,

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

People have tried to help others with problems, such as addictions and general destructive behavior, but they haven’t always responded the best way. We can only plant a seed; God makes it grow. Whether we realize it or not, God works behind the scenes to, as Larry the Cable Guy would say, get ‘er done, in his time, his way.

We shouldn’t let circumstances, especially ones we cannot change, rule our lives.

Faith healers don’t work. For a laugh, I used to watch faith healer Reverend Ernest Angley perform his tricks.  He’d stand over someone with a malady and chant  something like ” I’ve got your condition in my vision. I’ve got your condition in my vision. Yea-ya, in the name of the Lord…”  Instant healing.

For sure, the Lord can heal, and I for one believe in the power of prayer, but it normally isn’t instant and not through the medium of a faith healer. Christ himself healed instantly when he was on earth, but I find faith healers dubious.

When people find others with deep problems, such as addictions, they think “bring them to the Lord.”

It’s just a starting point, a good one. One thing we’ve talked about in a local 12 Steps program was that people don’t realize that recovering from long term addictions is not quick. In fact, it takes a long time, like the Tortoise who outran the Hare. You can apply this to any sinful behavior. Putting off the sinful ways and putting on the new, Godly ways, as the Bible says, is a lifelong process.

A key to reaching people is to develop relationships with them and show Christian concern. Another way is to minister to people by showing a good example. Actions speak louder than theological words, although theology is important. A short while ago a preacher related a story where he was doing carpentry work and a boy came over and intently watched him. When the preacher asked the boy why he was so interested in watching a preacher hammer nails into wood, the boy said “I wanted to know how a preacher would react when he hits his thumb with the hammer.”

One of the homeless persons in lower Bucks County, PA who has been struggling with an addiction seems to be finally on the way to recovery. People from local churches have been ministering to him relentlessly for more than a year as has his friends. For what seems forever to people who care about him, he went through cycles where he was making progress, but like Sisyphus, the guy in the ancient Greek myth who just about gets the boulder up the hill only to have the large rock roll back down, he kept falling back. Now he’s got his momentum and he may just get that rock up to the top of the hill.

This is where Christian ministry comes in.

Addictions, like any problem that results from sin, is a lifelong battle. It’s like my toenail fungus. The doctor told me I’d probably have to apply medication to fight the fungus the rest of my life.

Believe it or not, despite all the incessant, cacophonous pleas to buy more and more expensive material things for loved ones for Christmas, this is not what the season is all about. Holy crass materialism, Batman! It’s about a savior being born to rescue us from the pit of sin and guide and mold us through a sinful world.

That baby, Jesus, for whom there was no room in the Inn, sacrificed for us, showing true love for those he came to save — a gift from above.

In that tradition, caring people are reaching out and are sacrificing their time, labor and money to help the homeless.  Churches, and individuals, have been bringing gifts to them.

People are helping others by offering events and through gift giving this Christmas season. Some are listed on the Facebook photo. On Christmas day, in Penndel, PA, the Marazzo family is hosting a Christmas dinner for the homeless. Most of the guests don’t have a place to go on Christmas and this is a very thoughtful, gracious thing to do.

As is the case with community meals, it’s not just the food; it’s the fellowship.  It’s not Jeff Dunham’s Walter as a Walmart greeter spouting “welcome to Walmart; get your sh** and get out!”

Remember Christ at Christmas, the reason for the season.  

This can easily be lost in the bedlam of money changers in the marketplace. Decades ago, after the Blue Laws (law that limited what businesses could be open on Sunday), there was a cartoon on the cover of  Pennsylvania Illustrated Magazine that showed a gang of businesses that were now open on Sundays displaying banners that read “WE’RE OPEN.”  There was a sign in front of a church that read “We’re open too.”

Don’t get lost in the throng of the secular, bastardized version of Christmas.

Put Christ in Christmas!