Stand With The Homeless

To break the cycle of rampant homelessness is a point well taken in “Not Just A One Night Stand; Ministry With The Homeless” by John Flowers and Karen Vannoy.   

The authors argue to not just give a temporary fix to those who are homeless, but to associate with the homeless and to help people overcome hurdles to a “normal” life. They argue well that the church can help people better than government programs, where they are not just a number. The churches spend time getting to know the homeless.  

This is an issue I discuss in my book “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless.” 

Although the authors argue the point of affectively ministering to the homeless, they kowtow to the mainstream mantra on the issues of alcohol abuse and “mental illness.”   They accept, wrongly, the decree of The American Medical Association, which recognized that “alcoholism” is a disease. They write that shelters make their guests pass a breathalyzer test before gaining entry to the shelter, which I think is a good idea. The authors write “The only option for the one who is homeless and suffers from the disease of alcoholism is to sleep outdoors.”  They add “American Medical Association recognized that alcoholism is a disease; therefore, we are criminalizing the behavior of someone who suffers from this disease and does not have a home.”   

The homeless shelter in Bucks County, PA has become a revolving door for drunks and druggies. Guests get thrown out for drinking, but they come back in again. And again, in some cases. 

Flowers and Vannoy argue that one third of any homeless population also suffers from untreated mental illness. First of all, “mental illness” is a misnomer perpetrated by secular psychologists. “Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all,” wrote Biblical Counseling Movement founder Jay E Adams.  In his seminal book, Competent To Counsel, Dr. Adams challenged churches’ practice palming off people with problems to secular psychiatry and psychology. 

In the homeless population in Bucks County, which I focus on in my book, from observation over a period of a few years, I’ve concluded that about ten percent of the homeless, and also those in need whom I’ve seen regularly at the shared meals for the homeless and those in need, are really whacked out, and display serious anti-social behavior. We are all flawed; it’s just a matter of degree.  The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung related a story about a visit to an insane asylum with an “intelligent layman” who remarked that the inmates there were just like the rest of us, only their problems were greatly magnified. 

Recently, I started drinking Polar brand tonic water. Jokingly, I say I’m drinking “bi-polar tonic water.” Bi-polar is psychobabble for being double minded.  Bi polar disorder is a spiritual problem and the way you are brought up fosters this problem: 

What those who are homeless need is for Christians to reach out, let them know that they have value as a human being and encouragement and a hand up to get them out of homelessness. 

People Come Together

Being homeless can be tough, all the reason why the fighting between some members of this community needs to stop. People in this situation need to work together to help one another, as iron sharpens iron. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17 

I recently learned that two people who are homeless in Allentown, PA have trouble getting necessary items to their camp site, which entails a long, tough haul, including a trek over an abandoned railroad trestle and up a slippery, leaf covered hill. One has broken ribs as a result of another homeless guy he was trying to help and another who was briefly hospitalized for exhaustion and malnutrition.  

Back in lower Bucks County, PA, there have been some scraps. At a recently homeless meal, there was a fight between two guys who were homeless. The host, using good judgement to keep the peace, threw one of them out. He had caused problems before. The other was penalized in a different way. Because this behavior was not tolerated, the meals for the homeless and needy continue to be a peaceful place where people can get a good meal and enjoy socializing with friends.  

Being homeless does not define your character. It doesn’t mean you have to subscribe to the law of the jungle. “The law of the jungle” is an expression that means “every man for himself,” “anything goes,” “survival of the strongest,” “survival of the fittest,” “kill or be killed,” “dog eat dog” and “eat or be eaten.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines the Law of the Jungle as “the code of survival in jungle life, now usually with reference to the superiority of brute force or self-interest in the struggle for survival.” -from Expedia 

One trouble maker was put at bay and now Lying Larry, the loud, belligerent guy who disturbed the meals hasn’t been coming. Caveman Club, by Sancho Panza, was recently given the Lying Larry seal of approval.  A recent ad for Caveman Club: Are women you are trying to pick up at homeless meals getting too difficult to catch? Did another guy take your gal you used to take there? Is the gang of girls you are trying to collect, like Charles Manson, nothing more than a dream?  

Well, do as Lying Larry does. He uses Caveman Club to catch his prey.   

As Lying Larry says, women don’t have any sense in choosing the guy they want to hang with. Women are incapable of making decisions on their own. They need guidance and persuasion.   

Caveman Club also serves to keep the competition away; to keep the gals from making the wrong choice.  

Caveman Club.  Don’t go to a homeless meal without one!  

Caveman Club, by Sancho Panza.   

Seriously folks, the homeless really need to love and care for one another. We should have the peace of Christmas that has been the case at the homeless meals all year round. Everyday people should reach out and help the homeless, both morally and physically. Peace on earth and good will to men! 

To learn more about the homeless, there’s a book, by yours truly, “There are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless, available: 

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.

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.