Please Sir, I Want Some More!

“Please, sir, I want some more”, begged Oliver Twist for more gruel in Charles Dickens novel of his namesake.  This was a legitimate request from an underfed child in a baby farm.  Today, however, there are people in Bucks County, PA who beg for funding they really don’t deserve. 

Saint Mary Medical Center decided that the (alleged) Advocates for the Homeless And Those in Need will have no more funding. Saint Mary is – I know from personal experience-  very gracious. They stopped funding AHTN for a good reason.   

Now they are on an official beg drive: Two of our volunteers have given us the challenge to raise $5000, we need your help! 

As you may know, AHTN lost funding from one of our major supporters and because of this, we now have a $100K shortfall. Our AHTN Board members and staff have been working hard to find alternate ways to raise this money back, but it won’t come quickly. 

One way in which you can help is to donate any amount to AHTN and we will receive a matching gift from two generous volunteers. They will match up to $5,000, please help us raise $10,000 with this Volunteer Matching Gift Challenge!   

http://www.ahtn.org/ 

Saint Mary donated $100,000 of AHTN’s $220,000 budget.  

What does AHTN do with all that money? Occasionally they put homeless people up in a motel, pay their first month’s rent, occasionally transport people to doctors and such, support a rejuvenation station, and take the homeless and those in need to community meals and code blues (winter). Is there a lot of overhead?  I think so. Quite possibly their own pockets! 

Awhile back, I asked for AHTN’s help with a non-profit a friend and I wanted to start to make more housing available for the homeless in lower Bucks County. I thought we could team up with AHTN. When I emailed AHTN’s president to ask for help to create more housing, she responded that it was impossible and that 24/7 security would be needed.  

My partner in the proposed non-profit “Gimme Shelter for the Homeless” has a business/marketing background and I have a background in writing.  I was going to be the grant writer. A grant writer writes a pitch to potential donors, tells them how the money us going to be used in order to convince them to donate. I read a book about grant writing. When I emailed someone associated with AHTN who is a professional grant writer for tips, she didn’t even answer me!  

Except for churches in the area, the establishment doesn’t genuinely care about the homeless and doesn’t want to put themselves in their shoes or even want to understand them. Awhile back, AHTN made a video about the homeless, using actors! 

Even the local Salvation Army contributes to the negative attitude towards the homeless. When I volunteered there, the public relations gal, The Countess of Carlisle, got into a conversation I was having with another volunteer where I complained about how the homeless were discriminated against in the Levittown public library. The Countess Augustly said that people who visit the library don’t like the homeless being there.  

Unfortunately, these opinion leaders have influenced policy towards the homeless in Bucks County, people who should be held to a higher standard.  

Little help from the establishment for the homeless, but people who have lost kids to drug abuse, some of them government big shots, have been sucking up our taxpayer money! We fork out funds for dopes (why do you think they call it dope), a choice they made as a result of a character flaw. And the state sponsored initiatives generally fail and are just a waste of our money. http://levittownnow.com/2017/09/20/pennsbury-steps-efforts-to-fight-drug-abuse-mental-health-issues-into-high-gear/ 

The churches can do a much better job of helping broken people become whole. Biblical counsel is sufficient for any human problem that is not physical/medical. And they are not in it for the money. 

I am a free market conservative, against big government because the government tends to pick to distribute funds on who yells the most and has political power/pull.  In a free market, people are free to help those whom they choose to help. The government tends to base its decisions on a mob mentality. And special interests. Often money and attention doesn’t go to those who deserve it the most. 

XYZ Affair   –   France wants a bribe
 

  • France says, “Pay us money and we won’t attack you.” 

“Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.”
— Representative Robert Goodloe Harper 

 

Applied to Bucks County: 

  • Jeff says, “Give us help to shelter the homeless” 

 

“Pay us money to fight the drug epidemic and protect snowflakes 

Millions for the government drug and mental health hustler programs but not one cent for the homeless.”                       –Bucks County Establishment 

Behind The Curtain

In Bucks County, PA, people don’t like to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Like the Wizard of Oz, who is hiding his real self behind the curtain, there are people want their real self and motives to be hidden, and there are those who don’t want to see what’s behind the curtain to avoid having their pre-conceived notions, particularly of the homeless, overturned.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Don%27t+look+at+the+man+behind+the+curtain+wizard+of+oz&view=detail&mid=8F32D636D0473DE73D468F32D636D0473DE73D46&FORM=VIRE

When you get past the smoke and mirrors created by organizations in Bucks County who are believed to help the homeless, you see they are not what you think they are.

As was the case with the Wizard after the little dog Toto opened Oz’s curtain, people are wising up to the august institutions in Bucks.  And it’s more about making a buck and do-gooder image than helping people.

There’s a reason that Saint Mary Medical Center stopped funding the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN). I for one wonder what AHTN does with the $100,000 plus it takes in each year. I’m not an accountant and don’t know the micro details, but, as Bob Dylan sang “you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

Update:

$100,000 is what AHTN has lost. That being such a large sum, I had that figure in my mind. Before Saint Mary cut funding, AHTN’s budget, according to the article in the Bucks County Courier Times, was $220,000/year! Wow!  Where does all that money go? Occasionally they put homeless people up in a motel, occasionally transport people to doctors and such, support a rejuvenation station, and take the homeless and those in need to community meals and code blues (winter). Is there a lot of overhead? Maybe lots of it going to those on salary? I’ve seen reports on the various charitable organizations that show how much of each dollar taken in goes to the recipients – those who are being helped. Some organizations give a greater percentage of money taken in that goes to the needy than others. Wonder what this ratio of funds coming in to AHTN go to the homeless and needy and how much is “pocketed.”

I wonder now that AHTN now expects to take in more that $100,000/year if it will slight the homeless and needy as if so, how much. From the AHTN website: “ALERTS: Beginning Monday July 24th through Monday Sept. 4th, Wheels to Meals will be operating with just ONE BUS.  Please be patient as it will take longer for the bus to cover the entire route, including all 4 bus stops. If guests can carpool with a friend, please do. The bus will only make 2 trips maximum each way.”

A few observations over about the past three years: Awhile back, AHTN spent money to have a handicapped assisted bus. One handicapped woman used the handicapped access. It was trumpeted in the media. A reporter came on ATHN’s bus and went to a community meal to interview the woman. Soon after the hype was over, to my knowledge she stopped using the service nor did any other handicapped people. Symbolism over substance.

Speaking of the bus, AHTN labels the transportation to homeless meals “wheels to meals.” Until recently, I thought the service was connected to Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers meals to seniors who have trouble getting out. I could better understand where all the money goes if AHTN was doing Meals on Wheels. Of course, we know that non-profits are not about slick Madison Avenue advertising. Not unless we look behind the curtain.

The curtain was opened in the aftermath of innocent people having their bike locks cut when they were legally parked at the Levittown public library. Because it was believed that some people abandoned their bikes there, all the locks were arbitrarily cut. In this matter AHTN was smoke and mirrors. An “advocate” met with the librarian, who said she made an announcement about the cutting of the bike locks, and that was the end of AHTN involvement in the matter.

It speaks well of the homeless that after this ordeal they didn’t vandalize the library. Behind the curtain you didn’t see the homeless stereotypes! Today in Bucks County, the homeless are treated much like blacks were in the Jim Crow south. Martin Luther King urged his followers not to return wrong for wrong but to engage in passive resistance.

The problem in Bucks County is the caste system, where the distasteful attitude exists where once one is homeless, he can’t become a self-reliant, productive member of society but a ward of the state. Dr. King argued against this mentality: http://www.thecommentator.com/article/4104/martin_luther_king_did_not_argue_for_welfare_dependency

Whereas advocates in other areas have gone to bat when the homeless were wronged, even going to district court and winning, AHTN did nothing when the authorities hustled the homeless from the Veterans memorial only because they were homeless. The district court is right next to the memorial.

Another Bucks institution that doesn’t live up to its reputation is the Levittown Salvation Army Community Center. Back in the day, The Salvation Army ministered to the down and out, largely drunks. They met them where they were, both in location and status in society, as Jesus did with the woman at the well. The booze industry didn’t like the Salvation Army reforming drunks; it cared more about making money than about people. People involved in the booze business attacked The Salvation Army.

Today in Levittown, the Salvation Army does not genuinely care about the homeless. Queen Latifah, who usually hosts the homeless meals, talks down to them, as if they are children or criminals. A volunteer at the center Salvation Army gave her the nick name because she tries to be real hip. He said “she works hard to be black.” Queen Latifah on steroids talks street English (bad English) and makes street gestures. To have the position at the Salvation Army, she had to have at least some education. Author Tom Wolfe called educated, middle to upper class folks who purposely talk and act like the uneducated, lower class as having “a nostalgia for the mud.” But even people in lower stations haven’t always talked that way.  Professor of Economics Walter E Williams, who grew up in a Philadelphia project said that his fellow blacks spoke standard English in the projects.

The attitude back then is why Dr. Williams made something of himself.

In Bucks County, the homeless are hustled in a different way. The recently defunded Homeless Outreach Support Transition Program (HOST), is a hustle. To look at the man behind the curtain, AHTN should bring disco lights to Code Blues and play “Do The Hustle” and introduce a mental health hustler. This may no longer be possible, as HOST, the first stop to put the homeless on the taxpayer funded Disoriented Express, was defunded.

https://youtu.be/V3kE0rvAJhM

I think “Do The Hustle” should be Bucks County’s theme song!

What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?

“What shall we do with the drunken sailor?” is a simple question to answer. Just “put him in the guardroom until he gets sober!” Other questions, such as what shall we do with the high druggie and the homeless are not so simply answered. Today, these questions are treated like a rhetorical question (for those of you in Doylestown, one that doesn’t require an answer), as, for example, when Jimmy Ruffin sang “what will become of the broken hearted?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vf3ZE7CLg0

The drug epidemic and homelessness keeps lingering on. The drug problem keeps getting worse because people fighting it, especially the government, has made it more complicated than it should be.  This must be by design. As a guy who recently successfully kicked his toxic habit on his own said, “there are recovery and treatment centers that can help people quit using drugs — in fact, it’s a multibillion-dollar industry

http://levittownnow.com/2017/07/07/do-it-yourself-detox-can-be-freddy-krueger-scary-and-usually-fails/

There’s a long waiting line to get into city and state funded drug rehab programs and they are expensive.

The establishment and some of the dopers kin weave a tangled web to explain the problem but they deceive. One thing they got wrong is that the problem is all the drug dealers fault. They think if all the drug pushers are rounded up the problem will be solved. Another thing they got wrong is when they say drug abuse is a disease and it can be treated with just the right drugs, err… medications.

A better way to address the problem is to stop treating a druggie, in the words of Curly of The Three Stooges, as “a victim of soy cum stances.”  It’s a matter of the will.  People make excuses to not face the world and choose to escape through drugs.

The trick is to get to the root of the problem, whether it be drugs, booze, anxiety…   After I lost my job and had other problems, I suffered from anxiety and depression. I allowed myself to be roped into treatment at the Penndel Mental Health Center, Penndel, PA.  I was put on Paxil. It made me worse! My hands started shaking almost more than they did when I thought we took a direct hit when I was passing up ammo at the bottom of the gun chain on a destroyer when I was in combat in Viet Nam. The difference is on the destroyer my hand tremors lasted just a few minutes, whereas my hands shook almost constantly when I was on Paxil. The clinic and someone in the mental health industry who went to the Salvation Army Community Center, Levittown, PA told me it was OK – it just takes time to break in.

After a few months using the legal dope I stopped cold turkey, and suffered withdraw.  My near constant hand shaking abated and I kicked that bad habit.

I found a simpler way to deal with my problem.   I did some research and found that dark chocolate does the same thing as Paxil and more, and with no fear of withdraw. Kava tea is a natural relaxant, and, like dark chocolate, if you use moderation there are no ill effects.

Problems such as anxiety and depression is not just a matter of physical, medical symptoms. It’s also a result of the way one thinks. Knowing that God watches over you and that you have His guidance is the way to fight problems such as anxiety and depression. It’s a gradual process as we try to match His will with ours. When we do we are on the road to recovery as we become restored to the way God made us.

Three and ½ years after I got really messed up – not a result of drugs or alcohol, and after letting the Lord direct my paths, my condition improved. I got back on the right path. I have to just look in occasionally to see what condition my condition is in.  Yea, oh-O Yea…my condition was in.

As a result of churches passing on their responsibility to help people with problems to worldly psychologists and psychiatrists, Jay E Adams started the Biblical Counseling Movement.  https://revolfaith.com/2014/12/05/the-biblical-counseling-movement-origins-and-philosophy/

People become homeless for different reasons. Not all of them are there because of a drug habit. Homeless people are just a microcosm of society. Today’s drug epidemic hits all communities, not just the homeless. Some druggies just happened to slip into the homeless community.

To resolve the homeless problem, one obstacle to overcome is hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. Hobophobia permeated the meeting held at the Church of The Nazarene in Burlington Township, New Jersey between the Citizens Serving The Homeless and the local community back in February when they discussed the plan to build a homeless community.

Locals at the meeting feared the homeless going through trashcans, panhandling, attacking people, and generally problems as a result of drug addiction. Here’s a link that sheds light on who the homeless really  are:  http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/myths.html

Where ever you have people you have problems, and the homeless are no exception.  Anyone who comes to the shelter who has a substance abuse problem will be ministered to, like everyone else. Citizens Serving The Homeless will need to provide adequate supervision for them. They are not just going to build a flop house but I trust they will protect the community from problems.

Drug abusers, the homeless and those helping them need to trust in and follow God. His precepts are the model we need to follow to help one another.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  –Proverbs 3: 5-6

How Can People Be So Heartless?

“How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold”

-lyrics from Three Dog Night’s Easy To Be Hard

Except for some of the churches and caring individuals in Bucks County, PA, who help the homeless and people in need, Bucks County sees people in this category as useless, a blight on their suburban paradise. One example of this attitude is nixing the annual Stand Down for homeless and needy veterans which for years has been held in a clearing in the woods behind the Levittown public library.

At Stand Down, veterans can either come for the day, where they get free medical and dental checkups, clothing, acupuncture, etc., or stay overnight a couple nights. Here, veterans can get information and referrals. At the last Stand Down I attended someone set up a medical appointment at the Horsham veteran medical clinic, and got me in quickly. There’s normally a long wait – sometimes so long that vets have died – a problem that The Donald is working on.

Evidently, we need to drain the swamp in Bucks County.

In their hubris, callousness and dysfunctionality, authorities in Bristol Township/Bucks County didn’t give a reason why the annual Stand Down will no longer be held behind the library. http://levittownnow.com/2016/09/10/program-helps-veterans-need-kicks-off-last-year-current-site/

https://www.bing.com/search?q=easy+to+be+hard+three+dog+night+youtube&form=EDGEAR&qs=AS&cvid=98ce65ea4f5e43dcb1941c5b5b6e87d7&cc=US&setlang=en-US

Banning Stand Down reflects a snobbish attitude from people who don’t want anyone who doesn’t fit into their fabricated, middle class, bourgeois world around them. The public relations gal at the local Salvation Army echoed this attitude when she argued against my complaint that the (former) librarian was on a campaign to oust homeless people from the library just because they are homeless. The Countess of Carlisle decreed that some people who visit the library don’t like the homeless being there and that It’s OK for the library to keep them out just because of their prejudice. Because I disagreed with the countess, she used her position to block me from getting a job writing for the Salvation Army.

In Bucks County, the homeless are a commodity. The Bucks County Mental Health Hustlers, who fortunately were defunded, round up the homeless like cattle and leech onto their government funding to get them into programs such as at the Penndel Mental Health Center. I observed and keep hearing that people come out of this place in worse shape than when they come in. Just today at an afternoon community meal, a friend told me of someone he knew that came out of Penndel Mental Health worse than when he came in. “I thought they were supposed be help you get better!”, he exclaimed.

Personal Peace and Prosperity is the underlying attitude that causes the Bucks establishment to treat others the way they do. Evangelist Francis Schaeffer, who coined the phrase, said that someone who subscribes to the philosophy of personal peace wants to avoid controversy and struggle at any cost and lack moral conviction.

Dr. Schaeffer expounds on his observation of personal peace and prosperity, which he says is an epidemic of the 20th century:

“Personal peace means just to be left alone, not to be troubled by the troubles of other people…Personal peace means wanting to have my personal life pattern undisturbed in my lifetime, regardless of what the result will be in the lifetimes of my children and grandchildren. Affluence means an overwhelming and ever increasing prosperity — a life made up of things, things and more things — a success judged by an ever–higher level of material abundance.”

http://christinprophecy.org/articles/francis-schaeffer/

The three day a year program for homeless and needy veterans was another thing the elites considered useless, not in their interests, as is their resistance to providing more shelter for the homeless in Bucks County. They are on a roll. They cleared the homeless from the Queen Anne Park woods, around the memorial, and imposed Draconian rules for the whole Lower Bucks Government Complex. For sure, some of the homeless in this area gave the establishment good reason to boot people from the woods, but it will not even get out of the way to allow caring people to create housing for the homeless – official places with rules where the druggies and other miscreants are excluded.

The Godless belief system that has polluted the 20th century is being played out in Bucks County, PA. No longer do people have intrinsic value, made in the image of God.

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  -Matthew 22:36-40

Overcoming Obstacles

Funding Woes Hurt Homeless reads a newspaper headline I referenced in recent blogs and argued that the cuts to Bucks County’s useless Mental Health Hustler programs is not what hurts the homeless.

Hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless is the main reason there is not sufficient housing for the homeless in Bucks County, PA. Because of attitude towards the homeless, not only will the county government not adequately provide homeless housing, but it interferes with private efforts to provide homeless housing.

Bucks County should follow the example of Pedro Opeka, who encouraged impoverished people in Madagascar to build good communities from  a dump, where once he taught them, they became educated and also built their own community. They didn’t build their city on rock and roll but by motivation and hard work.

A formerly homeless guy in Bucks County told me he spoke with a businessman who had planned to create housing for the homeless. When the establishment found out the project was for the homeless, it was nixed! I’ve heard from other sources that, although there is more property in Bucks County than homeless people, when caring people tried to make plans to use it for the homeless, they got shut down faster than The Little Old Lady from Pasadena shuts down anyone who races her.

Awhile back, when I asked Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia to consider a plan to create homeless housing on county land, she poo-pooed the idea and said that it would jeopardize county assisted housing opportunities. There is a one to two year wait. My idea, like Priest Pedro’s, is to let the homeless build and maintain the community, as is the case with Dignity Village in Portland, Oregon.

https://dignityvillage.org/

In Bucks County, the consensus is that people, especially the homeless, are not able to do what the villagers did in Madagascar. And as I’ve argued, Bucks County just uses the homeless so it can keep them out of public view as much as possible and put them out to pasture and tap into public funds.

Even the local Salvation Army, the organization which historically has gone against the grain in order to help restore down and out people, goes along with the establishment in order to get along. People’s actions there show that they are hobophobic. The boss, Major (Casper) Milquetoast will not lay down the law. Likewise, for The (alleged) Advocates for The Homeless and Those in need (AHTN),  rules are no rules.

Two homeless people, whom I believe were drunk and I believe took the AHTN bus, went to a recent community meal. They were both loud, especially one of them. When a host on the serving line asked me how I was doing, I responded, “OK. I’m a caregiver and it’s nice to get out once in awhile.” One of them slurred “are you in a tent or a home?” I ignored him. Louder, he repeated the question. “What does it matter?,” I replied. He said that I was in a home and added that he doesn’t like it when someone with a home says he’s going to go out. That whine was totally irrational and uncalled for. Smacks of jealousy and PMS (poor me syndrome). He later got into a loud argument with another guest.

If the jealous tent dweller would get off the bottle, change his attitude and do something more constructive he may get out of his tent. I know of a few homeless people who did! They got a good attitude, didn’t engage in or listen to malicious gossip, went out of their way to find work, and moved on up!

Problem homeless people contribute to homophobia. Unfortunately, people judge all homeless people based on a few rotten apples.

Just as blacks overcame discrimination, oppression during the Jim Crow south, the homeless can overcome prejudice against the homeless and other obstacles.

Excuse making and blame shifting are major reasons the drug abuse epidemic is getting worse. When you see it for what it is, it’s as comical as an episode on the sit com Good Times, when JJ got busted for having a wild party. When confronted, he explained that some people broke into the family apartment “and forced us to party with them.”

“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

The doc has the right prescription for overcoming obstacles!

Birmingham and Levittown

In his letter from the Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr urged leaders of the white “moderate”, lukewarm churches to stand for justice against the oppression of blacks in the Jim Crow south. This is the case with the homeless in Bucks County, PA, where some churches, instead of standing up for the homeless, go along with the Bucks County establishment and view the homeless as second class citizens. In both cases, churches have taken the stance to go along in order to get along.

The church needs to stand on Biblical principles and influence the culture – be the salt in society.

In Bucks County, as was the case with blacks during the Jim Crow south, which by the way was under the influence of Democrats, the rights of the homeless are not respected. At the Levittown public library, there’s been a campaign to constructively remove the homeless from the library. Instead of standing up for the disadvantaged, as the Salvation Army did back in the day, the Salvation Army Levittown Community Center tacitly endorses this attitude. When the center’s public relations gal, The Countess of Carlisle butted into a conversation I was having with another volunteer about the harassment of the homeless, she Augustly stated that some people who visit the library don’t like the homeless being there and that the librarian is right for obliging her fellow elitists.

I disagreed. Consequently, the countess used her position to block an offer I had to write for the Salvation Army.

Between a member of The Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) and the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Penndel, PA, an injustice was committed when a guest came to the church’s community meal drunk. He verbally assaulted and physically threatened another guest and anyone who seemed to have a problem with his behavior, cursing up a storm. He was restrained by a few men in the church.

The police were called. Two members of AHTN walked with the attacker to the other end of the large room. When the police came, they told the victim to leave, at the host’s request. The next time the victim came to the meal, he was told he had to leave. The host reluctantly said it was because he was saying bad things about the homeless.

There was false witness going around about the victim, that he ratted out homeless campsites and was a pervert, a sexual predator. I don’t know what any member from AHTN told the host when they walked out of hearing range of the victim, but it’s bizarre that the victim, who showed total restraint under attack, was banned from the church. I believe that AHTN repeated lies about the victim and maybe embellished the false witness, making up more lies. The attacker must have heard what was said.

Interestingly, the authorities did not bring the drunk and disorderly attacker to the district court where the victim filed a lawsuit against Redeemer Lutheran Church and members of AHTN. He may have shed the light of truth on what was said to cause Redeemer to ban the victim from the meals. The court entered a default judgment against him but dismissed the case against Redeemer and AHTN.

AHTN protected the perpetrator out of self interest. They view the homeless as miscreants whom they don’t hold accountable, which keeps their non profit in business.

On one occasion, the Levittown librarian ordered the locks of bikes parked legally in the bike rack in the library cut because some homeless people had abandoned their bikes there. All the locks were cut, including those who had their bikes parked there during their stay at the library. Christine, one of the AHTN members who talked with the hosts at Redeemer Lutheran Church, met with the librarian. She reported to the homeless that Pat, the librarian, made an announcement for those with bikes parked there to come out so they wouldn’t have their locks cut. I learned from a reliable source that Pat never made an announcement, as the guy who told me was in the library the whole time.

In his letter, Dr King wrote of being in the middle of two different forces in the black community. One is complacent and just goes along with the status quo. The other force is bitter and hateful and breeds violence. These black nationalist groups are the forerunners of today’s militant groups, such as Black Lives Matter. Dr. King writes “It is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incurable devil.”

Some hold the same view in the homeless community. A homeless and a formerly homeless guy told me that because the homeless are oppressed and because of their situation, they have a reason to act like savages. I disagree.

MLK explained in his letter that the purpose of non violent protest is to call attention to injustice and bring people to the negotiating table. This is what a true advocate for the homeless did in Portland, Oregon. Consequently, Dignity Village, a community of tiny houses where some formerly homeless have administrative positions, was created.

What Bucks County needs is to call more attention to the homeless problem, and instead of pushing the homeless away, like the Democrats did the American Indian, respect the rights of the homeless and don’t quash even private efforts to house the homeless just because of a few bad apples. This is discrimination.

Some churches in Bucks County have been gracious to the homeless, feeding them, providing clothes, accepting, listening to and mentoring them. They need to do more of it!

We shall overcome!

Dr. King’s letter is lengthy, but, to borrow a phrase from a high school English teacher, it’s worth its weight in gold:

https://swap.stanford.edu/20141218230016/http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/kingweb/popular_requests/frequentdocs/birmingham.pdf

We All Have Baggage

“We all have baggage,” a former homeless man used to say. In my last blog, I analyzed people who engage in bizarre, anti-social behavior and explored the role of the mental health industry.

Today I’ll look into the problems of everyday people, focusing on the homeless.

Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung related a story about visiting an insane asylum with an “intelligent layman” who remarked that the people there were like everyday people, except their problems were greatly magnified.

People in today’s society have different degrees of issues. Just being homeless is an issue. Within this group, some individuals have more serious problems, such a drug and alcohol abuse.

Except when a substance abuse or other problem gets too extreme, when people need to be put in a treatment facility, they can go to meetings. Churches in lower Bucks County, PA have increasingly hosted programs, such as AA. There’s a unique program in Bucks County that combines alcohol and drug abuse counselling  with other problems, such as anger management, anxiety and depression, using the 12 steps program. There is even a 12 steps Bible, which matches Bible verses with the steps.

The program is actually a peer-to-peer, brother/sister to brother/sister program, where participants counsel one another.

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  – Proverbs 27:17

http://www.12stepjourney.com/

Even people who seem to have it made have problems, although they may be hidden. Some of them have positions of respectability. It’s usually through their actions that others see their issues, especially when it’s affecting them. For example, The Countess of Carlisle at the Salvation Army  Community Center in Levittown, PA.

The Countess contradicted the Salvation Army’s mission, which was established to reach out to those not so beautiful people – the poor, the down and out, drunks, druggies, prostitutes – and give them hope through Jesus.

On one occasion, the Countess joined a conversation about the homeless I was having with another volunteer. I expressed my problem with how the homeless are treated at the public library in Levittown, PA. She stated that the librarian is trying to keep them out because people who visit the library don’t like them there. When I told her how I challenged this discrimination – that the homeless were singled out as a group only because they are homeless – she Augustly quipped “what good’s that going to do?”  The Countess said that the librarian has total sovereignty over the library, as if it is her own property.

A Salvation Army worker from the regional office had offered me a job opportunity writing for the Salvation Army. The first step was to go to the center’s Captain, who told me I needed to go through the Countess. My assignment was to write a blog about the community meals. The Countess practically wrote it herself, injecting her ideas, mostly not relating to the meal.

I didn’t hear anything about the job for months until I saw the regional public relations person  taking photos at the center while I was working in the food bank. She asked me if I was still interested in writing for the Salvation Army. “Yes”, I said. Again, I went to Captain Casper Milquetoast, who directed me to the Countess.

“I don’t have time for that,” the Countess snapped. Hummm… Did her stonewalling me have anything to do with me expressing my opinion about the homeless? Probably a coincidence. If you believe that, you probably believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny.

We humans are not perfect. We are all fallen creatures. Christians are sinners saved by grace. God designed us to live in a certain way. When we don’t, we become dysfunctional. We all mess up from time to time, in different degrees and various ways.

Even when we are, as Curly of The Three Stooges, a victim of circumstances, as I was with the Countess of Carlisle, we can still fall into sinful ways. My sinful self wanted to get even and harbored resentment. This isn’t the first time I felt this way.

Although I’ve come a long way after nearly having a mental breakdown about 2 ½ years ago, I still wrestle with problems resulting from character flaws, my sinful nature. To have victory over this character flaw, I remember that I cannot overcome the problem on my own, but need a higher power – God. I pray, read the Bible, go to Bible studies, get informal counsel from Christian brothers and sisters, etc. Consequently, I am starting to overcome my resentment, or at least have it under control.

We all need help, even with little problems. Little problems can become big. Unchecked, we can fall into a downward spiral, as I did. I wish I had nipped it in the bud!

Just being homeless is a problem, whether one is homeless because of one’s own folly, or as a result of economics, which was the main reason for homelessness during The Great Depression. No matter what the case, the homeless need to be shown Christian concern, accepted unconditionally and shown God’s love and mercy. In Bucks County, PA, Christians have been stepping up to the plate to do this. They have been offering them help with material, emotional, and spiritual needs. The homeless need to know that people care.

No matter what your problems or situation, even if you are one who thinks he has it made, you need the Lord.

As the apostle Paul writes in Romans:

” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”  -Romans 7:15-20

Romans 7:18 accompanies the 1st step in the 12 Steps Journey Program.

Grace for The Homeless

In previous blogs, I have challenged attitudes in Bucks County, PA regarding the homeless, being hard on some in the Christian community.

Christians are sinners saved by grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. That is, grace is God doing good for us that we do not deserve. In response for God showing us grace, Christians are to grow in grace and be more like Christ, and show grace towards others.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” –2nd Corinthians 9:7″.

Many churches in lower Bucks County have opened their doors to the homeless. They feed the homeless and needy, talk with them and make them feel at home. They treat their guests as friends. One church in particular, Saint Mark AME Zion Church in Newtown, refers to them as “friends without walls.” To make guests at the meals as well as visitors to the church feel welcome, they sing “So glad you’re here, so glad you’re here, so glad you’re here in Jesus name…”

And they mean it.

Saint Mark hosts early Sunday afternoon meals once a month for their friends without walls. Officially, the meals start at 2 p.m., but some friends drift in as early as an hour before serving time. The church is open, and  people in the church are down where the meals are served, setting up. They chat with the early birds as they drift in.

Throughout the history of the church, some congregations have followed the Word of God more than others. An exemplary early church was The Church at Ephesus, which Jesus Himself praised for its patience. Patience is translated as “endurance under trial.”    This church got a lot of flack from the false religions in the city, but they kept the faith.

Other early churches allowed worldly views to pollute them.

Today the world tries to bring the church down to it’s level. Some “churches” just take on a worldly, judgmental view.

The Salvation Army was established with a mission to help the downtrodden, the poor, the homeless, even the seedy people of the street to give them a hand up to restore them through God’s Word. Today in Levittown, PA, however, the local Salvation Army Community Center helps the homeless grudgingly, not exactly a cheerful giver. They put on a show, much like the Pharisee in the parable in Luke 18 who bragged that he was not like the tax collector who also came to the temple but  faithfully followed the letter of the law.

The meals for the homeless at the Salvation Army start at 6 p.m., sharp. They are not welcomed in until then. And when they enter, social services director Queen Latifah prods them about like cattle and warns them about not running around the building and tells them generally to behave, as if they are children or criminals. There have been countless complaints about the queen, but the boss, Captain Caspar Milquetoast, doesn’t lay down the law. He once told me that he was going to keep her in the kitchen, but he didn’t follow through on it.

Particularly prevalent today is the politically correct, which dictates beliefs contrary to God’s Word. Captain Caspar evidently does not want to take a stand against the queen, for fear of the politically correct. He also didn’t take a stand against community relations and development director The Countess of Carlisle after she, in Stalinist style, punished me for disagreeing with her about the way the homeless are treated by thwarting my offer by an official from division headquarters as a writer for the Salvation Army.

On one occasion, a man who had recently become homeless came to the Salvation Army Levittown Corps (and it’s starting to be rotten at the core) for food. It was hot and he was flushed. I offered him a ride to the Levittown public library, where he could get the bus to the community meal and where an advocate may be able to help him, after I finished my volunteer work at the food pantry. As he was waiting in the uncrowded lobby, the Countess sternly told me he couldn’t hang around. After I explained he was waiting for a ride from me, she reluctantly acquiesced.

In criticizing churches I try to be as gracious as possible. Peace is not necessarily the absence of conflict. As Romans 12:18 says “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” But sometimes things must be said and action taken, for example, Jesus driving the money changers out of the church.

As was the case with the early churches, where the apostle Paul encouraged the churches to follow the Word of God, I encourage the churches to show grace towards the homeless, who were made in God’s image. The world, the Bucks County establishment, is cutting the homeless very little slack – they are mostly graceless. Christians must show God’s unconditional love to others.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 5:16

All Aboard The Disoriented Express

Tonight at the community meal was a microcosm for the church verses secular psychology. This hit me when I walked by the pastor and a representative from Penndel Mental Health Center standing next to each other. Both of them made their rounds and mingled with the homeless and needy who were dining at the church.

The mental health rep was wearing a chain around his neck with a badge attached, so you know he meant business. And speaking of business, the deadline for yearly public funding for the center is approaching – in July. A parody is in order:

Upcoming Funding Time (parody of Fats Domino’s Finger Popping Time)

It’s upcoming

Funding Time

It’s upcoming

Funding Ty-ime

I feel so good

I’m on the public dime

Hey now Hey now Hey now Hey now

They lost Alan but here come Keith

Here comes Chris and he’s talking sweet

But Alan’s still with the county

And helps get the bounty

It’s upcoming

Funding Time

It’s upcoming

Funding Ty-ime

I feel so good

I’m on the public dime

Hey now Hey now Hey now Hey now…

While Chris was doing the hustle, most likely trying to Shanghai the homeless to get them aboard The Disoriented Express, the pastor was asking the guests, many of whom she formed a bond with, about their lives, showing God’s love. Her motive was Christian concern and she encouraged people to go to church.

Just this week, the pastor at my church said that the church has relegated it’s responsibility to meet the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of people to the government. Welfare programs just hand people a check and food stamps but do an inadequate job of ministering to people to help them.

Penndel Mental Health Center is infamous for passing out drugs to control behavior. I suspect that they push drugs to maximize profits for Big Pharm.

Shanghaiing the homeless is a win-win proposition for Bucks County, PA.  It keeps the nuthouse in business while removing what Bucks County deems pests, letting them linger in the Land of The Lotus-eaters. “In Greek mythology the Lotus-eaters, also referred to as the lotophagi or lotophaguses or lotophages, 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.

The enemy of the homeless is not a couple outspoken people who tell it like it is, but the government and some intolerant, judgmental people who influence the government — people who are more interested in their personal peace and prosperity than the needs of hurting people. Homeless patrons at the public Library are made to feel unwelcome and are constructively driven out, as they used to be at the Veterans’ Memorial, where I believe guards were egged on by government leeches at the WIC building and other self righteous people to shoo away what they consider pests.

Dr. Jeff has a diagnosis for what ails some homeless people. It’s PMS (poor me syndrome). They wallow in self pity. They are miserable so they work hard to make others miserable. The cure? Accept your circumstances and work on ways to overcome them. Turning to God is the way I am dealing with my situation. I was only living in my car for a few months, but after losing my job and having other bad circumstances happen, I was devastated, a total wreck.

For awhile, at the advice of the local Salvation Army, who relegated some of it’s responsibility to secular psychology, I went as an outpatient at Penndel Mental Health Center. My anxiety and depression got worse with the drugs they gave me. Drugs should be used for medical, physical problems, not to control behavior. I’ve made much better progress with the church and my personal relationship with God. It’s a long journey, with setbacks along the way. Restoring oneself takes time. As I gathered from the 12StepJourney  (meetings which I attend) Facebook page, we still have old wounds, many of them self inflicted,  that need to heal and poisons that need an antidote.

All aboard the Disoriented Express!

Not!  

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” –Psalm 40:2

Wossamatta U Evangelicals and The Homeless

Donald Trump is a window on what our culture, and on what some evangelical Christians who support him, has become. Trump was raised in a feel-good church, Marble Collegiate, home of Norman Vincent Peale who wrote the infamous The Power of Positive Thinking. The books ideas, which spread like manure, combined psychobabble with Christianity.

The term “self esteem” is ubiquitous. It basically tells people to feel good about themselves. The problem is not that we shouldn’t be positive, and not hang our heads down low, but the basis for feeling good about yourself.

Humans have a way of rationalizing behavior. Modern psychologists and others make excuses for bad behavior, and tell people “it’s OK” and that it wasn’t their fault. So they feel good about themselves, raise their self esteem without resolving human character flaws, which simply comes down to sin.

We have no good in ourselves.   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” –John 15:5.

The chair yoga class I take at the public library in Levittown, PA offers great exercises for your health, but I laugh off the religious aspect of the class.  “Let the sunshine shine through you, the love surround you…”  The teacher also prompts the class to “bow to the teacher within.”  This says that we are basically good. As a sinner saved by grace, I disagree.

Left to our own devices, our human flaws, we don’t know how to treat others and love them unconditionally. For me, when God is my captain and follow his rules I can feel good about myself. When we bond with God, we can show people the love God gives.

“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” –Luke 10:27

Trump can bully a widow who doesn’t want to move from her dwelling and still feel good about himself. After all, he trumps how he gives people money and pays lip service to  feel good clergy such as Joel Osteen, who praises Trump as “a friend of our ministry” and “a good man.” Yet Osteen and other pseudo-evangelicals don’t tell us why.

The homeless in lower Bucks County, PA are marginalized, even considered as a group a persona non grata.  The surface, feel good, commercialized, culture of Bucks County where, like Engulf and Devour in Mel Brook’s Silent Movie, the almighty dollar is worshipped, has no room in the Inn for the homeless. As I mentioned in the previous blog, a worldly representative from the Salvation Army thinks the Levittown librarian is doing a community service by trying to rid the library of homeless people.

Mixing worldly views in the church is the problem today, as it’s always been. This is the affiliations Donald Trump has.

During the early church, the apostle Paul and his guys toured the early church to encourage them to practice fidelity to scriptures.  In my Sunday school class, we looked at a map that showed the apostle’s journey. I noticed that they were moving away from Cypress and remarked that the guys were running away from the Cyclops.  “Too much Greek mythology, Jeff,” a brother remarked.

That, of course, was a joke. But it’s no joke that churches have been mixing worldly views with Christianity.

A Westminster Seminary student once told me that the traditional, orthodox Protestant churches have more in common with the Roman Catholic churches that they do with their liberal Protestant counterparts, even in their own denomination! He called these churches “apostates”, which means that God isn’t even in the picture. My Mom used to call these feel good churches “social clubs”.

This is why Westminster Seminary was formed.

http://www.wts.edu/about/history.html

As I discussed in earlier blogs, it’s mostly the true believers who accept the homeless unconditionally and help them and expect nothing in return. They certainly are acting in a godly manner.

Family Promise of Lower Bucks County, which will hold it’s grand opening on Saturday, April 2 at 10 a.m., practices God’s grace by sheltering and feeding homeless families and taking them to the day center, where they can better themselves.

Resourceful and tricky as he is, if it was to his advantage, Donald Trump could probably find a way to recycle homeless people and turn them into Soylent Green, wafers people could eat. Maybe they could be used for communion in the churches that back Trump. And they would feel good about themselves! Instead of saying that the wafer represents Christ’s body that was broken for you when pastors administer communion, they can say “this is for your self esteem.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green

Trump and the phony evangelicals are a modern manifestation of P.T. Barnum.  As Ted Cruz says, “people like PT Barnum” but that “it is time to put away the clowns, the acrobats, and the dancing bears.” This also applies to Shrillery Clinton, who also lacks the fruits of the spirit. Although more straight forward that Trump and Clinton, Bernie Sanders is also a joke and advocates socialism, which is anti-Christian and very destructive.

“There’s a sucker born every minute”, to quote P.T. Barnum.

A large part of our country’s problems is a result of the church not having more influence on society. Church goers, read your Bibles and learn truth for yourself!  “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  –John 8:32