You Will Get Through This

It’s been said that the Christmas/New Year’s holiday is a time when depression sets in. All that holiday cheer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Although, in moderation, it’s fine. I had fun at my sister and her family’s house Christmas day playing tug of war with their dog and her rope. I even tagged teamed with my brother-in-law. Rosie just kept playing hard, even almost doing flips! But being around Christians Christmas day is something more satisfying than rough housing with the family dog.

Not many of us could be down in the pits more than Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was thrown into a deep dark dirty cistern by his brothers who then sold him into slavery. But in the end, the dysfunctional family learned a valuable lesson and it was for good. The spoiled, pampered brat who was brought down, over time, started obeying God. He ran away from his master’s wife after she hit on him and tried to pull him. And he was the one who got in trouble! But in the end, Joseph became Pharaoh’s right- hand man and became the de facto head honcho in Egypt. He walked like an Egyptian, talked like an Egyptian, but kept his faith in God.

https://youtu.be/Cv6tuzHUuuk

Joseph helped save the greater Egypt area from famine. It took a while, but he eventually forgave his brothers and helped them out.

Forgiveness is something I’ve struggled with. It took me awhile, and the occasional gentle admonishment from my late dear friend and companion Sandi to, like Joseph, have some victory in this matter. Former foes reached out to me after Sandi went to the Lord to console me. Even as Sandi’s health wound down, I started thinking more about what’s important in life.

Seeing Sandi withering away, the brain cancer making her increasingly weaker, I was reminded that before God, we are all the same whether we are a Pharaoh or a slave. I’m thankful that Sandi did not die out in the woods like some wild animal, thanks to people, including some Bucks County, PA homeless, helping her.

This past Thursday I went to a candlelight vigil for the homeless. Like all of us, the homeless have intrinsic value, made in the image of God, who breathed life into man and created woman from man so man would not be alone. Homelessness does not define your character! All homelessness is, as Clarence “Frogman” Henry sang, people who “ain’t got no home.”

To help me cope with Sandi going home, I’m reading “you’ll get through this: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times” by Max Lucado. Max epitomizes his message with the lines:

You’ll get through this.

It won’t be painless.

It won’t be quick.

But God will use this mess for good.

Don’t be foolish or naïve.

But don’t despair either.

With God’s help, you’ll get through this.

This Christmas season, when the party’s over the celebration of Christ’s birth continues for those who believe He died for their sins and is always present with them. Although you may not always realize it, God has your back. Like Sandi, she has a future in heaven with the Lord. As the Westminster Catechism states, our chief end “is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Here are Bible verses from Max’s chapter “good-bye to good-byes”:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21: 3-4

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  2 Corinthians 5: 1-5

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:5-54

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the LORD Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” Philippians 3: 20-21

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14: 1-3

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is1 John 3:2.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

Playing The Homeless Card

In a recent blog I addressed how, when you call out individuals who happen to be homeless, some folks in the group act like you are attacking all of them. People were accused, through blogs and verbally, of badmouthing the homeless after they just called out certain individuals for bad behavior, which effects other homeless people and “those in need” who interact with the homeless.

In past blogs I have said that in places such as Bucks County, PA, the homeless are treated the way blacks were treated during the Jim Crow South. Largely due to Martin Luther King’s campaign for equality, blacks in America are equal and are free from oppression.  Today people are on a campaign to do the same for the homeless, preaching to judge people not by the place where they live but by the quality of their character.

Although today blacks have won their freedom, there are race hustlers who say, when you hold accountable a thug, a punk like Big Bad Michael Brown, the meanest man in the whole Ferguson town, badder than old King Kong, meaner than a junkyard dog, you are attacking all blacks. Black Lives Matter (backed up by the media) lied and people died as a result.  https://www.bing.com/search?q=big+bad+leroy+brown+youtube&form=EDGTCT&qs=AS&cvid=5e5ebde7960c434bae6ef3f7c5fecdb0&cc=US&setlang=en-US

Likewise, some homeless people, and some homeless advocates (particularly in Dover Delaware) play the homeless card. All for one and one for all works for the Three Musketeers, for people doing good, but people shouldn’t unite, circle the wagons to protect someone who does wrong. This has become the hallmark of the Democratic party, except when ratting someone out benefits someone in the party.

As is the case with the race hustlers, playing the homeless card is counterproductive. That card will eventually ware out. It certainly is getting old with me! So all for one and one for all when someone comes to the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Levittown, PA drunk and trashes the place out, then, with this logic, you kick everyone who happens to be homeless out!

In his concurring opinion in a U.S. Supreme Court case that ruled affirmative action, the program started by Tricky Dick Nixon (have to bash both sides of the aisle), where employers and colleges are required to hire a certain quota of “minorities” unconstitutional, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that using race as a basis to hurt or even benefit someone is racist.

Likewise, using homelessness as a basis to hurt or give a free pass to (like coming to a community meal drunk, cursing loudly and attacking people or ganging up on a homeless woman because you have a problem with her) is equally hobophobic (for those of you in Doylestown, the irrational fear and distain of homeless people).

So, just as you shouldn’t be afraid of the reaper, you shouldn’t be afraid of the blog. Don’t confuse blog with the blob that has appeared in old science fiction movies.

Don’t Fear The Blog

Your time may come

A blog about you is here but now it’s gone

Seasons pass after you were a drunk or a hog

So don’t fear the blog

Seasons don’t fear the blog

Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain

We can be like they are

Come on baby…Don’t fear the blog

If the charge is true

Make things right please do!

When we confess our sins

Like King David in the Psalms

There is healing

God will give you his gracious alms

And shine his light upon your path

If you don’t like the blog

Suck it up, Snowflake!

Housing First!

Under the leadership of Secretary Ben Carson, HUD has the right idea to fight homelessness.  I’m glad to read that the doctor has the right prescription: Housing First

HUD made $2 Million available to homeless programs, reads the headline. https://www.housingwire.com/articles/40695-hud-makes-2-billion-available-to-homeless-programs

Accountability to taxpayers is paramount in using funds for programs. HUD has been riddled with waste and graph, and the doctor has a remedy for HUDs ills and Secretary Carson will really help the homeless with this housing first approach.

An article in the guardian.com, with the headline “Entire homelessness agency could be eliminated by Trump’s budget cuts” concedes at least knowing the reason for recent budget cuts to HUDs homeless funding:

The cuts are explained in the proposal as reflecting a commitment to “fiscal responsibility”, and it foresees the slack being taken up by state and local governments and the private sector.

Fiscal responsibility, eliminating waste, is key to having a healthy economy, which prevents homelessness. The private sector should take up the balk of helping the homeless. And when you cut taxes that fund wasteful government spending, the private sector has more money to help the homeless.  Awhile back, pastor Rick Warren, who works with the private sector to help people, stated that with the high taxes, people didn’t have as much money to help others and funds dwindled under President BO.

The private sector, neighbors, churches, can get to know the needy and can better serve all their needs. In Bucks County, PA, churches give the homeless meals, clothing and take-home food. Churches also minister to the homeless, as I discussed in previous blogs.

Although the private sector cannot complete distinguish the slacker from the homeless who are serious about moving on up, it does a much better job of this than does the government. For the government and its cronies, it’s about keeping an agency funded. With the private sector, it’s neighbor helping neighbor.

In Bucks County a mental health hustler program’s funding was cut. Under this program, a mental health hustler approaches homeless people in an attempt to shanghai them to get taxpayer funds to buy them a ticket on the disoriented express that takes them to Penndel Mental Health Center, where people are legally doped up and are worse after they come out than when they came in.

It was laughable that the Courier Times said that cutting funds for this failed program, which allegedly gets housing for the homeless, hurts the homeless. This cut I understand goes all the way up to The Donald. Good job President Trump! We’re draining the swamp in Bucks County, which is a huge job.

Buck’s Rapid Response Team got a guy out of the woods and into housing. Took only three years!

What I like about HUD’s Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Program is that it’s priority is getting people housing, which is what helping the homeless is all about. What a novel idea: help the homeless find a home! One of the Bucks County mental health hustlers told me he doesn’t believe in housing first – that people have to get straight before they get housing. Talk about stereotyping homeless people. This policy helps guarantee business for the mental health industry.

The so-called emergency shelter in Levittown, PA has a waiting list of a few months, thanks to the inordinate amount of recovery homes in the area and the revolving door policy towards druggies and drunks. When people without substance abuse or other problem finally get into the shelter, they are subject to theft, violence, and harassment from those who display anti-social behavior.

One homeless people get a home, under this program, they can take care of any other problems they may have. In Bucks County, it’s axiomatic that homeless people need the services of a government sanctioned mental health center. People can find help on their own – through the church. Many churches have 12 step programs – some of them have programs that help people with any bad habits, hurts and hang ups, such as Celebrate Recovery, a national program which has local chapters. http://newlifephilly.net/celebrate-recovery

It is tax and spend progressives that create homelessness, today as it did during FDR’s New Raw Deal. Of course President Herbert Hoover and others contributed to homelessness. Where progressives rule, homelessness thrives.  This HUD program shows promise and the social cancer of homelessness has a chance to be cured, now that there’s a good doctor in the house!

Das Boot

In the movie, Das Boot, to avoid an encounter with a destroyer, a German U-boat had to dive dive dive, so far they were beyond the submarine’s rated limit. Like the homeless in Bucks County, PA, they were under great pressure, so much so that the sub’s chief engineer freaked out and had to be restrained.

Wherever the homeless in Bucks County go, they are under pressure. The biggest pressure is a place to lay their head at night.  Evictions are a way of life for the homeless. Even in my case, where I found a motel that gives weekly discounts that will allow my cancer stricken friend and I a place to survive for a time, we got evicted!

My friend fell when walking past the office at the Neshaminy Inn in Trevose one Monday. About 1 ½ hours before our paid week ended, we were told we had to move. Immediately! I told the Inn I couldn’t do that, with nowhere to go and high heat and humidity, and said the police would have to pull us out, and they wouldn’t like that kind of publicity. We were given a week, reluctantly.

A pastor and a social worker called the Neshaminy Inn to ask them to at least give us time until we find a place to stay, but like a prevailing mentality in Bucks, they didn’t care. What’s more, they acted like they were concerned for our welfare. To quote Pat Paulsen “Bull feathers!”

To quote from the official eviction letter from the Neshaminy Inn’s owner, Matthew Etzrodt:

“We are concerned for *** safety and believe she would be better relocating to a different location. We are not a healthcare facility and are unable to provide a safe environment for her. We feel the alcohol consumption combined with the drugs she is taking pose an immediate risk.”  

This is a lie and a gross distortion. She doesn’t take drugs, even prescription. Just seizure medicine. My friend even stopped taking sleeping pills weeks before this incident. And when she did, this, as is the case with the seizure medicine, it was never taken anywhere near the time she consumed alcohol. And she only drank in the room and quietly slept. She fell because it was hot and humid and she didn’t use her head.

Two officials on different occasions said that the living conditions and my help were suitable for my friend’s welfare. The only time the Neshaminy Inn was put out at all was when they called me when she fell.

Das Boot has become a trend in Bucks County, PA. For some people, the only solution to solve problems that occur where people stay is to boot them out! It’s like The Gong Show, where if the host doesn’t like the way people are performing, they get gonged off the stage. Booting people in Bucks is often just a matter of personal preference, as is the campaign to boot all homeless people from the public library in Levittown just because people don’t like them.

It’s sometimes arbitrary and even vindictive, as was the case with the queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Off with their head!

Lewis Carroll’s story could easily be set in Bucks County, with all the mad hatters and queens.

At a meeting the press covered at the Veteran’s Memorial in Levittown, where homeless advocates, the homeless, veterans and a Bucks County official met the day when the homeless were evicted from the government complex in Levittown, one advocate said “I understand what their (the county) concerns are, but I really don’t think their dealing with it the right way.,” and added “I called the phone number on the signs and there is no more room in the shelters.”

Instead of booting people from their “homes” when there’s a problem, people need to reason together and work out a solution to the problem other than das boot.

This applies to other problems as well. Shooting cops because you don’t think what a cop did was right is the wrong way to go about it. Dr. Martin Luther King preached and did the right thing through peaceful protest and well thought out persuasive arguments. The homeless problem in Bucks County PA is much like racial problems MLK resolved.

I feel like the chief engineer in Das Boot who freaked out under pressure and had to be restrained. The only thing that’s calming me down (a bit) is my faith in God and counsel and help from my Christian brothers and sisters.

The homeless are under pressure. It’s good that Christians have been reaching out to help. Besides helping with physical needs, the friends without walls, as one church that hosts community meals refers to the homeless, are loved by them unconditionally. For those of you in Doylestown, this means to care for people without expecting anything in return.

“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.

The answer, my friend, isn’t blowing in the wind, the bottle, or the pill you took today. It’s faith in God. Mine is really being tested right now.

Gimmee Shelter

Oh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

-Lyrics from the Rolling Stone’s Gimmee Shelter

Today in places such as Bucks County, PA, people are saying “Gimmee shelter!”

Life for the homeless in Bucks County is stormy. There seems to be a war against the homeless. Despite the county having more vacant property than homeless people, nobody’s been able to put the two together.

Even if you have some money, it’s hard to get housing in lower Bucks County. It’s completely impossible if you have hardly two pennies to rub together.

Unofficial places for the homeless to go is steadily shrinking. In some cases, certain problem individuals have caused their places to be raided. In some cases, the good people could have done more to keep the problem people out. But this can be difficult, as the Bucks establishment subscribes to the one-size-fits all mentality, so in many cases even if problem people are reported, everyone is punished.

The homeless in lower Bucks often end up at the Bucks County Homeless Shelter in Levittown, where they may have to wait for months to get in, thanks largely to the Feds which has imposed an inordinate number of recovery houses on the lower Bucks community – some 100 of them. Instead of moving on up, the druggies continue their bad habits and end up in the so-called emergency shelter. The shelter is also a revolving door for drunks and other miscreants.

Consequently, relatively normal people are put at risk. One problem is theft. Also crazies disturbing them. Just last night some psycho was keeping people up well past midnight. The staff did nothing to stop this, yet a rogue ranger, Tom Booze, who volunteers at the shelter, is on a witch hunt, doing criminal checks, possibly illegally, and harasses the homeless at the shelter. One resident told me that when he walked past the rogue ranger, he noticed he had pulled up a birth certificate on the shelter’s computer screen.

In one case, Booze put his hands on one of the shelter residents for no reason, evidently to provoke him so he could call the police. He also accused a resident of being drunk without using a breathalyzer or a swab test.

This place is not a shelter from the storm. In fact, it is the storm!

The Bucks County Homeless Shelter is becoming a Lord of The Flieshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Flies

A formerly homeless guy I met about 2 ½ years ago has become responsible, self sufficient. He has a job and can pay his own bills. He is getting his act together. There were some caring people who have helped him help himself.

We need to give all the homeless an opportunity to help themselves. Some succeed, some don’t. One size does not fit all. The homeless need a hand up, not a hand out.

The key to helping the homeless is caring people in the community, not the government. Unlike people who voluntarily come out to help the homeless with their physical and spiritual needs, the government isn’t very personable. The homeless, at least here in Bucks County, are written off as lost causes and treated as a commodity. For example, Alan Johnson, who works for the county, told me he doesn’t believe in housing first and added that people have to get straight first. He presupposes that they all need mental health services in order to get housing. In fact, he offered housing to me and others if we are willing to be labeled that we are so messed up that we cannot be a productive member of society.

Very few people in the homeless community need to be put away. The county health industry doesn’t really help people. I can think of two people who go to the community meals who need to be tucked away somewhere. Druggies and chronic drunks also need to be sequestered the way people in insane asylums centers are.  Their habits are a form of insanity. The 12 Steps program helps restore sanity.Step Two- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  http://www.12stepjourney.com/

Contrast the way caring people reach out to the homeless to the government’s modus operandi. First of all, private parties show unconditional love. Yesterday at the afternoon community meal, the guys at my table said they really appreciate the trouble that church goes to prepare good meals, and that they particularly appreciate the way the hosts treat them. Yesterday one of the hosts asked the guests what God did for them. One chirped that he got his job back. The host also talked about forgiveness, to which I noticed some guests were very attentive.

Awhile back, a host ministered, one on one to a guy who was nearly at the end of his rope with his drug problem. The guy ended up in a faith based short term drug treatment program. When I talked with him while visiting someone else at the treatment center, he told me he realizes the gravity of his problem and that he’s determined to take the program seriously.

These caring people are examples of the way we should care for people who need a hand up. Oh, did I say these were church people? The church needs to take back the mission that she relegated to the secular world, especially to a machine like government.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

-Proverbs 31:8