The Solution for The Drug Epidemic is God

Everywhere you turn, you hear about places that deal with addictions.  There are many varieties. Some are fancy schmancy. There’s one ad on TV that starts with soft, soothing music looks like someone is about to get acupuncture, there’s a pool and a gym – a fancy resort! There are other places that are in more humble and simple settings.

In cases such as heroin addiction methadone is needed to curb cravings and make addicts more stable. Addiction becomes a medical problem in part.  Besides physical addiction, there is the battle in the mind. Methadone is just a temporary fix, or should be, to help those engaged in voluntary slavery to be redeemed.

The opioid and other drug abuse crisis is a spiritual problem.  Our country has turned away from God. People have stopped going to church, and even many who do, don’t attend a Bible believing church.

Just as our nation has been turning away from God, addictions have been exploding out of control.

In King of Prussia, PA., where I grew up, drug addiction really started taking off in the early 70s. Some new kids on the block corrupted their last name and proudly called themselves “the Doper-racks.”

The rotten fruits of the true church losing its influence on the country hasn’t been the case just in the past few decades.  In the 1920s and 30s America experienced the gangster epidemic. In the 1920s the church turned away from God, lacking fidelity to scripture, dead to the Word. My mother used to call these liberal churches “social clubs.”

An example of the churches falling off from God’s word was the Presbyterian churches. In the 1920s, the once theologically sound Princeton Theological Seminary caved to pressure to come down to the level of the mainstream Presbyterian churches at the time. They had polluted the church with modern liberalism. Instead of being a light in a dark world, the church turned the light off to the truth, leaving people in darkness.

One former Princeton professor who walked in the light was J. Gresham Machen, who went against the grain and took flack in order to take a stand against liberalism in the church.

The history, as found on the Westminster Theological Seminary website: https://www.wts.edu/history/

After Dr. Machen lost his position at Princeton and his church charged him with insubordination and removed his credentials as a minister, he took some bright young scholars with him and crossed the river to start Westminster Theological Seminary, just outside of Philadelphia in 1929.

In his book “Christianity and Liberalism”, Dr. Machen declared that liberalism teaches not a lesser form of Christianity, but an entirely different religion.

The worldly answer to alcohol abuse was the government decreeing prohibition, eliminating the supply. I wonder if anyone called it “alcohol abuse disorder”? Likewise, today authorities think they can resolve the drug problem simply by pushing out the pusher.

It was ministering to broken people that helped get Christianity back on track, more scriptural.

To help people overcome the enslaving sin of alcohol abuse, a Christian minster founded “A First Century Christian Fellowship” in 1921, 14 years before Alcoholics Anonymous was established.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ephesians 5:18-20 Ephesians

The original 12 Steps, influenced by A First Century Christian Fellowship, which later became known as The Oxford Group, made regular reference to God. Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, greatly minimized the use of God in the program.

The Oxford Group’s Philosophy:
*All people are sinners

*All sinners can be changed

*Confession is a prerequisite to change

*The change can access God directly

*Miracles are again possible

*The change must change others

Enter the Biblical Counseling movement circa 1970

For more than 45 years, the founder, pastor Jay E Adams has been promoting Christian counseling using the words of Jesus rather than psychological theory. Dr. Adams was a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and the director of the Doctoral program at Westminster Seminary in California. He is also the founder of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in Philadelphia, the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, and the Institute for Nouthetic Studies. http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography

In his book, How to Help People Change, Dr. Adams wrote “…generally your counseling itself should demonstrate that the Bible has the answers to human problems, and that, when properly used, it provides the practical solutions to the exigencies of life.”

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

In the Bible-based tradition of the Oxford Group and Dr. Adams is CLPRM, which has been reaching out to addicts. Here’s their philosophy:  http://www.clprm.org/what-we-believe/

The faith community in Bucks County will come together to reach out to addicts on Saturday, October 13 at Cairn University in Langhorne, PA at Bucks County Faith Summit II; The Faith Community and Addiction – What You Can Do. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bucks-county-faith-summit-ii-lower-bucks-co-tickets-50166620713

Events such as Bucks County Faith Summit II and counseling will be enhanced by attending a Bible believing church, one that doesn’t succumb to every whim of doctrine,  Bible studies, prayer, Christian music and fellowship. Counseling, as Dr. Adams explains in “Critical Stages of Biblical Counseling”, is basically a pit stop to take care of problems that slow down progressive sanctification so the putting off of sinful ways and putting on Godly ways can continue in the church and other venues that help the believer become more Christ-like.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to save “good” people, but sinners. Addicts are no different than anybody else.

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

As Iron Sharpens Iron

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17

They are not therapists. They are not professionals. Conquering Life Prison and Recovery Ministries (CLPRM) are just a group of folks who are on a noble quest to help those suffering from the voluntary slavery of addictions overcome their problem through Biblical means.  http://www.clprm.org/about

For CLPRM, relapsing is a major concern. It has become such a big deal that on September 8, it will hold a relapse walk and fundraiser. http://www.clprm.org/relapse-prevention-walk-and-fundraiser/ 

Quitting the voluntary slavery of an addiction is one thing, but staying off an addiction is another thing. It’s not just a matter of simply abstaining, which is good, but you need to get at the root of the problem. When people can’t handle life on its own terms, instead of seeking God’s help, they look for deliverance in the god of this age. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

Despite being rescued from an initial addiction, addicts continue to engage in destructive behavior which only brings them misery. What the demon Screwtape tells his demon nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters in their mission to bring down a Christian to their father, Satan, applies: “An ever- increasing craving for an ever-diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return – that is what really gladdens Our Father’s heart.”

The promise of being delivered and creating better living through chemistry so to speak, only to be let down is analogous to the lines in Sam Cooke’s “Another Saturday Night.”

Another fella told me he had a sister who looked just fine
Instead of being my deliverance, she had a strange resemblance
to a cat named Frankenstein

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=sam+cook+it%27s+a+saturday+night&view=detail&mid=93973378BE0C2869A3E793973378BE0C2869A3E7&FORM=VIRE

The dark world of the drug culture is the world of Frankenstein! It’s a monster created by sinful people. Users go broke, are alienated from their loved ones, they enter the pit of despair, go to jail, rehabs and sometimes institutions, and go early to the grave as well as the nuthouse.

I’ve known and heard of people who have engaged in such destructive behavior – repeatedly relapsing for as long as 30 years. One I knew well finally got clean after decades of living in the dark world of voluntary slavery and came into the light of Jesus, which was the only way to break the chains of addiction. But it was too late! But the chains were broken and heaven’s gates were opened.

You don’t have to be a drug addict or a drunk to mess up your life. I did.

I had lost my job and was going to lose my house. I lost things bit by bit, as did a woman in an episode of The Twilight Zone. In the episode, every time this spendthrift missed a credit card payment, she lost something. First the cat, then the dog, then her kids, then her husband, then her car, then her house. I lost my home Internet connection, I was soon to lose my wife, my dog had already died, and I was running low on food. I was also starting to lose my mind.

For food, I went to a local Salvation Army pantry. I also needed someone to talk with, as I was anxious and depressed about my situation. I took a Salvation Army magazine home with me and started reading it. I emailed a particular section. Someone replied to my email and wrote that it was a of a call for help. It was! Following the respondent’s advice, I visited the church come Sunday. One of the officers was in early. She let me in and we talked before Sunday school. I hadn’t been to church regularly for years. I listened attentively. I was broken. During the singing of “What a Friend We Have Jesus” I hung on every word, which was projected on a screen. When we hit the lines “oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear…” I broke down in tears. The thought that I didn’t have to have the mental pain I was in and that I could find peace in Jesus just touched me.  “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:8

The root of my problem was that I was sinning, not living a Godly lifestyle. I prayed to God, confessed my sins and asked Him to bring me back to him. I got on the right path. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

To help me get back in the pink, which certainly wasn’t in a wink, I volunteered in the food pantry. It’s good to have responsibilities. More recently a homeless guy who had a drinking problem told me he got a job, and added it would keep him out of trouble. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop!

I took my laptop to the local library and started doing online freelance writing. After a time, I started writing these blogs. For a time, I worked doing deliveries and working in the store doing odd jobs at a furniture and mattress business.

Both the drug user and I continued to keep destructive behavior at bay, by hanging with the right people and by doing the right things. Informal counseling and going to meetings such as Celebrate Recovery, an “addiction” meeting at a church, which morphed into a Bible study, reading Christian materials and to church. The drug user called the addiction meeting a Bible study.

Counseling, as Biblical Counseling movement founder Jay E Adams explains in “Critical Stages of Biblical Counseling”, is basically a pit stop to take care of problems that slow down progressive sanctification so the putting off of sinful ways and putting on Godly ways can continue in the church and other venues that help the believer become more Christlike.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to save “good” people, but sinners. Addicts are no different than anybody else.

It’s important to attend a church that follows the Bible strictly and doesn’t succumb to every whim of doctrine.

In the 1920s, mainstream protestant churches were polluted with worldly ways.  They were not holy, which means to set apart from the sinful world. Their world view was reflected in the moral and financial poverty of the times. It was ministering to broken people that helped Christianity have more fidelity to scripture.

To help people who abuse alcohol, in 1921 “A First Century Christian Fellowship, later known as The Oxford Group, was created, founded by a minister who was truly born again, 14 years before Alcoholics Anonymous. Although AA used Biblical principles from The Oxford Group, it minimized God. The added “God as we know him” was incorporated to appease non-Christians.

The practice of regular people with problems using the Bible to help one another, as CLPRM does, was the case with The Oxford Group. A “professional” could not help a drunk back then, and shrinks, along with all the other professional horses and all the king’s men, can’t today.

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. He came back to Dr. Jung, who told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully recovered.

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

Drug and alcohol abuse have a common root.

Dr. Bachman, the minister who created the Oxford Group, summed up the group’s philosophy:

  • All people are sinners
  • All sinners can be changed
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change
  • The change can access God directly
  • Miracles are again possible
  • The change must change others

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives.

The Pastor and The Shrink

In an episode of the old Soupy Sales Show, a man knocked on Soupy’s door and exclaimed “Hey buddy, you have to help me; my wife thinks she’s a tree!” Soupy replied “Why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”  As the man pulls a tree past the door, he says “come on, dear.” 

The conventional wisdom today is that when people have problems, the talisman to resolve them is the shrink. Have a problem, take it to the shrink.  

“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. 

https://www.allaboutworldview.org/christian-psychology-and-mental-illness-faq.htm 

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. When he came back to Dr. Jung, this shrink told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully recovered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous 

The Oxford Group 

Originally a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, the group was founded by a Lutheran minister who had had a born-again conversion in 1908 in a chapel in Keswick, England. Dr. Bachman, the minister, summed up the group’s philosophy: 

  • All people are sinners 
  • All sinners can be changed 
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change 
  • The change can access God directly 
  • Miracles are again possible 
  • The change must change others 

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives. 

Besides the legal dope that harms “patients” dished out by shrinks that causes physical harm and masks the root of the problem, the lack of absolute truth and conviction of sin replaced by psychobabble prevents people from overcoming their problems.  

It was broken people who went to groups in the vein of The Oxford group that help reform, again, churches that became institutional, just a shell that had little fidelity to scripture, dead to the word of God.  

Without absolutes, it might be considered normal by today’s standards to believe you are a tree. 

Heal The Land

I don’t know what she was on, but most likely a young woman was on something when she locked herself in the lady’s room at a fast food restaurant in Bristol, PA last night. A paying, female customer who needed to use the lady’s room found the lady’s room locked over a period of more than fifteen minutes. She intermittently went to the rest room door, knocked several times and asked “is anyone in there?” Over and over, but no reply.

Finally, an employee unlocked the door to find a young woman passed out on the floor. But shortly, the woman got up, and like the bride of Frankenstein, started walking away. As she walked out of the rest room, the woman who was waiting to use it remarked “other people need to use” the lady’s room. I didn’t hear the response, but the bathroom hog’s tone sounded smug, flippant.

It looked like she was trying to get into her car. Employees walked out, and the woman sauntered off. The police were called, and soon an officer showed up as did an ambulance with its lights flashing and sirens blaring. I think they found her.

I read the book Narcotics Anonymous a few years ago. By a former druggie’s own testimony, he admitted that a drug abuser is selfish – that the whole world revolves around him and the only thing that matters is getting that high. How he affects others is of no concern.

This was the case last night. It didn’t matter to that woman that she locked herself in the lady’s room, as if it were a flop house when there are other people who may need to use it.

The problem with the war on drugs is that authorities are placing all the blame on drug pushers. I’ve seen the signs in lower Bucks County “Push Out The Pusher”, with the message to call a number to report suspected drug dealers. I’ve read that authorities said, in so many words, that they are going to mollycoddle drug users.

Now counseling for druggies, dopes, is good, just as it was for drunks in the early 20th century. We finally realized that to resolve the problem of chronic drunkenness, we’re not going to do it by taking away everyone’s liquor.

Today, US Attorney Jeff Sessions is going about fighting the “opioid crisis” the same way we did with the alcohol problem during prohibition. To quote an old folk song “When will they learn. When will they ever learn?”

To overcome the drug problem, you have to go about changing individuals from the inside the right way. Calling drug abuse a disease is an epidemic in itself. Here in a brochure from the Bensalem police entitled “Bensalem Police Assisting in Recovery” (BPAIR) it states “Our primary goal is to connect people with substance abuse disorders with treatment programs and facilities. “Substance abuse disorders?”  That makes it sound as if these druggies have some kind of genetic problem they were born with. Are they lactose intolerant? Truth is, drug abuse is a matter of the will, and, as stated in the 12 Steps program, a character flaw. It’s a choice, a sinful one!

The problem with calling drug abuse a disease, as I’ve heard it called by many in authority – politicians, that nudge from the Addiction Network – is that it absolves the doper of responsibility for his behavior. It’s to say it’s not his fault.

“Alcoholism” and “addictions” are simply sin. Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” — I Corinthians 15:34. “The primary problem is moral and spiritual, not medical, and cannot be addressed without that perspective,” wrote Franklin E. Payne, Jr., M.D., Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, Georgia.

“Addiction is a disease – not a personal failure”, said congressman Donald Norcross, D-New Jersey, in reference to the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force he’s part of. http://levittownnow.com/2017/05/31/congressman-fitzpatrick-named-vice-chair-bipartisan-heroin-task-force/

Critics of the disease theory, as reported on Wikipedia, say the disease theory, which is applied to drug and alcohol abuse “exists only to benefit the professionals’ and governmental agencies responsible for providing recovery services, and the disease model has not offered a solution for those attempting to stop abusive alcohol and drug use.”

The alternative to the Elliott Ness Round the suppliers up initiative and that it’s not their fault it’s a disease agenda is a program that reflects the views of A First Century Christian Fellowship, which later became known as The Oxford Group, which made regular reference to God. Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, by the way, greatly minimized the use of God in the program.  Today, Celebrate Recovery closely matches the philosophy of The Oxford Group.

The Oxford Group’s Philosophy:

⦁ All people are sinners

⦁ All sinners can be changed

⦁ Confession is a prerequisite to change

⦁ The change can access God directly

⦁ Miracles are again possible

⦁ The change must change others

Only when we return to God and following his ways will we be able to deal with the drug and other problems.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Breaking The Chains!

Today government initiatives are focusing on going after drug dealers to curb the flow of drugs to fight the drug abuse epidemic, just as Elliott Ness and his Untouchables went after bootleggers during prohibition. Reasoning that because 10 percent of the population has a problem with alcohol, authorities realized that taking booze away from everyone didn’t resolve the problem, and prohibition was repealed.

Instead of trying to stop the supply, efforts were made to help individual drunks break their bad habit, a besetting sin.  Before the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous was formed, what was known as The Oxford Group was formed by a Christian missionary. The church then got involved, as it should, to help people break the chains of addiction and restore them to the way God intended them to be.

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

All the King’s Horses

Even as far back as 1931, it was discovered that the shrinks can’t adequately resolve addiction problems. A business executive was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for alcoholism for a year, but then went back to the bottle. Dr. Jung told him that he may be a hopeless case and that his only hope may be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. And he did, and he overcame his life destroying problem.

Today the churches need to pick up the torch. Many of them are, in Bucks County and vicinity, for example. At many of the community meals I go to for the homeless and needy I’ve seen signs for The Twelve Steps Program.

Breaking The Chains of Addiction, a faith based group that helps people overcome their addictions, meets at First Baptist Church in Morrisville, PA, 50 Pennsylvania Avenue, Tuesdays, at 7 p.m.  Breaking The Chains also meets in South Philly at Third Baptist Church, 2400 S. Broad St Fridays at 7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a national program that helps people overcome drug and alcohol addictions as well as other problems, has a few chapters not far from Bucks County.  Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. New Life Presbyterian Church, 425 East Roosevelt Blvd. In North East Philly hosts Celebrate Recovery.

http://newlifephilly.net/celebrate-recovery

The church needs to bring light to the world, helping to restore broken people.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi 

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.”

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “

-Matthew 5:13-16

A Change is Gonna Come

Although a private charity organized and got funds for the project, most of the funds to convert the Santa Rosa Motel to homeless housing came from federal and state housing money and from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a noble project, but taxpayer funds eventually run dry.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/5221888-181/first-tenants-of-santa-rosa

In my research about the causes of homelessness, I found that some sources say it is the lack of public funding. This is not the root of the problem.

People are homeless for various reasons, such as substance abuse and other issues that take them out of the job market. Another problem is the economy.

The economy seemed to be the biggest contributor to homelessness when it became rampant in the late 20’s, when Herbert Hoover was president, and during President FDR’s New Raw Deal. Because of progressive policies, where we were about as close to socialism (which we were progressing to) as our country ever was, a lot of people were out of work. Those who did work, had trouble making ends meet with the government confiscating much of their paychecks and because the government interfered with the marketplace, making things more expensive.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/how-fdrs-new-deal-harmed-millions-poor-people

A free market solution to energy is the sine qua non to a robust economy. Plentiful, low cost energy reduces energy costs and takes less money out of people’s pockets. The Marcellus gas pipeline, for example, will accomplish this.  http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/proposed-marcellus-gas-pipeline-would-run-through-lancaster/article_5ea6ca90-9b47-11e3-b0b1-0017a43b2370.html

There are a lot of homeless in Bucks County, PA.  Although the Bimbo of Bucks County, aka PA State Representative Tina Davis touted how much she has helped the homeless, and said she’ll continue to do so, she praised PA Governor Big Bad Wolf for signing an executive order to ban drilling on state lands. The bimbo admitted that, as former governor Tom Corbett argued, this drilling would help the economy and would raise $75 million to balance the budget. Yet, she cavalierly said that “protecting the environment” trumps this. http://www.wgal.com/article/gov-wolf-signs-executive-order-to-stop-drilling-under-state-lands-1/6235430

This kind of wonton behavior by out of touch elites fosters homelessness. By kowtowing to the pseudo environmentalist special interests, these progressives show callous disregard for the citizenry. When they campaign, Wolf and Davis may as well go door to door and hand out pink slips and eviction notices, as the Big Bad Wolf is in the business of blowing houses down.

As Ray Charles sang, “a change is gonna come.” Changes to this country are in the works. The former Witch of the West Wing won’t continue her war on coal and other viable energy sources in favor of the so-called alternate, unworkable energy initiatives. The Witch, the Bimbo and the Wolf are all sh**birds of a feather. Like FDR’s New Raw Deal, they harm the average person.

Substance abuse and other personal problems also contribute to the homeless problem. For these problems there is also a free market solution.

Between 1920 and 1933, the government established prohibition, banning booze for everyone. Then, instead of forcing abstinence on everyone because ten percent of the population had a drinking problem, a voluntary, free market, Christian solution to help drunks overcome their problem was used. The Oxford Group, modeled after 1st century Christianity, was established in 1921. Later, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today there are programs on the market to help people overcome substance abuse and other human failings, such as Celebrate Recovery, which applies Biblical principles to the 12 Steps Program.

The economy, the environment, and our morals all work together. A healthy economy, driven by good stewardship of the environment, and a country’s good morals work together for good. Dysfunctional people, such as substance abusers, can’t be responsible on a job or run a business responsibly.  AA co-founder Bill Wilson ruined a promising career on Wall Street because of his chronic drunkenness. In the 50’s, when my grand uncle ran a wholesale toy company, there were ethics, honor. When you made a business deal, a man’s handshake was his bond. No need for lawyers and long, expensive litigation or even negotiations.

Finding shelter for Bucks County’s homeless is stifled by hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. Because of some problem people, which you’ll find today in any population, even private efforts to create shelter for the homeless is stonewalled by the judgmental establishment. Like the progressives in the early part of the 20th century, Bucks County won’t facilitate shelter for the homeless. Even the so-called emergency shelter in Levittown has a waiting list, thanks to the revolving door of druggies from nearby recovery houses and drunks and druggies who are return customers to the flop house.

Now that we’re throwing the bums out of public office, which is a positive reflection of our culture, we can start winning the war on poverty, substance abuse and other dysfunctions, and find a solution for homelessness.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

-2nd Chronicles 7:14

Equip for Every Good Work

How to best counsel someone with a problem, such as drunkenness is being wrestled with in the marketplace of ideas.  Addressing the question of whether Christians should attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or treatment centers, Wayne Jackson challenges the idea of what he calls  a “hybrid religio/secular organism” such as AA. He’s concerned that, although the goal of the programs may be noble, they dilute the Word of God and don’t fully help people.

https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/385-what-about-alcoholics-anonymous

Early on, AA had a schism.

In 1921, a Lutheran minister founded A First Century Christian Fellowship, which was later called the Oxford Group.

The minister summed up the Oxford Group’s philosophy:

  • All people are sinners
  • All sinners can be changed
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change
  • The change can access God directly
  • Miracles are again possible
  • The change must change others

AA co-founder Bill Wilson joined The Oxford Group and learned their teachings but later broke away. These teachings influenced the structure of AA and helped form the foundation of the 12-step program.

The schism: AA subscribes to the idea “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” The Oxford Group: The Biblical view that the King of King and Lord of Lords can break the chains and set you free of any bondage holding you captive. Expedia reports the differing views: “In AA, the bondage of an addictive disease cannot be cured, while the Oxford Group stressed the possibility of complete victory over sin.”

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

Fidelity to scriptures isn’t a concern that started in the 20th century with counseling people. During the early years of the church, the apostle Paul and company toured the churches to make sure they were in line with God’s Word. In Sunday school class, when I saw a diagram of the route the apostles took, noticing the guys were traveling away from Crete, I remarked that they must have been running from the Cyclops. I was mistaken. The Cyclops hung out in Sicily. He liked Sicilian pizza. That’s one thing we have in common.

In the 20th century, churches in America, liberal churches, lost fidelity to scriptures. To them, the Word of God didn’t mean the Word of God, but was subject to human ideas that contradicted God. My mother used to call these churches “social clubs.”

While the traditional churches in America were preoccupied with fighting liberalism in the church, they let secular modern psychology infiltrate their ranks. For people who came to the church with problems, churches took on a policy of defer and refer to the modern mental health menagerie.

Don’t let me tell you where to go (some people have told me where to go) to church for counseling and for fellowship with true believers and communion with God. Study the Bible and learn for yourself and find a church that most closely matches scripture. This is a trend that Martin Luther started with the Reformation.

It’s important not to mix worldly beliefs that contradict scripture in counseling and in other matters. Sure, they may have in common the goal to help people. But some things just don’t mix. I wouldn’t hang out with the Cyclops just because with both like Sicilian pizza.

There are counseling programs out there that are in sync with scripture. One national one is Celebrate Recovery. It uses the 12-step program and matches each step with scripture. It seems to follow the philosophy of the Oxford Group. http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/about-us/twelve-steps

The closest Celebrate Recovery program from lower Bucks County, PA is in Ewing, NJ. Visit the link above to find Celebrate Recovery locations in your area as well as to learn more about the program.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

-2nd Timothy 3: 16-17

Who’ll Stop The Insane?

“Drug overdose has surged to become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States”, wrote congressman Mike Fitzpatrick in a recent op-ed to LevittownNow.com.

The drug epidemic is not something law enforcement can just “arrest its way out of”, said Bucks Co. Assistant District Attorney Matt Weintraub, adding that we need a plan that “reduces the supply and demand, while helping those in the throes of addiction,” the congressman referenced in his op-ed.

I agree. But how do we go about it?

Lately we’ve been bombarded with ads for drug abuse treatment. There’s one in particular that’s been coming on constantly, where a bearded guy with a stethoscope and scrubs tells us how grave the drug abuse problem is and Augustly states “It is a disease,” and offers services, which, he ads, may be covered by your insurance.

Another ad for drug abuse treatment mentions “it’s not a 12 step program.”

Both of these sources are wrong.

What is addiction and how do we solve it?

“Addiction is a repetitive, pleasure-seeking behavior that is habitual in spite of moral or physical reasons (i.e., harm) that should rationally preclude its practice and that displaces spiritual obligations,” writes Franklin E Payne Jr., MD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Payne rejects the conventional wisdom that addictions are strictly medical but are moral and spiritual. Drug and other substance abusers cannot be helped, the professor says, unless the problem is viewed from that perspective.

http://www.bmei.org/jbem/volume7/num4/payne_addiction_as_besetting_sin.php

The root of the problem is sin, not disease.

Although there is a physical dependency, the mental drive for pleasure or comfort far exceeds the physical drive, according to Dr. Payne, who adds that such compulsive behavior should be labeled “besetting sin” rather than as an “addiction.”

Besetting sin is to doggedly continue to  pursue bad, sinful habits, taking things to extremes, becoming enslaved by sin.

“As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly. “

.-Proverbs 26:11

All “addictions” have this common root.

The only way to overcome these problems is through biblical principles.  A businessman whose business was destroyed because of alcohol abuse went to psychiatrist and psychotherapist  Carl Jung for treatment. Shortly after a year long treatment with Dr. Jung,  he returned to his drinking. When he went back for treatment, Dr. Jung told the man that his case was nearly hopeless and the only hope was for a spiritual conversion with a religious group.

The 12 Steps Journey Program, a free, walk in program which is held at two different churches, two different nights in Bucks County, PA, operates on the principle that Dr. Jung recommended to the drunk who returned to his vomit.

The first step in the 12 steps program: “We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from GOD-that our lives had become unmanageable.”

The 12 Steps Journey Program addresses a host of problems that have a common cause: alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety, depression, anger, etc.

http://www.12stepjourney.com/

Today many churches are offering treatment programs to help troubled people overcome besetting sins. This is a step in the right direction to tackle the drug epidemic and other problems that are rooted in sin.

To help drunks overcome their problem, before Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Franklin Nathaniel Daniel Buchman, a minister, started a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, later called “The Oxford Group”.  It’s philosophy to treat the problem:

  • All people are sinners
  • All sinners can be changed
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change
  • The change can access God directly
  • Miracles are again possible
  • The change must change others

This philosophy applies to other human behavioral problems.

There is help for those who seek it.

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted

-Hebrews 4:15.

There is Hope

49 Overdoses of heroin, causing five deaths in lower Bucks County, PA, just since January 1, 2016! The drug epidemic affects everyone, including homeowners and the homeless who are not drug addicts. Many of the druggies join the homeless population, making it harder for the homeless to find shelter by shear numbers and by contributing to stereotypes that result in hobophobia, the irrational fear of all homeless people. In some cases the druggies caused everyone at an encampment to get booted.

Today the drug problem in Bucks County is similar to the alcohol abuse problem when Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was formed. Our nation realized that prohibition, banning booze for everyone, didn’t work. The gross amount of money waging this war, prohibition, wasted money, so much that it crippled the economy, contributing to the depression. As is the case today, many people became homeless just because of the economy.

Today the war on drugs rages, wasting taxpayer money. We wouldn’t have to wage this war if there wasn’t a market for drugs. As was the case when AA was formed, the problem is individual problems, the root of which is sin.

A forerunner of AA, Dr. Franklin Nathaniel Daniel Buchman, a minister, started a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, later called “The Oxford Group”.  It’s philosophy to treat alcoholism:

  • All people are sinners
  • All sinners can be changed
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change
  • The change can access God directly
  • Miracles are again possible
  • The change must change others

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

The Oxford Group advocated principles from the Sermon on The Mount,  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5-7&version=NIV 

where Jesus taught people the right way to live. The group boiled down these principles:

  • Absolute-Honesty
  • Absolute-Purity
  • Absolute-Unselfishness
  • Absolute-Love

A business executive tried to resolve his alcohol addiction by going to psychiatrist Carl Jung but it didn’t work. Shortly after a year long treatment with Dr. Jung,  he returned to his drinking. When he went back for treatment, Dr. Jung told the man that his case was nearly hopeless and the only hope was for a spiritual conversion with a religious group.

There is a belief that alcoholics can overcome their addiction. Although AA and The Oxford Group agreed that drunks are powerless over their addiction, AA saw the problem as a disease that cannot be cured. The Oxford Group argued that it’s possible that addicts can have complete victory over their sin.

The methods the Oxford Group advocated can apply to any kind of addiction, or other problems rooted in human character flaws, a result of sin.

Homelessness, although not always the fault of the person who has become homeless, is a struggle. Christian counsel can help the homeless too. We all have problems; it’s just a matter of degree. Carl Jung wrote of an experience at an insane asylum he visited with what he called “an intelligent layman,” who remarked that the inmates had problems like the average person, only they were greatly magnified. Dr. Jung was right about that.

Today in southeastern Pennsylvania, where addictions and other problems run rampant, churches are stepping up to the plate to counsel addicts. At the church luncheon after the funeral for our dear sister Martha, who was a member of the homeless community in lower Bucks County PA, the pastor and a church member told me they were seriously considering starting a program for addicts. After I gave them my two cents, they decided to move forward with the program.

In lower Bucks County, two churches host the 12 Step Journey program, where scripture is heavily used in conjunction with the 12 steps model to help people deal with drug and alcohol addictions and other problems that plague them. People with different problems mesh well together and people have made great progress in having victory over their sin-caused problems.  http://www.12stepjourney.com/ 

Heroin addiction stands out, but there are other problems, and this is just the tip of the iceberg above the underlying cause. Several decades ago, writer E.B. White wrote that New York “is a cancer as yet undetected.” Well, the heroin problem is a manifestation of a social cancer, the underlying cause of which people don’t see, maybe because they don’t want to.

Where there is God, there is hope. Hope for the sinner. It’s not too late. God will lift you out of the pit, as he did King David.