Please, Sir, I Want More!

In Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist is a victim of slow starvation.  A homeless rescue, he is given only three small bowls of oatmeal per day, an onion twice a week and a roll on Sunday. One day, Oliver dares to ask “Please, sir, I want some more.”  https://www.enotes.com/topics/oliver-twist/quotes/please-sir-want-some-more 

Today at the shared meals in Bucks County, PA, some of the homeless and needy, who are well fed, between food stamps, food banks and other sources don’t ask “Please sir, I want more.”  They scarf up seconds and sometimes thirds before others haven’t even been fed yet! Unlike Oliver Twist, they are not starving and some of them are getting fat. In some cases they bum rush the grub and pig out before others are fed. Some subscribe to the entitlement mentality and some have PMS (poor me syndrome). 

The problem in some cases is that the hosts don’t monitor the meals. You would think that guests would be more mindful of others who are in the same situation they are in.  Some hosts are very good about sharing in the shared meals. When the hosts served their guests at a shared meal I went to recently they unequivocally said there are no seconds. The meals are not only very tasty, but certainly enough to sustain the guests. Other hosts make sure everyone was fed before offering seconds and wait partway through the meals to offer seconds in the event some people come late (for legitimate reasons). 

Gluttony, which is sometimes the case, just leads to problems and makes poor people complacent. It’s like feeding waterfowl bread. When birds are given welfare, they don’t want to fly south for the winter. They are unable to get themselves off the ground.  Likewise, there are some who become chronic, professional homeless people. Some are trapped for decades. Besides PMS, the money wasted on cigarettes keeps the homeless and needy in poverty, not to mention more sickly and unproductive. 

Some organizations want to keep the homeless in poverty. Like welfare, it keeps their programs funded. One in particular often doesn’t keep its website updated. On days there were actually shared meals, the site read there are no events today. Lately, they were up to date and read “no meal today.” They should be more diligent, but then they would have to come off their Ivory Tower and care and serve those struggling, rather than be self-serving. 

One extreme example of fostering gluttony is a caseworker from Penndel Mental Health who brought a grossly overweight client (she weighed 300 pounds), junk food. 

To help the homeless and needy, we need to give them a hand up to help them become productive members of society, and not hand-outs to keep them trapped. 

I discuss these sorts of things in my book:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/172865209X/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_.iX9BbZXM6842?fbclid=IwAR14Y8jAxc462oqzltCCdZGq4BCLQg-HW8VEoAdpkGjog9Q78PqGh6zTTIA 

A Prescription To Abate Homelessness

I am perplexed when I read of homeless advocates who believe big government programs will help the homeless. Like the opioid crisis, government programs to resolve the homeless problem only makes it worse. 

The key to getting out of the poverty that leads to homelessness is to take advantage of opportunities to educate yourself and improve yourself in other ways. Read. Apply yourself. Work hard at whatever you do. 

These are the kind of things John Philip Sousa IV, great grandson of the great March King, discusses in Ben Carson Rx For America 

Dr. Carson entered the political arena after his keynote address at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, where he diagnosed the big government, socialistic agenda of then President Barry Obummer. By the way, after this legitimate criticism, the Skinny Socialist had the IRS audit Carson, to no avail. 

The doc is a great example where, by showing initiative, reading, hard work and applying himself, people can get out of poverty. Dr. Carson and his wife Candy started initiatives, using their own resources, to help poor people improve themselves. They offer them a hand up, not the hand out of the welfare state, where you become wards of the state, with limited choices in a caste system.  

In Bucks County, PA, the homeless population continues to increase.  I contacted a county commissioner a few years back to propose the idea to use county land to create an official homeless community, which the homeless help build and manage. The proposal fell on deaf ears. The commissioner’s reply was that the homeless would be made too comfortable if this were to happen and they wouldn’t apply for government assisted housing. And there would be complications, such as mental health and drug abuse issues.  

In the commissioner’s words: “I also do not think that is helpful to the homeless. It just creates more space for them to avoid going to Housing Link and getting the referral, they need, to start getting sober/clean, on medication, in therapy, signed up for assistance or some type of work, and a solid roof over their head.” 

Not all homeless people have these problems. Even if they do, like the rest of us, they can address these needs after they get housing. Ben Carson advocates housing first. This is one of the topics I explore in There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey with the Homeless.  Available: https://www.amazon.com/There-Are-Homeless-Buck-County/dp/172865209X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=there+are+homeless+in+bucks+county&qid=1555953133&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull 

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.  https://youtu.be/CKE__FoHdE0 

Dignity Village, where the homeless helped build and also managed the village where formerly homeless folks came, works:  https://dignityvillage.org/ 

Individual initiative and responsibility, not big government programs,  is the best way to fight homelessness. 

We All Have Baggage

There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey with The Homeless, a self-evident title and an exploration of the homeless, which focuses on Bucks County, PA, has made its journey from publication to the local authors section of the Bristol Branch of the Bucks County Free Library system (Grundy). There are two copies, placed alongside one another at Grundy. I found them there on Saturday.  

People who are homeless have been visiting Grundy. The book is about them and reflects the realism about society as does John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.  

The interlibrary electronic catalogue in Bucks shows that there are two copies available, in display, in Bristol.  

There Are Homeless in Bucks County puts the reader in the shoes of the homeless – you walk along with them, as me as your guide, on the journey. You see how they live and experience the good and the bad as you walk with them.  The book looks soberly at the individual homeless and at the establishment, telling it like it is. 

About five years ago I started hanging out with the homeless, including going to the shared meals for the homeless and those in need. Early on I found they are really no different than me. 

“We all have baggage”, a formerly homeless guy told me a few years back. I know I do. I’m struggling to show a good, Godly, constructive, gracious anger towards wrongdoers. I’m almost finished reading David Powlison’s book Good & Angry, to learn how to attack the problem constructively. Reading is one thing, but doing is another.  

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:22-24 

Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is just that. Christ not only saves you, but continues to work in you throughout your life in a process called progressive sanctification.  My girlfriend, who was sitting next to me at the shared meal, where I lambasted Birdman for stealing something from someone who was sitting next to me, said I took my confrontation too far. I was right to say something about Birdman’s predatorial, intrusive behavior, which creates a negative atmosphere at the meal, but got carried away. I need to have God work on me in that matter. 

My girlfriend, a Christian, was like my Sandi in the book, who would call me out, gently admonish me when I was wrong. This is one reason we may have a future together. 

There Are Homeless in Bucks County is available online:  https://www.amazon.com/There-Are-Homeless-Buck-County/dp/172865209X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=there+are+homeless+in+bucks+county&qid=1555953133&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull 

I just saw a mental health hustler doing some business with some new people who have been attending the shared meals. I talk about the hustlers in the book.

Getting The Word Out About The Homeless

About five years ago, I started hanging out with the homeless in Bucks County. In November, 2018, I published a book about them. The book illustrates who the homeless really are and explains their challenges. I wanted to, as the 60s expression goes, tell it like it is. 

With the help of the librarian at the Levittown branch of the Bucks County Free Library, I made an online request to get my book in circulation in the library system. Recently, I was told that my request was rejected because there were no reviews, no promotion about it or something, etc. My book is registered in the Library of Congress. It is available on Amazon.com and other places. There are no really “official” promotions, just on Facebook and on a not too well-known listing. I got help publishing the book through an independent publisher Vernita (Neat) Simmons. I don’t have the funds to advertise the book through Amazon.com and other “official” sources.  

Update:  The book “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey with The Homeless” is available in the Bucks County Free Library System.

Before I made the online request to have my book in the Bucks collection so the homeless and others with limited resources could read the book (what libraries do), I gave a copy to a librarian at the Bristol branch of the Bucks library system (Grundy). I left my name and number. I checked in a couple times to check on the status of my book put into the library and was told someone would call me. One librarian said something about putting books in archives or something. 

I suspect the real reason for my book not being accepted into the Bucks library system is that the Bucks establishment doesn’t want anyone to tell it like it is, but follow the mainstream suburban fantasy mantra. 

This is my first book. I’m just a regular guy, who became homeless myself for a season and who has been associating with the local homeless.  My goal of the book is not only to show who the homeless really are, but to let people realize they don’t have to be stuck in their situation, that through hard work, perseverance, and God’s intervention, you can be delivered and can contribute to society, no matter where your talents lie. 

Who Are The Homeless? 

The homeless are a microcosm of society. They are not a homogeneous group. People in the same circumstances deal with being homeless differently, with some being successful, finding their way out of homelessness.  The book is replete with examples. 

There are different paradigms with organizations and individuals who help the homeless. There is a silent war between institutions that use secular psychology to help the homeless and churches and individual Christians. The book shows the value of the shared meals churches offer the homeless and those in need. There are more than meals. 

By spring, 2015, I became homeless with a homeless woman who soon was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. We teamed upshe joined me on my journey. She is a particular in the story of the homeless in Bucks county. 

Before I became homeless, I partnered with a friend in a quest to create a non-profit organization to find shelter for the homeless. The initiative floundered. Realizing the main problem with creating shelter for the homeless is prejudice against them, my partner set me up on a WordPress site to write blogs about the homeless.  The idea occurred early on to write a book about the homeless, but I needed someone to help me with the mechanics of publishing. Sometime later, a publishing consultant commented on my article on Faithwriters.com on the homeless. She asked me if I was an author. I replied I was not but wanted to publish a book on homelessness. The rest is history. 

There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless is available on Amazon.com. 

https://www.amazon.com/There-Are-Homeless-Buck-County/dp/172865209X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=there+are+homeless+in+bucks+county&qid=1555953133&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull 

Getting to Know You

Lately I’ve been watching the old Lone Ranger episodes in the morning. At the end of each episode, after The Lone Ranger and Tonto (not that Army ranger) save the day, someone asks “who is that masked man?”  The response: “Why, he’s the Lone Ranger”, says someone in the know. Today people don’t even bother to ask who the homeless are. The typical thinking is, he/she is a homeless person, spoken by someone not in the know. 

Until late winter/early spring 2014, I didn’t know who the homeless really are. But then I could honestly sing “getting to know you, getting to know all about you…” And I learned to like some of the homeless people I got to know.  Shortly before I became homeless myself, I got to know many of the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA.  

Who are the homeless?  The only difference between the homeless and the rest of the population is that they don’t have homes.  They are not akin to the Walking Dead.  We don’t see zombies walking aimlessly looking for people to eat when we enter homeless territory in the woods.  The members of the Bucks County establishment are the Morlocks and the people who vote them in are the walking brain dead. 

They are people like you and I who have had the misfortune of losing their homes, through job loss, fire (in an uninsured house) or for other reasons — in some cases a result of their own irresponsibility and sometimes as a result of a combination of causes beyond their control and irresponsibility. 

One organization that has the right approach, right attitude towards the homeless is the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. Unfortunately, it’s thrift store in Penndel, PA, the same town whose name is part of the mental health charlatans, Penndel Mental Health Center, is closing. It’s closing so the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission can better serve other needy people.

Don’t talk about us; talk with us – slogan coined by homeless people from the organization Picture The Homeless.  Homelessness does not define your character, but is just the particular situation you are in. The common denominator is that, as Clarence “Frogman” Henry sang, they “ain’t got no home.”   

As you’ll see in the video, some homeless people want help for legitimate needs while others want money for things that the not only need, but may be harmful or immoral. This is why it’s best to give the homeless things like food or medical supplies, blankets and not money, unless you’re sure. I’ve given homeless folks I know money to buy a meal at fast food places when we were there and saw them purchase food. That’s OK in my book. 

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=clarence+frogman+henry+aint+got+no+home+video&docid=608005915538293417&mid=EA51CB4DA3A1AFB7ECB1EA51CB4DA3A1AFB7ECB1&view=detail&FORM=VIRE 

The trick is, as a fellow volunteer at a food pantry told me when he knew I was hanging with the homeless, is to distinguish between who you can trust and who you can’t. I’ve learned to sort out the user-losers, who don’t want to help themselves, and the winners, who just want a hand up and who want to help themselves. I explore this in my book, based on my experience with the homeless in lower Bucks County and research. I also explore the prejudice against the homeless. 

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

Today’s Truely Oppressed

In my last blog, I argued that some people, including some churches and Christians, don’t get it that today blacks and other so-called minorities now have equal rights. I reference my first-hand experience, using as an example from my Navy days in the early 70s, the fruit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s labor.  Some entities, mostly backed by the government, are on a witch hunt to quixotically go after those who threaten life and liberty of minorities. They continue to attack windmills.   Over time, different groups were discriminated against – the Irish, Italians, Germans…  Today it is the homeless. From personal experience over the past four and a half years hanging out with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA, I witnessed first-hand and through reliable sources the prejudice perpetrated against the homeless. It’s similar to Jim Crow and the black population, although, to my knowledge, no homeless people have been lynched. The liberal establishment’s modus operandi is a way to constructively destroy and keep out of sight and mind the homeless in Bucks.  I haven’t visited the Levittown public library as much as I have in years past. It seems that, as was the case with the civil rights movement, we have overcome the past gross discrimination against the homeless in the library. Just as the song urges us not to be afraid of the reaper, the establishment no longer needs to be afraid of the blog.  https://youtu.be/lceVpWkhJ9w  A reliable source told me recently what I suspected in the past. Because the Friends of The Library help the library, they thought they own the public library and can, by fiat, turn it into their private country club where they can exclude the homeless. When I volunteered in the food pantry at the local Salvation Army, an official there overheard me talking to another volunteer, challenging the harassment of the homeless in the library as a constructive way to get rid of them. The official chimed in that there are people who visit the library who don’t like the homeless there and she was OK with the library discriminating against the homeless in order to cater to the elites. When I challenged the official, she spouted the stereotypes about the homeless being dirty, eating in the library, etc.  The Salvation Army traditionally helps the downtrodden.   When I asked the Salvation Army representative if she ever went to the library to see the homeless for herself, she got dismissive and that was the end of the conversation. But that wasn’t the end of it. When I had to go through her after being offered an opportunity by someone from the Salvation Army regional office to write for the SA, like a Sandinista, she used her position to punish me by blocking my opportunity. The second time I approached her after a few months delay, she snapped “I don’t have time for that!”  Many people, including myself before I got to know the local homeless, don’t really understand them. The name “Skid Row”, unfortunately gives some people an image of the homeless – raggedy looking drunks rummaging through trash cans, lying drunk on the street, etc. In my experience hanging with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA, I found that this is not the case here. You’re not going to show people who the homeless really are by making a video, using actors while the homeless stood by and were treated like mannequins, as AHTN did. The video did not tell it like it is!  The homeless group Picture The Homeless has a slogan “Don’t Talk About Us; Talk With Us.”  Spot on! In my book “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless” I focus on my experience hanging with the homeless in lower Bucks County PA to tell it like it is!  https://www.amazon.com/dp/172865209X/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_.iX9BbZXM6842?fbclid=IwAR0gPVr_CAM7L0hyxu92hll8KTsLWTUmr1nIEamgTnuc_Hi4yDafBYGcMqs 

A Homeless Oasis

The modern-day money changers were quite conspicuous this Christmas season, hawking their goods to go with your Christmas, the way Burger King used to ask if you want cheese with your burger. Yet, I did an engine search for the annual Marrazzo Brothers Homeless Christmas meal in Penndel, PA and I couldn’t find any coverage for this year.  

The Marrazzo’s and company taking the time in effort to serve those less fortunate is what Christmas is really about.  I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Marrazzo and many other gracious hosts who made us feel welcome at the meal.  

The food was excellent, with a good variety of foods, such as lasagna, and of course desserts. But the best part was getting together with friends, and making new friends –people I had seen at other homeless meals and at other venues – and got to know them.  

The meal was an oasis in a desert of incessant ads and jingles, clichés that wear on the nerves. It’s good to know that beyond the surface glitter there is something noble. 

Christ was born in Bethlehem to save us from sin and to show us the way – to become more like him. Jesus healed the sick and lame and helped the downtrodden, accepting them for whom they are, a creature made in the image of God. 

Christmas is not about a baby in the manger. It’s about Jesus coming to earth, being one of us, suffering like humans, being tempted but, being perfect, he had victory over sins on our behalf. It was the gift given graciously out of mercy for our fallen state. 

Columnist Cal Thomas puts Christmas in perspective: 

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/12/24/true-meaning-christmas.html 

Christmas is not just a one-time celebration, but a reminder of why Christ came to earth that we should hold dear all year long. It’s not just an isolated moment. To adapt lines from an old love song, Christmas is not just a moment’s pleasure, but a lifelong treasure. God is not a distant concept; he is ever present. 

God is found in all creation. He didn’t make the earth and people then go off to a distant cloud like the pagan gods of old, but he is alive. 

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
 the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
 no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
 their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
 like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 It rises at one end of the heavens
 and makes its circuit to the other;
  nothing is deprived of its warmth. 

The law of the Lord is perfect,
 refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
 making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
 giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
 giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
 enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
 and all of them are righteous. 

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression. 

 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
 be pleasing in your sight,
 Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” 

-Psalm 19 

Just as the homeless Christmas meal was an oasis, so are the churches who host the regular homeless meals and others who genuinely reach out to the homeless a welcome spring in the desert of those who consider a homeless person a persona non-grata.  A recently published book, by yours truly, illustrates the role of the homeless in society, and focuses on lower Bucks County, PA, where I’ve hung out with and got to know the local homeless.  

The book is available on Amazon.com.    

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

Lord, Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz?

“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?
I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?

Everybody!
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?”  -Janis Joplin

https://youtu.be/5ddnwyyGo4s

In this popular sacrilegious song from 1971, Janis Joplin makes God into a personal genie. It’s all about the gimmee gimmee mentality. This is not what God is about. He’s not a personal Santa Clause!

Again, this year, the crass commercialism, the bastardization of Christmas started before Thanksgiving. And the incessant insanity started kindling even before Halloween! Spooky! The crass ads are a coveting catalyst. The worldly advertisers juxtapose Christmas with fancy, expensive cars. This is not what Christmas is about!

The peace of Christmas is that we are not at war with God, but submit to His sovereign will and acquire the character of Jesus Christ. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

In the midst of all the surface glitter and manic, worldly ways this season, we need to be reminded what Christmas is about. A Christmas poem illustrates this:

All Christmas Poetry 

The True Meaning of Christmas 

by Brian K. Walters 

In todays day and time,

 it’s easy to lose sight,

 of the true meaning of Christmas

 and one special night.

When we go shopping,

 We say “How much will it cost?”

 Then the true meaning of Christmas,

 Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter

 And ribbons of gold,

 We forget about the child,

 born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa

 In his big, red sleigh

 Never thinking of the baby

 Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality when we look into the night sky,

 We don’t see a sleigh

 But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,

 Of that night so long ago,

 And of the child we call Jesus,

 Whose love, the world would know.

In my recently published book, There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless, some of which I wrote during the commercial Christmas season at a nursing home while camping out at my dearest Sandi’s bedside, I wrote about the meaning of Christmas. The Lord took her home there on December 4, 2017. I dedicated my book to Sandi, who on her deathbed would say “Jesus is in my heart.”

In the midst of the incessant, commercialized Christmas advertisements that played on Sandi’s roommates’ TVs that called out to fools to buy extravagant gifts, like the woman Folly in Proverbs 9:13: “The woman named Folly is loud; she is naive and knows nothing”, I was moved to set the record straight by comparing Christmas commercialism to the money changers that Jesus drove from the Temple.

The book may be purchased: https://www.amazon.com/dp/172865209X/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_.iX9BbZXM6842?fbclid=IwAR0gPVr_CAM7L0hyxu92hll8KTsLWTUmr1nIEamgTnuc_Hi4yDafBYGcMqs