Wossamatta U Evangelicals and The Homeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is why Westminster Seminary was formed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fruitless Dying Branches

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

-John 15; 5 -7

Do our churches bear the fruits of the spirit?

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Forbearance
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self Control

Save for a couple exceptions, I’ve found that the churches in lower Bucks County, PA have been showing the fruits of the spirit to the homeless and needy guests for whom they have graciously provided meals, as well as fellowship.

Throughout the history of the church, people have strayed from God’s Word and have gone their own way. In Sunday school we’ve been studying the journey of the apostle Paul and company as they visited the early churches.

When the apostles visited the church in Athens, they found the church quickly polluted God’s Word with pagan Greek ideas. Fidelity to scriptures was compromised.

Fast forward to the church in America. For the most part, churches were true to God’s Word in the late 18th and 19th centuries here. By the early 20th century, when the United States was under the influence of kooky French culture, as well as a kook from England, Virginia Woolf, the church started importing wordly ideas.

A Westminster seminary student I worked with told me that orthodox Protestant churches have more in common with the Roman Catholic Church than they do with their liberal counterparts, even in the same denomination. Westminster seminary was a result of a split at Princeton seminary by theologians who had a problem with the worldly modernist views that had crept into the seminary in 1929.

http://www.wts.edu/

Today, especially since the 60’s, churches in America have strayed, like a wayward child, from the truth. They have succumbed to the world by preaching that homosexuality and same sex marriage is OK. Some churches even perform same sex marriages.

A recent example of a church not following God’s ways, not showing fruits of the spirit is the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Penndel, PA.  http://redeemerlutheranpenndel.org/

A man in need, who happens to be a senior citizen and a ten year military veteran was turned away at the door. When he asked why, the hosts snarled at him and said that he had caused problems at the last meal — that he was saying bad things about the homeless.

They dismissed him and threatened to call the police just for asking for further explanation and to ask for someone in charge.  It’s interesting that the church’s founder, Martin Luther started a tradition where church leaders can be challenged by anyone.  Holy irony, Batman!

The truth is that some people in the homeless and needy community, who go to the meals, have been spreading false witness and have been attacking him in Lynch mob style. Instead of doing what’s right and maintaining order like Marshall Matt Dillon, the hosts and Christine from the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) acted like Lord Neville Chamberlain and appeased the mob.

At the previous monthly meal at the Redeemer Lutheran church, a drunk homeless man had to be restrained when he tried to attack the man. The hosts and Christine were right there. I was sitting across from him. The guy showed great restraint, yet when the police came, he was asked to leave, as the officer said, at the request of the host.

Redeemer used the man as a scapegoat rather than stand on principle.

Check out Proverbs 18

1 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

3 When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
and with shame comes reproach.

4 The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

It is not good to be partial to the wicked
    and so deprive the innocent of justice.

6 The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.

7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

9 One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.

10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.

13 To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame.

14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.

16 A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
    until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

18 Casting the lot settles disputes
and keeps strong opponents apart.

19 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.

23 The poor plead for mercy,
but the rich answer harshly.

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Another example of a fruit rotting on the vine is the Salvation Army. At the community meals at the Levittown community center, the social services director, known by volunteers as “Queen Latifah”, shows little humility as she talks to the homeless and needy there as if they were criminals or children, with a very unloving, unkind, and a non forbearing attitude. The command at this Salvation Army branch does not want to mess with the queen.

Political correctness trumps the fruits of the spirit.

For most of the churches that host the community meals, however, people can tell they are Christians by their love. See my blog We’re So Glad You’re Here.

The church needs to practice and preach God’s Word and not compromise it by selling out to the world.

“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.”

2 Corinthians 5:20

WABAC to The Great Depression

Today, Jeff and I, Homeless Dog travel the WABAC machine to the Great Depression in America.

“What was life like during the great depression, Ms. Dog?”

Just as the man and dog are about to enter the WABAC machine, a neighbor knocks on the door.  After Homeless Dog tells the neighbor they are about to go back to the year 1929 to visit the Great Depression era in America, the neighbor tells them he remembers what his father told him about the depression, which he lived through.

“My father recalls being startled by loud cheering in the school nearby. It was the end of World War I and I was 3 years old. As a typical teenage boy, Dad had focused on food and cars. Street cars and Model T Fords appeared in the late 1920s. A lot of foods were becoming packaged and chicken houses were disappearing from backyards. Food was still very cheap. A loaf of bread cost 10¢. Then came the steamer and high-powered luxury cars (Pikes Peak Motor with high-gear capacity). Dad’s family was middle class, but the Depression affected everyone. Food and jobs were hard to get and many people stood in lines for government handouts. A lot of people lived on powdered milk, dried beans, and potatoes. In Chicago, a crowd of men fought over a barrel of garbage — food scraps for their families”

http://www.allabouthistory.org/life-during-the-great-depression.htm 

“What caused things to go wrong, Ms. Dog?”

Different things, Jeff.  Greed, materialism, people not wanting to live within their means.  And the socialistic policies of President Franklin Roosevelt, known as FDR,  particularly his New Deal.  FDR believed the government, through central planning (socialism) will ensure the welfare of its citizens better than a free market economy. As history proved, this was the wrong way to do things.

Like Barack Obama, aka the Skinny Socialist, today, President Franklin D Roosevelt demonized business and free enterprise and prevented entrepreneurs from cutting prices, created scores of government jobs while the private sector diminished,  gave out government handouts,  and created public works projects.

Here’s a modern example:  Solyndra: The manufacturer of advanced solar panels received a $535 million loan guarantee to build a factory outside of San Francisco.

Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011 amid falling prices for solar panels, and has since served as the poster child for well-meaning government policy gone bad.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra

Its assets are being auctioned off, and DOE is not expected to recover any meaningful amount of money.

The executives at Solyndra, who contributed to Barry Obama’s presidential campaign, walked away with golden parachutes, while we got the shaft.

Let’s enter the WABAC machine:

“What are those officers doing, beating up that shabbily dressed man, Ms. Dog?”

That man is known as a hobo.  Many men became that way because the government taxed them so much and they couldn’t find work as a result of Roosevelt’s policies that they hopped freight trains and traveled to wherever they could find work here and there, mostly there.  Although the men who became hobos money financed, by fiat through taxation, the train system, they were considered trespassers and mistreated and harassed, much like homeless people in places like Bucks County, Pennsylvania are treated today.

Farmers were hit hard by the Great Depression.  It was a double whammy:  There was a drought, and government policies drove the average farmer out of business.

FDR’s New Deal  favored fat cats over average families. The government catered to the large farms by having them even burn crops, while people go hungry, in order to reduce the supply to keep prices high.  This hurt the little guy, such as the Joads, the characters depicted in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath

The root of the problem that caused the Great Depression was the culture — the way people thought. They wanted more than what God could give them, so they engaged in all kinds of activities driven by greed, and they chased after foolish things to keep them happy.

This was the way of the world.

Note this, Jeff, up until 1929, Princeton Seminary adhered to the truth but eventually a movement surfaced to end Princeton’s adherence to scriptural theology, and in 1929 Princeton Theological Seminary was reorganized under modernist influences.  Shortly thereafter, Westminster Seminary was formed in response to the church’s worldly views.

“Isn’t 1929 the year the Great Depression started, Ms. Dog?”

Bright guy, Jeff.  Westminster Seminary has maintained the infallible Scriptures as their foundation.  The problem with the New Deal era is that people turned away from God.

“Then he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions’’  Luke 12:15

The people of the depression gained a new outlook on life and many survivors still hold those same virtues today. They deny the self indulgence and immediate gratification that come from material things. Instead they focus on relationship — with their family, with others, and most importantly, with God.

“So people acting rightly, responsibly on their own and not turning their lives over to the government that deals them a stacked deck is the best way to go, Ms. Dog.”

Right, Jeff.  And I lie on the deck that was provided for me.