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124 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    Maybe they were just nasty people who hate the world for dark reasons of their own.

    We don’t have to feel personally guilty for every rotten thing we see.

    We don’t have to blame the church for everything that’s wrong in the world.

  2. Xenia says:

    Seriously, I am growing weary of the line of thinking that says every sad, miserable thing we see in the world is somehow the fault of the Church of Jesus Christ.

  3. Xenia says:

    Maybe a local church- maybe yours!- could take it upon themselves to adopt that skate park.

  4. Michael says:

    I don’t blame us for creating the problem…only for ignoring it.

  5. Michael says:

    I don’t believe, (and have never said) that every sad, miserable thing we see is the “fault” of the church.
    I will say that I thought we were called to sad, miserable places.

  6. I think X’s #1 hit the nail on the head. Not everyone is out to make statement, sometimes they just perversely enjoy taking a dump where others will be.

  7. Gary says:

    Maybe it was someone who just doesn’t care. Maybe they were sick. But you’re probably right- they were making a statement. The vandals were continually making their statements too.
    I see this a lot in my work. People destroy their own living space.

  8. I have a friend, who in our younger days, would poo on the steps of a local theatre at least a few times a week. It was no statement, just a stupid guy being stupid. He thought it was funny, and the more it disgusted people, the more he wanted to do it. It was “his thing”.

    Some people skateboard, some people crap on bleachers. Its an unfortunate truth of youth culture.

  9. Xenia says:

    Churches all over do all kinds of outreaches. Not everyone wants to be a Christian, not everyone wants to follow rules. Our church is in a park and there’s an unknown person who inhabits that park who sometimes defecates on our porch. If he came on Sunday morning to church he would be most welcome but he prefers to dwell in darkness. Can we force this person to become a normal, God-loving person? He chooses otherwise.

    There’s a group of churches that open their doors every night of the week (on rotating basis) so the homeless can get a meal, a shower and a safe place to sleep. Many don’t avail themselves of this charity because they don’t want to obey the rules. They would prefer to sleep in the various homeless encampments around town. They have not been ignored by the church. The church has offered them help and they have said “Thanks but no thanks.”

    The Salvation Army in town has housing, free food, etc. for the homeless. The housing comes with some rules. Again, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather sleep down by the creek where I am my own boss.”

    So in summary, in this area there are MANY resources for the homeless but they all come with some strings attached: if you are going to sleep at our church, no drugs, no alcohol, etc. Many say “Nope.”

    “It is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven” is the personal preference of many.

  10. Gary says:

    Xenia,
    Are there any shelters in Pacific Grove or on the 17 Mile Drive. That’s where I’d go. Any soup kitchens on Cannery Row? I love that area.

  11. Michael says:

    Well now…
    It’s entirely possible that someone was just being a fool.
    That doesn’t account for why the place has been allowed to deteriorate at a rapid rate and the constant lack of parental involvement I’ve seen for years.
    I’m not talking about homeless people, I’m talking about our kids…and the conversation is doing as well here as it is locally.
    I’d throw in the towel, but one of those kids is mine.

  12. Gary says:

    Here’s a statement that really saddened me. A homeowner was being forced out of his very nice home. I suppose they had a variable mortgage and the bank jacked it way up. On his way out the door the homeowner. Smashed some of the cabinets, made holes in the walls, and sprayed “Traitors!” on the walls.

  13. Xenia says:

    and the conversation is doing as well here as it is locally.<<<

    I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean here.

  14. Gary says:

    If people who populate skateparks destroy it, what can you do?

  15. Michael says:

    Gary,

    A couple of years ago the skatepark got the same care as the rest of the park.
    The groundspeople picked up the trash there just like they did in the rest of the park.
    The police were convinced to visit on a regular basis…not to just enforce the law, but to associate with the kids.
    Parents could make an appearance now and then.
    The first park we went to was locked up for some minor issues that the kids hadn’t done…and it took the threat of unwanted publicity and a rally in front of city hall to get it opened back up.
    I think kids respond with as much care as they receive…and I don’t think we are caring much around here.

  16. Gary says:

    It’s my opinion that many kids, maybe most kids, don’t want their parents anywhere near the skatepark. What do you think?

  17. Having spent a few hundred hours at the parks, not only does my kid want me around, but the other kids like having me around as well.

  18. Gary says:

    I believe you, Michael. I’m talking about the majority of kids and their own parents.

    You’re probably the local missionary/evangelist and the bench where you sit is church.

  19. Shaun Sells says:

    Michael, did you remove the pile or only lament it’s existence?

  20. Michael says:

    Gary,

    My church makes sure I’ve got lots of water and soda to give away.
    My problem is that after my last illness I’m having a real hard time handling the heat…and we’ve got Trey in summer school, so I’m not around nearly as much as we used to be.

  21. Michael says:

    Shaun,

    I wish someone had made a video of my trying to dispose of the mess…no gloves, no shovel…just a Big Gulp cup and an entranced audience.

  22. Michael says:

    We need a thread like this every once in awhile for those who think everybody always agrees with me…

  23. Gary says:

    Michael, did you remove #19 cuz I lament it’s existence.

  24. Shaun Sells says:

    Well done Michael! I would have loved to see that video if it existed.

    Have a blessed day.

  25. London says:

    Maybe you should go talk to the pastor of that church that meets in the park. Maybe they are just clueless.

  26. Was wondering, how many here have ever been homeless. Asking because there are many opinions being offered regarding this population.

  27. Michael says:

    London,

    That pastor considers me the devil incarnate.
    They park right next to the skatepark…it’s right in front of them.

  28. Shaun Sells says:

    I have never been homeless.

  29. Xenia says:

    I was quasi-homeless for a few years after my mother re-married. I stayed with friends, slept in a tent in backyards, came up with rent for a month and then back to the tent or the friend’s couch. I ended up joining the Navy in order to survive. I literally had no home but I was never on the streets.

  30. Xenia says:

    One memory…. I visited a friend’s family on a Sunday afternoon, after their Sunday dinner. They had enjoyed steak for that meal and the plates with leftovers were piled up in the kitchen. I found myself picking up a pre-gnawed bone and began chewing on it. My friend was horrified! I got invited to their Sunday dinners after that.

  31. Xenia says:

    When you are homeless, you find yourself growing resentful of people who have nice homes, caring parents, and a college to attend every year, paid for by caring parents. I was never tempted to act out but if I had continued in that miserable condition for a few more years, who knows what I might have done out of resentment and anger.

  32. Gary says:

    Michael,
    It’s a CC. No wonder they hate you. lol

  33. Gary says:

    Someone dear to me is homeless. I was almost homeless recently but by choice.

  34. Xenia says:

    Most of the help I got during those years came from a very liberal Episcopal Church. They found me a job and a place to live while I was waiting for my date to go to boot camp.

  35. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Here’s another thought: Used to have this female friend who was homeless and working at a grocery store. She was also an alcoholic in denial. Her alcoholism had take a toll on her health. She would say that she had Irritable bowel syndrome and a number of other ailments that also affected her liver. One day, I noticed she was taking more medication than she had been. I also notice we could no longer be anywhere for very long before she would go off running to the bathroom. While driving, I would be asked to make frequent stops so she could use the ladies room. Finally, I began to notice or smell an odor on her as if she had soiled herself. Then one evening, I noticed something running down her leg. I felt so sad for her, for she felt she had to cover it all up with one excuse after another. I was her friend and I cared about her. She was destroying herself. It had nothing to do with if she knew the Lord or not. She was one of the originals flower child that began with Calvary Chapel during the tent days. Believed she was saved no matter what choices she had made or how she was living her life.

    One day, while having lunch with her, I shared with her what the medication she had was supposed to do and why she had been prescribed them. I also talked with her about the way the alcohol was now wreaking haavoc upon her body and why she couldn’t hold her bowels. It took a little bit, but after I showed her the proof of what I was sharing she “got” it. Shortly after this, she was terminated because of her drinking. She then began to go to AA meetings. I don’t where she is now , as the last time I saw her, she had whipped out 2 beers to share with me (I don’t drink) while telling me that she was celebrating that she had been clean and sober for the last 90 days.

    What I am saying here is, it could be that someone just couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough and did their thing from where they sat, then either out of shame or fear of being found out, they left their mess behind.

    Michael, is it possible that the church could adopt that part of the park and do a regular clean project while ministering to the kids and other occupants there.

  36. Paigemom says:

    I remember when that skate park was approved and the pastor at that time, my ex, was surprisingly bummed about it. I was thrilled. What an opportunity! I think some of the young guys who were on staff there did some ministry and sharing there. Seems like I remember Luke & Jeremy hosting big name skaters, christian skaters, etc as an outreach, punk concerts, etc.. It hasn’t always been ignored.

    I do know that the current pastor is going through some seriously sorrowful times.

    Now that I live in Beaverton I take my grands to the local skate park to ride their razor scooters in the bowls with other young kids, til the scary big guys show up. I have longed for a cool dude evangelist to be there to share. Don’t think the thugs would want to listen to a grannie with a Bible. Those are some pretty hard and lost kids. I pray as I sit on a poop free bench reading my Bible, looking up to take phone pics of my grands…:-)

    Parental neglect takes all sorts of forms with similar results: anger, vandalism, public toileting. They need Jesus…. I need Jesus…. Lord give us all boldness to share the Hope.

  37. Michael says:

    Paigemom,

    That park is still the best of the bunch.
    We do get parents and patrols there…
    We were in Medford for the mess I’m writing about.

  38. I lived in the back of my truck for a while.

  39. Gary says:

    I lived in my Gram’s garage 3 times. I loved it.

  40. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I have never, ever, not once met a homeless person that was bitter and angry—only hanging on to a sliver of hope that someone, anyone would care enough to do more than want to get them saved.

    I have know up close and personal hundreds of homeless, at various time of the homeless process. Granted, there are those that are dangerous, but most are not. If they steal from you, it is usually to either to sell what they stole to get money for alcohol, drugs, or food. So, what you do is leave your valuables locked away and don’t carry a purse with you. It is a matter of survival for them, not because it’s personal.

  41. Catherine says:

    I admire Zenia more and more.. for her faith, for her refusal to make excuses, and her honest assessments. I love what Michael wrote this morning, and only wish there were those who would see the need out there, and just go do it. And I am talking to myself, too.

  42. Gary says:

    Once a homeless guy grabbed the cash I was giving him. I didn’t take it personally but he sure did.

  43. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    If this pastor is going through difficult times, maybe another pastor could come alongside them and be a friend.

  44. Catherine says:

    In my early 20″s I was almost homeless, staying at different places, feeling like a lost soul, because, really, I was a lost soul. I remember one evening taking a walk near dusk, the light was beginning to fade and lamps were going on in the homes I was passing, and looking through the windows, I saw families, mothers and fathers, children, TVs on and just generally the normal everyday goings on of folk. I remember feeling keenly that I was alone and that I was looking in from the outside and so longed to have a home and a family, that I would be included, not excluded. All these years later, I have the home, the family, but I still remember that feeling of the young girl I was then,lost and rootless. There is really nothing so hard as to not have a place to call your own.

  45. Xenia says:

    Uriah, I have come across many bitter, resentful homeless people. Sometimes I sit down and try to talk with them and all they can do is tell me how everything is society’s fault. I offer several solutions (such as I mentioned in #9) and they have a million excuses why they won’t avail themselves of help. Maybe if I lived in simpler days I could bring them home with me but frankly, I am scared of most of them and I have daughters and a granddaughter that I would not trust them around. So, I give them a dollar and walk away, feeling quite defeated and the person I was talking with is usually angry with me, saying “Yeah yeah, you are just like everyone else.” I offer to pray, they say “Big deal.” I invite them to church and that is the last place they want to go. I have pretty much given up talking to homeless people, I just hand them a dollar and say a short prayer: Lord have mercy on this lost person.

    BUT, there are success stories here in town. The Salvation Army has rescued many many people who now have jobs and homes. Many ministries offer help but the catch is, the person has to accept the help that if offered, even if there are strings attached. Believe me, I was not too keen on all the rules and regulations imposed upon me by the US Navy!

  46. Xenia says:

    Catherine, I can really, really relate to your #44. But I have all those things now. God is good! I will say that my experiences have really impacted how I treat my own children. We are probably over-helpful at times.

  47. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Contrary to what some would like to believe, most shelters are not safe to stay in–even those sponsored by church groups, such as the Salvation Army.

    It’s not the rules that causes people to stay away. It’s being in cramp quarters that puts people at risk of being beaten, robbed, raped, and exploited.

    It’s also the condescending attitude and assumption that is so obvious being communicated to those who are thought to be so much less than they who are “serving” in the name of Jesus.

    For all, it could be a humbling experience, as well as a blessing, but for most it is a nightmare to have to compromise oneself in order to stretch out on a cot or on the floor with another stranger next to you, not knowing if while you are sleeping if your child will be molested or you will catch someone cold or other type of ailment that will then cause you to endure while being out in the street in the heat or the cold and no medicine or hours waiting to be seen in an overcrowed and uncaring medical facility who then runs you through the routine never looking you in the eye, never smiling, to give you a prescription you cannot afford.

  48. Xenia says:

    I just know that with my own kids, I never want them to feel the rejection and hopelessness that I felt those few years. I may go a bit overboard to make sure they never feel about me as I felt about my “family.”

  49. Xenia says:

    Uriah, what do you suggest?

  50. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Xenia,

    “Sometimes I sit down and try to talk with them and all they can do is tell me how everything is society’s fault. I offer several solutions (such as I mentioned in #9) and they have a million excuses why they won’t avail themselves of help.”

    My guess is that you are listening to their story, but you are not hearing what they are saying. Lots of people approach this population the way that you have—-then come up with making assumptions and solutions that puts a wall up between what you are sincerely attempting to accomplish.

    The Salvation Army has Adult Rehabilitation Program for the the able bodied addict. They also have a few, and I mean a few beds for those who meets a very narrow criteria with a parent and children. The Salvation Army ARC puts the addicts to work in their collection warehouse, driving the trucks and working in the stores. They make millions of the free labor that is received from these addicts. They also recieve food stamps on behalf of them from the state to feed them.

    Salvation Army has been touted by the the wall street journal as being the smartest business organization among “charitable” organizations.

    Not to say they don’t help anyone, but to say it’s not what you think. I donated more 7 years of my time as a clinician there, so I am quite familiar with what they do, how they do, and why they do. Success, by the way is measured or interpreted in many ways.

  51. Catherine says:

    Yes, I too have worked very hard that my three daughters know they are loved and always have a home and hope. My middle daughter is starting Medical school in Arizona in a few weeks, the oldest with a Masters Degree is working in Washington DC, and the youngest will be a junior in high school. Thank God they never experienced what I did at their ages, but I am always overly helpful with them! And I am thankful that my daughters have a relationship with me that was impossible for me to have with my own sick mother. God is indeed good to set the lonely in houses.

  52. Xenia says:

    Ok Uriah.

    You ask, “Who was homeless?” I answer “I was.”
    You state: “I never met a bitter, angry homeless person.” I reply “I have.”
    I tell you that I try to listen to people and you say I’m doing it all wrong.
    (Although I should mention the time a few years ago when I really did try to listen to a homeless person and he tried to sexually assault me.)
    I ask for suggestions and you suggest the same things I already suggested, the SA.

  53. I shudder to think what would happen if any of us were to be time transported to a mere 100 years ago when hygiene and plumbing were less evolved. Blechhhh!

    I’m placing my bet that the offending poo was a one time event and the solution to organize and mobilize a revitalization amongst concerned citizens and non church folk would have a huge impact on the community, sort of a “take our park back from decay” day.

    The kids who use the park would be the first and their families the second tiers to approach. The local businesses could help by donating cleaning supplies, rubber gloves, scrubbing tools, the local fire department could help by hosing down the place when done.

    Sht happens, it’s all abut what we do with it and how we do what we do with the poo, and it starts with you know who.

    …true?

  54. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    There is a long list of things that I can suggest that would be far more productive in ministering to the homeless. For starters:

    1. Stop making assumptions and stereotyping the homeless.
    2. Improve upon your ability to hear their heart, not what they are saying.
    3. Ask them to make a list of things that they need.
    4. Stop telling them what to do.
    5. Stop thinking it has to do with rules or needing to be saved.
    6. Another way to be able to pray with them, ask them to pray for you instead. That means, you are going to have to humble yourself and ask them to see you as a person as well.

  55. Xenia says:

    Uriah, I don’t see how any of your suggestions will put food in their mouths or give them a place to sleep. I SUSPECT (maybe an assumption) that they would prefer food and shelter more than striking up a sidewalk friendship with a middle-aged woman. To suggest that they would prefer a heartfelt relationship with ME rather than food and shelter seems the epitome of condescension.

  56. Xenia says:

    I’m going to be gone til tomorrow so I can’t respond til then.

    See you all later.

  57. Patrick says:

    I’ve noticed that alot of the kids that skate really want some kind of interaction with adults. I skate at the same park every weekend and have quite a few friends there, I haven’t shared the Gospel with alot of them, but I ,make them question things and show them I care. I teach young kids how to skate and see their faces light up when they learn something which goes further than most would think.

    Most of the kids are dropped off by their parents and kind of forgotten about until it’s time to be picked up thus there is a void that the kids are longing to have filled. Sadly most pro/semi-pro skaters are not role models at all. Drug use, drinking, and pretty much everything else is common and encouraged by the popular skate culture.

  58. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Xenia,

    Please know I am not coming down on you on what you have attempted to do with the homeless population.

    As for your mention of the SA, it is primarily geared towards addicts who works for them free of charge to make them millions. It is not as charitable as many are led to believe. However, it does enable them to get treatment for there addiction. At the same time, please understand this treatment is done by interns who are also learning about addiction and most likely have not had adequate coursework to truely treat the addict. I was an intern then became a licensed clinician. The people I treated faired a bit better in being able maintain their sobriety long after leaving the program, but most do not. The SA do not provide housing for those who are not addicts and the transitional housing they do have are primarily for those with children who meet a vary narrow criteria, because there are very few beds. So most homeless people would not qualify for either program.

    As for you getting almost raped, I am sorry to hear this happened to you. At the same time, I have to say this could also happened to you in other populations as well. For instance, you know being in the military the high rate of sexual harassment and rape that occurs. Right? So, in to prevent this, you cannot be in a situation where there is no one else around when ministering all by yourself to a person. Nor can you adopt that person and take them home. There are certain precautions that you must take which are the same precautions you would take anywhere when dealing with someone who is of the opposite sex as yourself. Also, there are precautions you would take when approaching someone of the same sex if nothing else due to not knowing if the person has some sort of psychosis or haven’t eaten for awhile and is experiecing a glucose low that often does cause them to be quite irritiable and agressive.

    When I am speaking of a person being angry, bitter, or resentful–I am speaking of a person after hearing them, it’s not to be taken personally or even to project my own beliefs upon them, but to hear the pain, the suffering, the grief, and sadness, the fear, shame, and guilt that they have and what has been put upon them. Through all of this, I don’t see the anger, blame, bitterness or resentment. I see a broken heart who is dying inside and wants so much to be, seen, heard and understood. I see someone who is afraid they will be rejected one more time, someone who will be discounted one more time, someone who will be written off one more time. When all it would take is patience to enable this person to open up more and more, as his or her needs are addressed, even in the smallest of ways. Granola bars and water and real juice are great things to have on hand. You will be amazed how their ability to speak or to communicate improves as their glucose levels off.

  59. Catherine says:

    I volunteered to be a part of a homeless outreach at the Rescue Mission a few years ago. My experiences were a lot like Zenia’s were. I left feeling very unsettled because I saw that what the group had set out to accomplish failed. Every conversation we had, my husband was with me, was a complaint about the other homeless shelters in the area who, in their opinion, had too many rules and restrictions placed on them, so they didn’t want to stay. They even complained about the Rescue Mission searching their backpacks before they were allowed in the courtyard. Many of the men frightened me by the way they looked at me, and my husband never left my side. I was trying to engage a middle aged homeless women in a conversation,when she looked at my expensive wedding ring (which I foolishly forgot to take off and leave at home), and said very sarcastically, “Well someone must really love you. ” I was left feeling very conflicted about this. I did not like the attempt to make me feel guilty that I had a different life than she–there was a lot more to that conversation, but it was all downhill from there. At every turn, whatever the conversation was, it was full of grumbling and complaining. I can certainly understand the many different reasons why the homeless are homeless–I can name many and I am not being in any way condescending, but the most I will do today is to give money, buy food and say a prayer. I leave the rest to the Lord.

  60. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Xenia,

    “I don’t see how any of your suggestions will put food in their mouths or give them a place to sleep. I SUSPECT (maybe an assumption) that they would prefer food and shelter more than striking up a sidewalk friendship with a middle-aged woman. To suggest that they would prefer a heartfelt relationship with ME rather than food and shelter seems the epitome of condescension.”

    Yes, this entire statement is an assumption, as well as being defensive.

    There are different level of relationships and if you are going to have an impact on anyone, then your are going to need to build a level of trust someone who is homeless. Telling someone that they can go here or they can go there, then writing them off because they don’t and then reasoning it all out as being a matter of not wanting to follow rules is hardly going to make a dent and only leaves you thinking that there is nothing that can be done for those who are homeless and that people are homeless because they want to be or they are to lazy or whatever.

    I have offered you another way of approaching this population. It is different from what you have been doing. Is your way working?

    Of course a homeless person would like to have food and shelter, but it doesn’t sound like you are able to provide this and most homeless people understand this. But there are so many other things that a person can do to help the homeless that would be so much more productive, including paying for a week’s in a motel that has hotplate, refrigerator or kitchen. If a church is going to have such a ministry, they need to get rid of the assumptions and attitude. Ask the homeless what you can do short of housing them if you do not have the ability to provide. If anyone should know–it is them.

  61. I was homeless for a short period of time about 15 years ago.
    I have homeless friends at my church, and minister to homeless people on a weekly basis.

    I would say the percentage of homeless people that I meet who are mentally ill is probably about 75%.

    I would say the percentage of homeless adults who are also addicted to some substance is nearing the 99% mark.

    Are these stereotypes? I don’t know, but I have found this to be truth among those I encounter. To go into a situation without at least considering these possibilities is foolish.

  62. “Is your way working?”

    What would “working” consist of?

  63. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Catherine,

    What you shared is very true in what takes place in shelters. What the woman was saying to you is that she did not feel as though she had been loved and if she had been, she would not be in the position that she was. As for the complaints you heard, they probably are very valid, but nobody who has any sayso listens to them. Granted, there backpacks should be checked for weapons, guns, and even for pornograhpy. But this only adds to the lack of dignity and disrespect that they feel towards themselves and that is being forwarded to them. As for the rules of the shelter, try this one on for size. In order to get into the shelter, one must be standing in line hours before they will let the limit in. That means you have to probably be there no later than 4am in the morning. Then be checked in, have your possessions searched, while giving your name, age, and social security number (so the the shelter can collect government funds and also to justify any grants or other donations they get). You are then cattled into an area and given basic rules which includes the following:

    1. Everyone must be bedded down by such and such time.
    2. Everyone must leave the shelter by 5am and are not able to return until the following day to stand in line again, repeating the whole process over again.
    3. The food you see served is not the usual faire.
    4. Also please understand, these occupants are then sent out without any food, no matter what the weather is like and without any water.
    5. Many shelter will not let you in if you are sick.

    Alot of people who are homeless are sharing there complaints hoping someone will do something about them to make shelters better. Are you listening or are you just thinking they should be thankful for being able to be there?

    I think it would be really helpful to have a counselor to orientate people who would like to volunteer to help them understand the homeless better, so they don’t get burned out and feeling helpless or non-effective in there desire in making a difference.

  64. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Josh,

    Are they mentally ill or traumatized? Meaning suffering from Post Traumatic Injury? Is it possible that being on the street has reframe their way of doing and thinking about things is different than what they would be doing if they were in a safe environment? What leads you to believe they are addicts? Not sayig that you are incorrect, but just wondering what led you to come to this conclusion.

  65. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    There’s a saying in the streets:

    It is better to act like an addict, because there are more beds available.

    Here’s another one:

    Commit a crime that is a misdemeanor, get a bed and 3 square meals.

    I remember one getting a meth addict into an alcoholic detox home by having them drink a couple of beers and pouring beer all over him. Detox was very difficult for him, but he hung in there and is clean and sober to this day—10 years later. Did this as a friend and a Christian, not a clinician

  66. I am not sure how this all got around to homeless people.
    I just thought it was just some idiot that took a poo.
    When I was getting ready to deploy to Bosnia in 2001, we had some one take a big poo in the portable showers. Then again, when we were getting ready to deploy to Iraq in 2004, the same exact thing happened. Because we were National Guard, I was pretty sure it was the same idiot both times, just don’t know who.

  67. Steve Wright says:

    This park sounds like Detroit in microcosm.

  68. Catherine says:

    Regarding #63, I was listening and what I related to you was what I heard. You have no idea as to why or what motivated the women to speak as she did. I did hear their complaints, and I really don’t know what to do about any of it, other to do what I said earlier. Which is to give when I can and pray. I long for the day when His kingdom is the only one, and His Name One. But in my opinion only, and I could be wrong, you are a little critical about some of us who have explained our experiences while wishing that we could truly be of help to the homeless and all the myriad of problems that go along with this issue.
    As to the rules of shelters and places to sleep, having to wait in line, leave at 4 am etc–what can be done about that? Doubtless the people who run these places have experience and have possibly learned bitter lessons as to why they now must enforce such rules. Not to place blame on the homeless or the shelters, it is just unfortunate for all involved. I also worked in a food kitchen feeding the homeless for a year, and I won’t tell you all the stories,but I do have a heart, but there is only so much that can be done in the face of addictions, or mental illness, or plain old rebellion. I do understand the dehumanizing element and loss of dignity aspect that goes along with being homeless–I truly do.

  69. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Minstering to the homeless population can be difficult, frustrating, and ever so hopeless at times. And once in awhile, you meet someone who is able to sincerely say thank you for whatever efforts you are putting forth. But until you are able to truely put yourself in the person shoes that is complaining, or pooping, or being a pooper, please understand that being homeless is not easy—and it is hopeless and it is terrifying and it is dangerous and it does not stop because when homeless, you don’t have a door that you can lock behind you, nor do you have toilet paper or running water or air conditioning or ready transportation or the money to put gas in it or to pay for bus fare to get from one shelter to the next or from one county facilitie or other community resource to get a voucher or a handout before you then need to find a place in the terrain to lay your head or to park your vehicle without having to be rousted or to worry about someone thinking you are going to do them harm and then by the time you do, the day starts all over again.

    So in terms of being bitter, angry, and resentful—if this all that is presented to you—count your blessings that you can walk away from it and just pretend they don’t exist at all. Or that they are this or that. But know this also, they are doing this 24/7 and anyone in their position would be doing the same—so these feelings and thoughts they are expressing are not someone who is abnormal but rather being quite normal in a very abnormal situation.

    One in every four women in the church is being abused by their spouse, boyfriend, or father. This includes the wives of pastors. Many have gone into hiding due to the narcissistic/socipathic/psychopathic behaviors of such men. Shelters for domestic violence do not have enough beds to go around to help these women. Those with children are given first priorities and a woman without children are bumped many times if a mother and children calls in for help. Beds are so scarced that oftentimes the woman will be transported across country, but even then, if without children will lose the bed if she does not have children. Many end up going homeless to stay safe and out of reach of being found by her abuser. Churches overall will not intervene or hold the abuser to an account and the court system’s hands are tied unless there is hard evidence that the woman has been abused. Restraining orders are useless and divorce does not stop them nor does it heal the post traumatic injury that she has to work through to stop the panic attacks and fear of one day being found by him. Many women are forced to live in the street. They no longer trust the church, the pastor whom they once believe was a place where they could be protected and safeguarded. But they still need a place to rest their head and to heal and to work towards getting back on the their feet. They are not unskilled, and many are educated professionals and love the Lord with all their hearts. They are not the typical domestic violence victims, therefore standard treatment is not relevant, nor is it effective, for there really isn’t anything wrong with them, other than being a target and a victim in every sense of the word. They are not codependents. They are however, women who were prey upon, seduced, and then devalued in order to dominate and to control.

    Would you or your church be willing to help them to get re-established and to protect them from such a person? Because, so far the stats are in that most of the time the church and the Christian community will not even lift a finger to help them, but rather will protect the offender and enable them to continue in the midst of the congregation while exploiting everyone to persecute and to throw her under the bus instead. Simply because he had convince them that she is the crazy one instead and since he appears so calm while she is crying out or rather begging someone to believe her. And yes, this is the nature of a wolf, but it is also the reality of what 1 in every 4 women is contending with, within our churches. And many are out in the street wondering how and why the church failed them in their hour of need.

  70. Nonnie says:

    I pulled some stupid pranks as a teen. At the time I thought I was quite hilarious and clever. Now look back with shame. I’m hoping that might be the case with the poo on the bench.

  71. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Catherine,

    What I am hearin is a sense of helplessness in being more effective in helping the homeless while also drawing alot of assumption and diagnosing the majority of them as being addicts and mentally ill. So, I am offering another perspective from the viewpoint of the homeless, themselves. This is why I asked who have ever been homeless. I should have added as a qualifier, for a long duration of time. As for those serving in those shelters, most are not trained to understand the homeless, but rather to monitor and to oversee the safety of the facilty while packing the homeless in. Not to actually minister or to provide any other type of concrete need other than a place to lay their head and maybe a warm meal.

    As for the lady that you spoke to, you are correct in saying that I was not there. And I am sure you did what your best in reaching out to her, but was met with a response that was not where you intended the conversation to go. However, based on what you did shared and your thoughts regarding how she responded or did not respond to what your expectations were of her, I made my own comments and suggestions based on my own work I have done with the homeless, addicts, abused, and discarded of our society, churches, and community.

    I understand it might be difficult for some to hear what I am sharing as it is different from what one may think is the problem or solution to homelessness or how they can be or won’t be helped. Yet, at the same time, I have to wonder that if you want to be more effective and less burned out in a ministry that you believe that God may have put upon your heart to do then perhaps by hearing what I have to share is His way of letting you know something more than what you think your are doing is what you ought to be doing in the way that you have tried thus far.

    I am truely not trying to offend anyone here and I hope you can somehow put aside any defensiveness you may be feeling and put your focus upon how to be more effective rather than to think that in any way that I am coming down on anyone, for I am not. I am just saying that people miss the mark in the approach or method, this is why, and this is what can be changed or modified to be more effective, using what resources, talents, skills, and gifts that the Lord has given you to share with the homeless population. Paticularly with those who are homeless and are your sisters and brothers, in Christ.

  72. Scott says:

    Michael, I’m a truck driver. You have obviously not spent much time in truck stops 😉

    This TGIF was kind of crappy. You’ll do better next week, I’m sure of that 🙂

  73. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve,

    Speaking of Detroit, which as a small child lived, have you read anything about what the homeless and indigent people have been doing for the last 1-2 years there? They are turning the parking lots and vacated property into vegetable gardens and then feeding the community. They are also marketing their produce to various markets and resturants/dinner hourses (fresh produce) to earn money, to help people to pay their bills, rent, and to buy products they cannot produce themselves.

  74. Well… I just wonder if the one who left the prize used his right or his left.

  75. Steve Wright says:

    I’ve read that too uriah. I’ve read as much as 1/3 of the 140 square miles of Detroit is now abandoned. Good that some of that space is being used for a worthy purpose.

  76. erunner says:

    Sadly when I was a youngster my friends and I did some PIGGISH things I won’t share here. We were pretty much unsupervised and thought the things we did were quite funny. If I ran into kids like that now I’d want to wring their necks! And if things weren’t nailed down we stole it just because we could. This is 45-50 years ago and I have to think things have only gotten worse.

    We used to think it was cool to use our BB-Guns to shoot birds. One day a man caught us and marched us into his home. Lining the walls were framed pictures of all sorts of beautiful birds. He made his point and cared enough to do so. He drove home the ugliness of what we were doing. It was a landmark moment for me that a stranger cared enough to confront us in a loving way. Sadly, many parents then and probably even more now don’t care enough to know what their kids are up to.

  77. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Catherine,

    I will make my final comment on this huge assumption that many hold towards those who are homeless.

    That is, in your own words: addicts, mentally ill, or in rebellion.

    As long as you hold this assumption you will not be effective in serving the homeless. Not only are homeless not all addicts, mentally ill, or in rebellion, they are those among them that do not nor ever have had a family or a church who was there to help them when they got laid off or abandoned, or forced into hiding, or simply due to the economy or even fired for some rediculous reason having little to do with them but more to do with a sick, mentally ill, or addicted employer, or even a health problem that rendered them unable to work any longer but employer did not pay into social security or that they haven’t been approved for disability benefits, or a number of othr reason beyond their control.

    Homelesseness extends far beyond the addicted, mentally ill, and rebellious of society. And for those that it does not, even these can be helped, but not in the way it is being done right now and certainly not with assumptions and some of the methods employed in the forms that we have discussed today.

  78. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Here’s a bit of trivia concerning addiction:

    80% of the addicted population are “functional addicts.”

    What this means is that these are the addicts that are employed, pay their bills, and usually have a family of one or more living in their homes. But are as addicted to alcohol or other substance as the one living homeless in the street.

    It just has not caught up with them to the point that they have lost anything of value to cause them any distress yet. So they are in a deeper level of denial than the one that is on the street, and they are harder to treat.

    How about that for leaving some poo on the bleacher to consider 🙂

  79. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve,

    Those are good stats you cited. Also note:

    Mental illness includes depression and other mood disorders which are curable. And Post Traumatic Stress is no long considered a mental illness but an injury done to a person who experienced an abnormal event or series of event that injured or caused great harm to one’s ability to feel safe in their environment. Homelessness causes truama and trauma can be the cause of homelessness, such in cases of veterans, domestic violence, sexually and spiritually abused population.

    This is why it is important for churches to learn and to be trained and to provide intervention for the body of Christ. This is why church discipline and the ministry of reconciliation, when the offender is repentant and willing to bear the proof of such needs to be a part of the church functions.

  80. London says:

    Xenia.
    I hear and appreciate what you are saying.
    Just wanted you to know

  81. erunner says:

    uriah, Depression and other mood disorders that are curable??? I agree that there are some who are ‘cured’ but the reality is that many will never be free from their depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.

    I have not read anywhere where PTSD is not a mental illness. Many who have PTSD have all sorts of symptoms that make life almost impossible to live and too many are lost to suicide because they aren’t receiving the help they need for various reasons.

    My concern is when you say these things are curable it can be a slap in the face to those who struggle with these things who are and have been doing everything they can to find relief. Sadly, many do end up on the streets and then in jail where they become lost in the system.

  82. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Actually, with the new approaches being made, many are being cured. True, some will not be able to overcome these things, but unlike what used to be treated primarily by medication, therapists who primarly work is in this area are reporting a higher frequency of success using medication while also applying other therapeutic interventios that are successful. On the PTSD, it has recently been changed to being an injury in order not to pathologize a victim. The symptoms that you mentioned are that which establish this diagnosis. And true, many are being lost due to lack of appropriate intervention and support. I have suffered PTSI, myself so well aware of what the ups and downs, ins and outs of it it can contain. Being curable is not to be interpreted as a slap in the face for anyone that suffers from them. Each person is an individual and each has their own set or challenges to contend with in their own way, on their own terms, yet also limited according to things that they do not have control over, such as finances, enought therapist who really are experts in treating these things rather than being a therapist who are more generalized in their practice. Each therapist will take a particular approach towards treating their clients or patients, which ever you prefer, and not all approaches are effective as others, just as not all therapist given the person they are are not as effective with one population that they would be with another. Sometimes, it takes alot of searching around to find the right one. Then again, you have to know how to prescreen them so you won’t be spinning your wheels as well. Unfortunately, all too often, IMO, medication is overused and therapy is covered by insurance for short term cases. Along with this, there are many people that think going to a psychiatrist is therapy. It is not at all. Psychiatrist prescribed medication and they do this by monitoring their patients to keep track of the effectivity of the medication prescribed and to make sure there is not a toxicity level being built up or to prescribe another medication to counter the negative effect of the mediction prescribed to reduced the symptoms of the initial and primary diagnosis. For those who are also receiving concurrent therapy by a psyhcologist, social worker, or marriage and family therapist who are experts in the particular diagnosis of mood disorders, there appears to be a higher numbers of success whereas, medication is then able to be reduced or totally weaned from the client having to use it any longer. If a person drinks alcohol at all or use other drugs, this complicates things. Alcohol in particular is classified as a depressant. Might feel good initially and feel like a stimulant for some, but physiologically, it is acting or reacting in the body and the brain as a depressant which in turns messes up the dopamine and serotin receptors and throws every even more off balance. Alot of patients or client fail to report they are using alcohol and or other drugs as well. It’s dangerous and it does cause one to commit suicide particularly when they suffer from a mood disorder such as the ones that you mentioned.

    So, please for anyone that does have any of these disorders think for one minute that I am saying that you are not doing everything possible to function as well and as healthy as you are doing. It’s a tough challege and you should be proud of yourself that you are making the choice to contend with this and not let it define who you are or what you can do in terms of what God enables you to do one day at a time.

  83. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    E Runner,

    I stand corrected–last I heard was PTSD was being changed in the new DSMV that came out in May 2012.

    Here’s an article to reference what I was saying. You will need to then scroll all the way down just before the bibliograpy, then click onto:

    The APA summary of changes to the PTSD diagnosis can be accessed here: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PDF).

    http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/diagnostic_criteria_dsm-5.asp

    However, please keep in mind, a disorder is not to be interpreted as being permanet, unresolvable, or incurable.

  84. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Correction: that would May 2013

  85. London says:

    So Patrick,
    How can Michael get some help with good adult role models at that park?
    Maybe you know some skate ministry that would be willing to put on some clinics or whatever you skater guys do.
    Is there such a thing?

  86. erunner says:

    uriah, Thanks for responding. I am concerned about the stigma and ignorance concerning mental illness in the church. Many people muster up courage to seek help from a church/pastor/staff counselor only to be told they are the problem. Their spiritual shortcomings are expressed as being the reason for their suffering. I’ve personally had someone seek to cast demons from me and had to leave a church because of the pastor’s terribly uninformed attitude regarding the topic.

    So when I mentioned slap in the face I am thinking of those who have suffered at the hands of folks who have heaped condemnation on them. This can and does throw the sufferer into a terrible tailspin that may cause them to avoid church and isolate. I consider this type of treatment as abuse and it needs to stop. Thankfully there are churches that are doing all they can to break the stigma and help the suffering.

    I understand that meds are abused a lot and are quite often handed out like candy which is shameful. Yet there are many who need these meds to have any chance at a normal life. Just like the cancer victim who requires their medication.

    I am all for counseling. It may be a close friend a person feels safe to open up with. It may be a person on staff at church or it may be the pastor. God works through all people. This includes professional counselors who are trained specifically to help those suffering mentally. Yet there are still many who look down on believers entering the field of counseling and go nuts if a believer seeks secular counseling.

    If someone is suffering mentally they deserve our compassion and the hand of Jesus extended to them. Nothing less. If sin is an issue then by all means help the individual to see that in a non condemning way.

    PTSD is running rampant with our veterans and we need to do all we can to help these men and women. Too many are taking their own lives and others are suffering in terrible ways.

    I appreciate the link you provided. Thanks again. Allan

  87. Michael says:

    London,

    As I’ve said many,many times we need parents,not clinics.
    Patrick is our sponsor and our inspiration…great heart for kids.

  88. Steve Wright says:

    God works through all people. This includes professional counselors who are trained specifically to help those suffering mentally
    ——————————————————————–
    Amen e-runner.

    But there is a huge mindset problem in today’s church in my opinion. It takes years of study and thousands of dollars in tuition, plus constant continuing education year after year, in order for someone to specialize and become truly knowledgeable in this field.

    And yet, how many Christians expect such a person to work for free? Shocked that there will be an hourly rate. It’s almost like the old joke where people would meet a doctor at a cocktail party and try to get a mini-examination from him before dinner is served.

    And this goes beyond counseling. Christians ought to rejoice when they find a brother or sister in ANY line of work that is honest, knowledgeable, hardworking and THAT should be worth top dollar – with the bonus of knowing you are helping provide for a fellow believer and his/her family. Yet, often the vibe is “Hey, how about some sort of ‘we have the same Savior’ discount?”

  89. erunner says:

    Steve, A few months ago my sister-in-law graduated from Biola and we attended. I got to see graduates who were heading into the mental health profession. I’m sure their goal is to make a difference in the lives of those suffering mentally.

    It seems as a whole the church doesn’t quite know what to do with this sub-culture of professionals. I’m sure you’ve heard the different criticisms. Discernment groups can be quite cruel in their assessments and they have sway with many pastors who in turn have sway with their congregation.

    People rejoice nowadays when they find an honest, plumber, carpenter, mechanic, or doctor. When we find these individuals we want to hang onto them and refer others to them so they can also benefit. And we pay them a fair price for the peace of mind they give us.

    Yet if that person is a believer we expect the “family discount.” And when it comes to sitting and “talking” with someone about serious issues we unfairly discount all they’ve done to get to where they’re at. Thankfully there are changes taking place as the reality of mental illness is being recognized by parts of the church. Hopefully it continues in a balanced fashion.

  90. London says:

    Well sorry Michael!
    I was just trying to find some practical way of helping.
    Sheesh

  91. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve,

    I can readily identify with going an event and being asked this or that, but usually I will spend a few moments with the person, then steer the conversation back to just being here to enjoy the whatevers.

    Also, consider this, if you need heart surgery, are you going to not get it because the surgeon is not a Christian? Of course not—and in the same stream as you have stated, it takes years of study and experience to become a licensed clinician with ongoing training in one’s field. Things are constantly changing and new information is coming out. We are learning more about what works and what doesn’t work. And in this we are kept humble and opened to self examination in our prejudices, biases, and need for personal and professional growth, development, and endeavors. I don’t agree with alot of what my colleague, but then again not everyone agrees with me either—-nevertheless, we respect one another knowing that we will help some client and will need to refer others on to someone whom we think would be more effective.

    As for lowering my fees when in practice, I have always provided a certain percent of my practice for pro bono and on a sliding scale basis. I have also re-adjusted the hourly rate to accommodate a temporary decrease in income or unexpected expense. When people seek counseling, these are things you will need to ask about when prescreeing with the clinician on the phone. Don’t be shy about this. If they are not willing to briefly answer you question, then most likely they are not going being able to attentive to with you during the work you will do with them in your sessions. Oh, another things—some therapist don’t charge for the first session, as they feel it is spent in getting information and filling out their forms, along with helping you to decide if they are the person you want and can afford to work with you.

    Finally, just because a therapist tells you they are Christian does not mean that they are—you can also screen for this. Again, if they are stand-offish about this, then move on if this is an issue for you.

  92. Michael says:

    London,
    No offense meant.
    What these kids need is what every kid needs…people who are willing to consistently be present and involved with them.
    One shot events don’t impress them…

  93. Steve Wright says:

    Erunner

    My seminary has a strong Christian counseling school – degrees offered at both the masters and the doctorate level. When i was there, I think the counseling school was larger than the theology school at the graduate level. It’s taken seriously.

    I recall one professor (a professional counselor) for an MDiv counseling class I had, expressing his anger at pastors who end up doing more harm than good (or at best, waste a lot of time and allow more damage to accumulate) by taking upon themselves something they do not know. The example he used was a pastor calling him asking if he would see this guy from his church he had been “counseling” with some serious sexual sin issues. He had seen this guy weekly for TWO YEARS. My prof asked the pastor if he had any training or experience in counseling men with deep-seated sexual issues and of course the answer was ‘no.’ Two..years…no change for the better

    On the one hand, sure there are some things the world should look to the church to provide. Strangers in the community showing up and asking about food for example. Maybe just a place to be alone and pray.

    However, it always is interesting to me when I meet someone visiting the church literally for the very first time, who then asks if we offer (free) marital counseling. They have no home church, and want something that has a price tag attached to it, but think it can be acquired for free. I’m sure some church out there might, and it will probably be worth to them what they pay for it.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always talk with such people for awhile, focus on Jesus, pray, and encourage them to come back to another service and we can talk afterwards again then. But I’m not going to fix a marriage in an hour or less – and I’m not educated enough to work an hour a week for several months on whatever the marital issues are. Of course, they typically don’t return for another service.

    Personally, and this may sound harsh, I think it is pride. Just like there is pride in someone thinking they can go out and teach Scripture without any sort of training and committed study because all they need is their Bible and the Holy Spirit, so too is there a pastoral pride which diminishes the commitment to education necessary to be an effective counselor.

    My dream would be to find a gifted and educated Christian counselor that we could give office space, phones and other overhead so that he/she could offer a reduced rate to those needing his/her services. Then, at the same time, the church could scholarship poorer folks in need of counseling as well.

  94. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Your last two comments are as good as it gets.
    Well said.

  95. Steve Wright says:

    Thank you, MIchael.

    My next vent will be on churches starting schools with no professional educators on staff 😉

  96. brian says:

    This type of subject often just guts me, I lived in a “christian” group home for years, we had all sorts of people coming and going. We had people who did not have a permanent residence staying with us on a regular basis. It was actually like heaven to me, I loved it, I agree that is naive as well as totally pathetic. That was the dichotomy I find in the faith, you do good, you find some peace and joy in it, then you feel totally guilty because there must be some type of vile evil filthy motive lurking in some synapse of your brain. The other struggle was being a teacher, I wont go into telling you what I have been called but it was truly hurtful. I agree I need to man up, but when what you have sown your life and energy to is condemned many times by people in the faith community it hurts. Let me say that again it hurts.

    One thing I can say about the evangelical faith as practiced in America, it is extremely exhausting, trying to keep up just saps ones joy and peace. May I ask what is wrong with professional educators? I saw the smile but I was just interested. I went the route I did because I could not afford to do what I do on my own, I needed an infrastructure of insurance, HR, etc. I tried footing the bill on my own for years and worked two or three jobs to try to do that. I did try to ask for donations once, that sin I will never ever ever commit again. Outside of being personally wealthy, which I consider one of the vilest sins I have committed, I did try. I also failed and I admit it I needed to stay where I was at. I know this is off topic a bit, but I struggle with my “vocation”.

  97. Steve Wright says:

    May I ask what is wrong with professional educators?
    ————————————–
    Short answer – nothing. (read those posts again Brian)

  98. brian says:

    Pastor Wright often I was quoted stuff like from Ann Coulter and she would be considered the mild form concerning public service employees. My personal feelings were two fold, I am not like that and I wish I could rake in the cash like she does. I reread the post, I was referring to how some in the evangelical community feel about public educators. The other strange aspect of the post it appears you are thinking people should be interconnected and sharing of needs. I could be wrong about that, do you consider that an option? Thanks for your response, have a nice weekend.

  99. brian says:

    “My dream would be to find a gifted and educated Christian counselor that we could give office space, phones and other overhead so that he/she could offer a reduced rate to those needing his/her services. Then, at the same time, the church could scholarship poorer folks in need of counseling as well.”

    That is a wonderful idea the one sticking point and it is a big sticking point is this “reduced rate” because of the cost of insurance, office staff and other issues. I mean insurance is so expensive and needing to protect ones self and the church / organization is also important. I do like the idea and I know many Christian counselors work on a very generous sliding scale but they also have massive overhead. It is a very complex issue but not a bad dream Pastor, not at all.

  100. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve,

    Would this gifted Christian Therapist need to attend your church?

  101. Gary says:

    My church has a licensed therapist. About 2 and a half years ago my wife and I went for counseling. When the hour was over the woman told us that before we came back to see her we both had to get in a bible study and get a prayer partner. I was to go to a men’s small group, a women’s group for my wife. My church has such groups but most aren’t advertised or open. I only knew of 2 groups I could join. The first group was not a bible study. It was a book study and very boring. At 6 am. The other one was on Wednesday night when I have my kid’s club. When the school year was over I went to the second men’s group. My wife never found a group. Finding a prayer partner was easy.

    About 6 months ago I called the therapist but she had just adopted a baby and was not available. I didn’t know if that meant she wasn’t working or just working part time. I waited 6 months and called her the other day. She said her schedule was full and she was not taking on any new clients. Oh poo!

  102. Gary says:

    brian,
    Ann Coulter is not the mild form of anything. 😉

  103. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Steve,

    I say this because what you are willing to offer is pretty simple and easily accomplished.

  104. Gary says:

    It’s me, it’s me, it’s me oh Lord – Standin’ in the need of food.
    It’s me, it’s me, it’s me oh Lord – Standin’ in the need of sleep.

    Not my mother (not my father) it’s me oh Lord
    standin’ in the need of care.
    Not the preacher (not the sinner) It’s me oh Lord
    Standin’ in the need of help.

    It’s mighty rough road – Standin’ in the need of work.
    For me to carry my load – Standin’ in the need of grace.

    Help me throught the night – Standin in the need of love.
    Show me which way’s right – Standin’ in the need of home.

    Not my mother (not my father) it’s me oh Lord.
    Not the preacher (not the sinner) It’s me oh Lord.
    Standin’ in the need of church.

    I’ve been down so long – Standin’ in the need of a friend.
    I know I been wrong – Standin’ in the need of You.

  105. Xenia says:

    London, your # 81, thank you.

  106. Patrick says:

    @london
    I don’t have concrete answers for what the kids “need”, but I know that I just show up consistently and befriend them. From there, it goes as it goes. If I get to share the Gospel with them, awesome! If not, I don’t want them to feel like a projector a notch on my belt.

    As far as Michael’s situation goes, he is doing a great job of loving and caring for one skater kid who can possibly speak to the others.

    But I love and admire the fact that Michael sees his vocation as “father” more important than trying to spearhead some grand outreach(not that it’s wrong, just might not be right for him).

    At the end of the day, I think these kids really want to be able to ask questions and have legit answers given(something most Christians can’t or won’t do).

    Kids are WAY more advanced than most think and can handle much deeper things than most think but unfortunately they get pablum and are told it’s real food then we wonder why they look elsewhere for sustenance.

  107. Ricky Bobby says:

    I think there is value in Friendship Evangelism as long as it is sincere and not about conversion but about just helping the person and being a friend with no agenda.

  108. Xenia says:

    I’m back from…. well never mind where I was.

    Uriah, I could say quite a bit about your responses to me but this thread is not about my muddle-headed attempts to be helpful. You have written much that is useful and those who can take your excellent advice, may God help them accomplish His good will.

  109. How can you do friendship evangelism without an agenda… that would not be evangelism

  110. Xenia says:

    My husband and I were conscientious parents (I hope) and when our youngest was a teenager, we went to Europe for two weeks, leaving him in the care of his older brother, who was in his 20’s at the time. I call home to see how everything’s going and find out the kid’s at the police station, having committed a prank involving a video camera, a trash can, and a box of matches. I am sure those cops thought this was one neglected kid but in fact, he was the product of a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled him. Kids do goofy things. He’s now a worship leader at a large church. So who knows.

  111. Xenia says:

    This same kid of mine went through a graffiti chapter in his life. Even graffiti’d the church, a place he actually liked very much.

  112. Michael says:

    We’ve got three main skateparks within about a twenty mile radius.
    In three of them we’ve had pretty consistent adult involvement…with exactly three adults.
    In spite of the small number the results of having a consistent “father” available have been amazing to me.
    Because of my own personal trials, the park I was at the most has deteriorated to a point where it’s not a place I want Trey to be, because we simply haven’t been able to be there on a consistent basis.
    To turn it around would take time and presence I’m not able to provide at this point.
    My point is this…three old guys who decided to hang out and be present with the kids has made a difference…a big difference.
    One of them leaving has made a difference too.
    What Patrick is doing is more valuable than he will ever know…

  113. Paul says:

    Is it possible that much of our sympathy is misplaced because most men (not women) just may be homeless by choice? And leaving a dump in public is just another way of waving one’s fist at ‘the man’?

    http://www.dailycal.org/2012/10/22/homeless-by-choice
    .

  114. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I think this article is terribly politically oriented and does not represent the majority of homeless, particularyl those that have become homeless since 2008. What more once a person tries for so long to climb out of homelessness and failed time after time, they began to acclimate to the environment building relationships with other who have been there a while. They share in there sorrows, woes, and yes, even shannigans and it becomes like a bit of a family, so they can be quite protective and loyal towards one another. They know the names of the streets and where to get this or that. If you have one other person on the street that will have your back–the safety level goes up tenfolds. Subculture–yes, it is, however, note, this reporter said little about asking these men individually or even as group what they thought about having their own place with a lock on there side of the door and steady employment that would cover their basic living expenses. The reporter then mentioned that homeless will also come from other areas of the country–to improve their lot yet remain homeless as they do not choose to be otherwise. Overall, I thought the article to be leaning towards a bias in light of the measure they were attempting to pass in Berkeley—which by the way, most know has a very long history of a subculture rooted in such things as the hippie movement, intellectualism, and subculture way of life.

    Here’s another article to consider:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/12/06/166666265/why-some-homeless-choose-the-streets-over-shelters

  115. Gary says:

    Paul,
    It’s Berserkley! What would you expect? The panhandlers are more aggressive and scary there. There are some mentally unstable people who are homeless by choice because they gained their ‘rights’ back in the ’80’s and those types do gravitate to places like Berkeley. They would rather be on their own than in a mental institution. The mentally unstable homeless have my sympathy cuz they were tricked by idiots like the people who are in charge in Berkeley. Under the guise of giving them their rights they gave them nothing.

  116. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Here is another article to shed light on what it is like being homeless and why it is so difficult to restabilize or get off the street. Think about it. Alot of people have families they can fall back on. Even the young adult who is striking out on their own will go through the process of wanting to leave home to be independent and to have their own place will seesaw back and forth, fearing they may fail and wind up back home, yet the push to be an adult is ever so strong among his peers who constantly may talk about this or have made it on their own. But even then, in the back of their minds they know they have a safety net, should something go awry. For those households that are duel earners, if one gets laid off or choose to leave their job, there is still that safety net form the other who is still employed. Sure, they have to cut back on the budget—but at least they have something to budget.

    We make huge errors in judgment whenever we permit ourselves to develop a bias or prejudice towards any type or group of people. Just as in any sector of our population, there are variabilites and diversity in what does and does not apply to the individual who is homeless, regardless of what subcategories they may be classified (PTSD, Mental Illness, Crisis due to Economy, Veterans, Addiction, Mortgage Crisis, Abandonment, Domesitc Violence, Disability, low/no retirement funds, children, and a myriad of other causes). Singly or as a combination of these things can be addressed, but not by drawing assumptions, developing attitudes, then striking out, then giving up and pretend that they are the problem and are just rebellious or want to be there because they won’t take the help that is being offered. If you want to help, then listen to what they are telling you—-homelessness is not what you think, nor are the solutions to getting someone off the streets. Of course, there are going to be some who have lost the ability to function in the mainstream of society and now claim this way of life as being “normal” for them. But then again, maybe you would too, if you had been where they have been and in the process lost awareness of anything else being better than what they have. The ability to trust is a huge issue for most people and when you cannot trust those who are trying to help you, then what?

    http://greensborovoice.org/being-experience-homeless

  117. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Gary,

    Excellent point. I believe the rights you are speaking happened in the early 70’s by way of the Jarvis Law in California, then later on by President Carter (80’s). What was promised to these in way of housing and the belief that society would be able to enable the assimilation of this population into the mainstream, however, fell miserable overall by the wayside. Only in the last 10 years or less, have the stigma of being mentally ill become more and more of a focus. Curiously, pararell to this runs an increase awareness of addiction treatment and acceptance of using prescriptive medications to treat.

  118. Gary says:

    I’ll never forget how the media spun it. They showed a Black woman in a corner of a downtown building cussing at people passing by. When someone offered help she would yell at them. The reporter and the anchor focused on the fact that she had a right to self determination even though she looked to me to be a danger to others and possibly to herself.

    Once when my 2 older boys were kids I took them to an event in S F. On the way from the event to the subway we passed a big man leaning up against a building. When we got close he said “Gimmie some money!” I instinctively led my boys away and hurried past. He started yelling and cussing at us. I told my boys that if he had asked I would’ve given him something. I would’ve had to count my money first to make sure we had enough to get home.

  119. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Berekely is infamous since the 60’s for its counterculture environment. Oftentimes we will see articles in counterculture magazine that covers or references the days when Timothy Leery, the Black Panthers, and various protests against the Vietnam War and “Establishment.” In turn, many have romaticize these things and in their understanding will often want to return to those days, even by trekking across country to encounter what their expectation of experiencing the Berkeley scene once glorified in many ways in the history of our society. This, along with the weather is far more inviting and exciting than living where they may feel the risks of being homeless far outwieghs the disadvantages. Many teens who experience homelessness will travel to areas in California for this reason, thinking that, although they may not be wanted at home or that it is safer not to be at home, will be drawn to the idea of counterculturism and the chance that things will change for the better.

  120. Patrick says:

    Here’s a story from today’s paper in my locale. It fits perfectly with the topic-
    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_23700448/cleaning-up-human-waste-santa-cruz-try-24

  121. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Patrick,

    Good article and a definite problem to all. At the same time, I have to wonder how far away it is between the nearest bathroom and the safest place for a person to sleep. Some people can wait until they are able to find a bathroom to use, but others are not able to do so well. Then you have the problem of a spectator who expects people who just wake up to hold their bladder until what—hell freezes over and everyone approves of how, when, and where. Now how many of us would be able to do this. How many of us have gone camping, slept outdoors, and wake up in the middle of the night and just have to go? This is even worse if you have been drinking the night before. Loose bowels and all?

    So go ahead and be homeless, just don’t be human or at least don’t do what even the birds,and other critters do outdoors–at least not in my neighbor—right.

    Oh, and as far of the clean up—exactly what are they supposed to clean it up with and where are they supposed to dispose of it when they do? That’s it maybe we could hand out pooper scooper bags with a fold up shovel that can fit neatly in the backpack–if they are lucky to have one, that is?????

    Homelessness is not easy, not for anyone, and especially for those who knows the reality of it all.

  122. On the same vein, I just read this article about Darryl Strawberry, former MLB star, who runs a Christian Recover Program now.
    http://www.religionnews.com/2013/07/16/baseballs-darryl-strawberry-buries-his-past-in-new-career-as-a-pastor/

    Here is a link to his ministry:
    http://www.strawberryministries.org/index.php

  123. erunner says:

    Derek, I recall when Strawberry was with the Dodgers he came to faith and it was very public and then he got into all sorts of problems. If I recall correctly he was a celebrity trophy for the faith and instead of being grounded in the faith trouble followed. Maybe MLD might add to or correct me as to my memory and the accuracy of what I recall.

    I have to admit when I read that he and his wife have each been divorced twice it gives me pause as they are both now pastors. It’s one of those things where I’m happy for the work they’re doing but I have to wonder about their previous marriages and if they truly meet the criteria to be pastoring.

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