On Their Level

I am glad i’m not like those bums over there.

The Journey

Recently a church youth group was on a wilderness back-packing expedition and got lost. It was supposed to be a half-day trip, so they soon ran out of water in the Texas heat. One boy especially became dehydrated and seriously ill. Another hiked miles to get help, then hiked back with rescue team to show them the location. A helicopter came and took him and this now seriously ill friend to a hospital over 100 miles away. The other hikers were provided supplies and were eventually trucked out. Fortunately, the rescue was in time – the young man’s life was saved.

Nice story, so far. Right? Here is where it gets dicey. Our young hero is now in the hospital waiting room. He calls home to bring mom and dad up to date. So far so good. The boy continues his vigil, but soon realizes a predicament – he has…

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What Does It Profit A Nation To Gain The Whole World And Forfeit Its Soul?

Throw the bum out and leave him there. Wait a minute. That person happens to be ME.

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

The problems of poverty and homelessness are “intractable” and complex.  However, in American culture, it is easy to blame the poor for their own problems and thus to be overly simplistic and uncaring.  “These people” lack discipline, delayed gratification, job skills/education, work ethic, and so forth on the one hand, but on the other, “these people” struggle with alcohol and drug addiction and mental illness.

No doubt such observations are true.  Any and all are common – even major – contributing factors to poverty and homelessness in our culture.  However, very quietly, bubbling up at the edges of popular analysis, I find a concern for “networks of support.”  People living on the street suffer the loss of “networks of support” which put them there, networks which enable (empower, if you don’t like my use of “enable”) them to overcome any of these other contributing factors.

Got a debilitating drug addiction? …

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At least one remarkable peculiarity of the NFL is the spectacle of enthusiastic players touching each other after successful plays. The players become emphatic on seemingly impossible plays where afterward, the players and circle each other one-on-one and begin to hug and pat down each other over various body parts but in particular even on the behind.

A highly successful slogan by Southern Bell in days gone by was to reach out and touch someone. The emphasis was stressed, and a proverbial marketing feature was to tap the consumer’s conscience and their need for physical contact with others.

And this is where at least in one place in American society we have gone astray. In our avarice, our profiteering, ever-expanding search for possessions we have oftentimes hidden ourselves in gated communities and ensconced deeply in our air-conditioned cars foreign away from other people. Denoted here is the American population seal away from the rest of society.

This is the problem. We have removed ourselves from the sensitivities of our fellow man. In our quest for success we have separated our own persons from the elements that sustain us. To illustrate the point: our beloved friend, Wilson, in the movie starring Tom Hanks, Castaway. The need to remain in contact with people is stressed over and over again to good effect in this video. The movie presents no denial of our need for physical contact with one another.

Even scientists reveal the critical need for young babies to experience the human touch. Universally accepted, young babies require the actual physical touch for healthy physical maturation and development.

And so is also true with God. It is one thing to intellectually accept the existence of God, yet our conscience yearns for the physical reality of our creator. Constant in the theme of Jesus is Jesus healing people through touch. So much so is this true one person’s blindness was healed through Jesus’ spittle.

When we shield ourselves… When we remove ourselves… And when we encased ourselves within safe zones away from other people our message is one of exclusion and rejection.

This is not the message of Christianity.

The message of Christianity is the embracement of the morning. In a word, is touching… Touching the rejected, the dejected, and the unwanted. It means to fully envelop those who are dirty, nasty, sick and disgusting. Whereas the world judges and merits people by the outside, Christians are to duplicate godliness and value people from their inside.

This touching involves holding, feeding, stilling, clutching, clenching, clasping, and otherwise immersing ourselves into the physical body of others. While our actions may appear invasive and scary it is necessary to reveal not only who we are but as our image bearers of God. It is not a matter of fear of dirt rubbing off on us and us to sidestep those who are considered undesirables.

In the end, it is we the Christians who are in fact undesirable made desirable by the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. Our quest as Christians is to reach out, to touch, too old, and to uphold all sense of righteousness through our love as expressed in us by Jesus Christ.

When Everything is Not going to be Alright

Popular among American expressions either in lyrics in music or even among one another is that Everything is going to be Alright.

The problem with this expression albeit as positive as it may be in viewing a bad situation is that it does not account for reality. For example: situations such as: losing an important job, forfeiting a home, an automobile, a regrettable divorce, the loss of a loved one, or even say losing a foot.

Now, let’s get real. Everything is not all right if you losing your foot. In fact without medical care, you might lose more than your foot. Any of you gain your foot the medical expense and the pain is not exactly what I referred to as being all right. No everything is not going to be all right.

Yes, a positive attitude toward adversity is preferred over negativity. However, a Pollyanna-istic approach to problems is absurd. It’s not all right when you’re in pain. It is not all right when you lose a loved one or any of the other infirmities that may be inflicted upon our person. The fact of the matter is oftentimes our circumstances are anything but all right. The only people were things all right are those who are not undergoing those bad terrible situations.

For Christians, the promise too is that things won’t necessarily be all right. The promise by Jesus and the Holy Spirit is that our tribulations can be made bearable. This is far from being all right. Simply look at all the apostles. All the apostles but one suffered a grueling horrific death. That is not all right. Even Jesus suffering on the cross is not exactly what I referred to as events being Peaches and Cream. Consequently, we should caution against the goody two-shoes approach in attempting to comfort those who suffer. A much better reference to people who are undergoing trials would be simply to refer them to Scriptures. It is difficult to go wrong in quoting the word of God unless of course, you take it out of context. Who

Perhaps another approach would be to simply keep our mouth shut. Proverbs states that even a pool appears to be wise when he is silent and so then it pays to keep one’s mouth shut. If one has a desire to comfort another brother or sister many times what really is needed is the mere presence of the comforter which introduces the receiver to the spirit of God. To this effect requires no words at all. And when that happens everything in fact is indeed all right.

Birthday of the gods vs. Christmas

Think again: and who am I? And it’s not your best friend.

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

(The following is copied from a previous post on this blog.  However, today is Augustus Caesar’s birthday (bet you forgot), and so is a good time to copy/paste and start thinking about Christmas.  Please meditate AND ENJOY the world under Lord Jesus rather than Lord Caesar this year!)

Check out this quote from Caesar. Let it bounce sparks off your Christian imagination. If you have not studied Roman (and/or early Christian) history, this will likely be new for you.

An ancient inscription unearthed by archaeology:

The providence which has ordered the whole of our life, showing concern and zeal, has ordained the most perfect consummation for human life by giving to it Augustus, by filling him with virtue for doing the work of a benefactor among men, and by sending in him, as it were, a savior for us and those who come after us, to make war to cease…

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Heaven’s Hospitality

And then again, maybe you’re NOT so bad after all

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

Long before the writer of Hebrews penned that little verse in 13:2, “Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” there was Abe and Sarah.

And long before God said, “Abraham kill me a son,” and long before Abe said, “Where d’ya want this killin’ done?”… (see Bob Dylan for more of that), there was a homeless man throwing a party for Strangers trespassing on his camp.

Yes.  Abraham was rich.  That is true.  And I am reminded of it frequently when I sit in Bible class with white, middle-class American people wishing to justify their wealth (greed).

But Abe was also homeless and living in tents as a drifter (Gen. 12:1; Acts 7:1-7).  The Bible never uses the word “homeless” per se, but, depending on your translation, you might find the word “sojourner” which approximates with “homeless” quite well.  And we find…

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Foster Parenting and Homeless Ministry

Foster homes need a few good men

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

It’s been three months since I last posted anything about foster children.  Foster care is homeless ministry, the kind I am currently MOST involved in, actually.  But it is so highly regulated and every case is a matter for the courts, so I have to be so careful to guard confidentiality that I play it safe and don’t write much about it.  To the extent that I do write about it, I try to write in generalities rather than specifics, which always feels like shortchanging the story.  (I could tell stories!)

Mrs. Agent X and I have been official foster parents for four years now (unofficial for many years before that).  During that time, our home has hosted a lot of little homeless people – most of them knee high or not even walking.  Some of these needy people stay here long term and others brief visits.  Some stay permanently…

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Poor People Can’t Afford Church

The cost is going up!

Hard Times Ministries

Anything in America costs money.  The same is true for church.  Aside from tithes, just about any event in church costs money.  Family night suppers are not free, and most activities involving kids are also costly.

It would seem that the poor, above any other group would be served by the church, but in reality the truth is that it is simply too costly.

Anyone who has ever lived out on the streets knows that your clothes get tattered, smelly and dirty and while one might shave in a restroom at McDonald’s, there is still the bath that is lacking.

Some churches seem to boast their services as a fashion show.  This is in conflict with the poor who are doing good to wear blue jeans and a t-shirt.

So then, whenever one might wonder why the poor fail to show up at church services, it may be that they…

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Some Antics With Semantics

I resemble that remark. So watch what you don’t say.

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

One of the features I find to be a fairly common issue with blogging is disagreement on the fine points.  It is always a concern for me.  This is not always due to lack of shared etiquette, though it can be often enough, but also due to misunderstanding (very frequently) or sometimes outright disagreement.  It can be hard to tell where the breakdown in agreement happens and to what extent.  After all, I am not best or clearest writer of blogs, nor is my blog the friendliest.

The world of social media is notorious about hurting people’s feelings.  Funny that such a forum can be so addictive.  But the last 20 years have proven that we are much more willing to speak frankly and even in hurtful terms online than face-to-face.

It’s my own opinion that it’s not so much the face-to-face aspect that inhibits this as it is…

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This is a probable win for the Homeless in Central Florida

Yes, even Marion county will eventually get it right when it comes to the homeless. Presently, open lodging is against the law except for those who possess homes. (They call it camping)

A federal lawsuit will settle the issue:


And while this is probable good news in reference to government, how will they fare against the churches?

Get this now: the homeless will likely become victorious in regards to being discriminated against by the police, but their issue with the churches will remain.

They still will not be welcome on church property.

Thus, back out on the street sidewalks and alleyways they’ll go and at least pretty soon, they’ll be able to do so in Ocala, Fl without fear of imprisonment from city and county officials.

The constant shame of this is that we will not be able to say the same about their harassment from the churches, as true-to-form, they will not be welcome there.