Interesting question, I have seen considerable jealously, usually disguised as something else, righteousness comes to mind, of homeless people because they don’t pay mortgages or rents, or for motels or hotels. Hardly a fair exchange for being down an out, if you are homeless looking at it from that end of it, though.
What people who look down on the homeless, either from jealously, prejudice, or just plain hatred, might try on instead is getting down on their knees and giving thanks to God that they are not down and out and homeless. Give thanks they are not drunks. Give thanks they are not mentally ill. Give thanks they did not fight in an American war, which never should have been fought, and came home with post traumatic shock, and finally it won out and they lost out. Give thanks they were not finally overtaken and defeated by some awful thing that happened to them in childhood, molestation, beatings, parents dying, or by some later trauma, death of a child, spouse, divorce, bankruptcy, etc., which finally won out and they lost out. Give thanks they have money and a support system, they still have sufficient wits and ability and drive, which enables them not to be homeless. In a nut shell, give thanks for without the Grace of God, go they.
When I hear, or read, of homeless help organizations speaking of ending homelessness in our lifetime, I wonder how they ever arrived at such a goal? Are they nuts? Do they not see homelessness on the rise, understandably, given US economic and war policies, which could be said to be intentionally designed to create more homeless people?
Do they not yet know that there is no human cure for mental illness? Are they not aware of the high relapse rates for addicts? Are they not aware of the resistance most mentally ill people have to taking meds, and how much more difficult it is for mentally ill homeless to stay on meds? Are they not aware of the enormous financial cost of getting homeless off the streets, into subsidized housing and subsidized food programs, from which most of them never will graduate, and out of which many of them will fall because they are mentally ill, go back to using their drug of choice, alcohol being the most popular?
I think they are aware, and they have their heads stuck somewhere, the sand, their hind ends, where there is no sunlight – or, they have convinced themselves, sincerely, that there really is hope, there really is a cure, but it just has not been found yet, or God hasn’t provided it yet.
I had lunch today with the new minister of Glad Tidings Tabernacle Church, John. A quite interesting man, the first minister I recall ever being able to share experiences with, who seemed to be coming from a place of living in direct relationship with angels ongoing. We will have further conversations, I imagine.
John said he is of the if you don’t work, you don’t eat school. I said I did not think that was Jesus in the Gospels’ outlook.
I told of many homeless, including me, once standing in Glad Tidings’ Sunday soup kitchen line at Higgs Beach one Sunday afternoon in 2001 or 2002. The people running that day’s “service” told us, if we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we would not be homeless. I said, loudly, “What’s wrong with being homeless? Jesus was homeless!” That stopped the preaching down for that day.
Later, the young minister Mark assigned in that church to minister to the homeless came over to me and asked where I got the idea that Jesus was homeless? I asked in return, did he ever read the Gospels? Mark looked odd. I said, in the Gospels Jesus said he was homeless. Mark asked, where? At this point, John said, “The foxes have their dens, the birds have their nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head.” I nodded, said Mark said the passage did not mean Jesus was homeless. I said, that’s exactly what Jesus meant. John agreed. I said, Mark said Jesus had a home. I asked, where? Mark said, Jesus could stay with his mother. I asked, where is that in the Gospels? No answer.
I told John, in the Gospels Jesus didn’t even seem to like his mother. Once, she and his brothers came to where he was teaching to a crowd, and word was brought to Jesus that his mother and brothers had come to see him. Mark said, and Jesus said, “Who is my mother, who are my brothers? They are those who do the will of my Father in Heaven.” I said, and Jesus kept on teaching, he did not get up to go see his mother and his brothers. and what did that say of what he thought of his mother and his brothers? John said, “Let the one who has not sinned cast the first stone.” I said many homeless are so far gone, they cannot help themselves. John agreed, I think.
John told of several situations in his life where angels had reached people, turned them around. He did not tell me of angels reaching and turning around a homeless person, though. Maybe that will start happening. Maybe John will be the angels’ vehicle.
I never saw angels turn a homeless person around, whom I was trying to help. However, I recall once talking with a Key West homeless man about his drinking, in progress as we spoke. He said it was important to him. I said, when he was drinking, he was not doing himself or God any good; he was useless to God when he was drinking. He looked caught up short, said nobody had ever said anything like that to him before, I was right. I don’t know what became of him after that.
I have said the same thing to mainstream people about their drinking, and they did not receive it the way that homeless man received it.
If you have a way to do it, go to www.us1radio.com and open today’s (Friday’s) show, Morning Magazine specifically, and listen to the beginning of Bill Becker’s news report. You will hear live comments of City Attorney Shawn Smith lay out in plain English what the case law is on how cities can treat homeless people.
Then, you will hear Mayor Cates and City Commissioners Yaniz and Weekley. You will hear what sounds like a civil war brewing among the mayor and city commissioners and their constituents. You will hear the golf course community threatened to litigate if the new shelter is put at the Easter Seals property next to the golf course.
You will hear Mayor Cates dress Yaniz down for not viewing homeless people as human beings – some one human family!, Cates said.
You will here Cates say people were included in the decision to put the 24-hour shelter in the Easter Seals property. However, it was not any of the city commissioners, who were included.
It was not Father Stephen Braddock, who forgot more about homeless issues and dynamics than Cates may ever learn.
It was not me, the first person Cates invited to advise him re homeless issues, then I never heard another word from him.
Braddock and I would have told Cates and his advisers what they now are having to deal with because they did not include us and hear our input, because they knew we would disagree with them, and, I suppose, they didn’t want that making the local headlines and Bill Becker’s news reports.
I agree with Cates, that homeless people are not just animals; they are part of Key West’s one human family.
I kept telling Cates that all along, and that he needed to have his police let homeless sleep at night when KOTS was full and they could not get into it even if they wanted to get into it. He stonewalled me, said the police were not trying to stop homeless from sleeping at night. I told Cates not to insult himself.
Maybe it’s a good thing I went to Michael Shields’ birthday party at Ibis Bay and saw “Run Lola Run”, instead of attending that recent city commission meeting. Maybe if I had been at that meeting, I would have gotten in the way, said something that sidetracked the train wreck in progress.
Time to get down off my rocky horse, again.