60 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 3-25-21

  1. Morning all. Welcome to the end of my day. Chas is up and at em. We were visiting on yesterdays thread, but he is probably eating his Cheerios now.

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  2. Good morning Jo. Waiting until my doctor’s office is open to call. Nothing extremely serious, but my issue for which I will be having surgery is causing problems again. Will be so glad when it is taken care of.

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  3. I’m praying for you, Phos.
    I hope you can get it straightened out

    A strange song keeps running through my head this morning.
    “I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”.
    Don’t know why.

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  4. Good morning!
    Chas, in our ladies’ group yesterday a member was talking about how the homeless people bow out of involvement with all the things that regular people are caught up in. She feels they can be closer to God for that reason. After a bit I commented that as Christians this world is not our home so we are in a sense homeless here on earth. We should not be caught up in so many distractions that we neglect God. In some respects it can be a very freeing feeling . . . I’ll fly away. Nothing can hold a good Christian down because God lifts them up.

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  5. We are having a rainy day with bad storms expected later. I hope you all have a prettier day than this drippy day with flower petals all over the ground. It’s like the aftermath of a party with cleanup awaiting.

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  6. Morning! Not much happening around these parts either Chas. We had our coffee and are trying to decide what we need to do today…not much was our conclusion! 😊
    It is a cold 22 degrees out there and the snow isn’t going to be melting today. The roads have been cleared but still have icy patches. More snow to come tomorrow evening…

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  7. Janice, living outside the community and without the responsibilities God gave to mankind doesn’t make someone closer to God. I know that other people probably answered your friend, but that sounds like quite a sentimental and unrealistic view of homelessness. Now, if a couple ends up homeless through no fault of their own, that’s a different matter. But the typical homeless person is unlikely to be attending church, reading the Word, etc., and isn’t going to get closer to God just by virtue of removing himself from the functional human community.

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  8. Janice, while I wouldn’t consider the homeless, particularly the homeless here in the West as being freed for anything – the average Western homeless person suffers from addiction and/or mental illness – the mindset of being a stranger and pilgrim is one that should be cultivated by Christians. Growing up, I felt the urge to prepare for a life of missions, and I began regarding my possessions in the light of becoming missionary with an impermanent home. My family, in whom the tendency to save things in case is very strong, was a bit astonished at my determination to minimize my possessions. I think my siblings thought me rather heartless because of how I got rid of things that were only of sentimental value (actually, all I did was reduce those items to one small box). That mental training was beneficial when I had to leave suddenly in West Africa, as there were possessions I had to leave behind, not having the energy to figure out how to pack, and instead left instructions that they be given away to particular friends. Now, I have acquired a few more possessions, but I always try to regard them as a gift from God, to be enjoyed now, but held lightly for the future.

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  9. The person I mentioned has been on the brink of homelessness for some time now. I think she may have been addressing it more as to how it would affect she and her husband. When you lose everything, what do you have left but your solid relationship with God. Yes, I did think of the homeless/addicted as a separate category.

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  10. Daughter is off to her last day of work. Scrambling a bit. Could not find her car keys but they showed up. Granddaughter picked up on her stress of course but all is well as thirteen is playing couch pillows with her. Building forts.

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  11. I suspect the reason so few homeless people are involved in other activities is that it’s so hard to live on the streets. Where do you store your possessions? How do you guard your physical safety? Where do you go to the bathroom? How about a shower? Where do you find meals? How do you get places?

    If you can even accomplish those things, where do you find the energy to participate in anything that doesn’t involve yourself and your needs?

    Most homeless people I’ve interacted with through our dinners for the homeless are understandably caught up in their own problems. The younger ones live on their phones (usually nicer than mine), and they all have some sort of a story about why they can’t do this that or the other thing.

    (Not to mention it’s expensive to live here and our occupation number is 99%–there’s nowhere to live).

    For example, why would you come to my county in the months following devastating fires when 5200 homes burned down?

    I asked people that when I met them in late 2017, early 2018. They all either had a relative here (why wouldn’t your sister take you in, then?), or “I heard it was nice here.”

    They weren’t living in reality.

    We DO have a homeless man who participates in church activities when other people aren’t around–in part because some “good” church members are nervous when they see him.

    So, we pay him to cut the grass, do odd jobs around the church, and he has told my husband how much his life and attitude improve when he’s here.

    In fact, colleagues at his “real” job have commented on how much nicer and easier it is to work with him after he’s spent time at church.

    The sadness is, we couldn’t let him sleep on the church grounds, even though he served as a type of watchman. He had talked with people who want to attack the church facilities, steal from us, and so forth.

    But . . . not allowed. It’s hard to be homeless.

    As a local friend says, “if you can follow the rules, you don’t have to be homeless in our county–there are plenty of support systems.

    “The problem is, few of the chronic homeless want to follow any rules.”

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  12. Two nights ago, vandals broke the expensive doors leading into the church. “Our” friendly homeless person wasn’t around to stop them, this time.

    Someone keeps dumping trash–building material trash like a bathtub–in our parking lot where it isn’t seen from the street. That wasn’t a homeless person, it was someone taking advantage of our church.

    My husband has brought home tires (local tire business took those from us to recycle), and we currently have two large mattresses waiting for bulk pickup (Mr. President commented that we had to call for a bulk pick up anyway to pick up the dishwasher, why not add the mattresses?)

    I suspect we’ll continue to see rising issues like this as the media turns against Christians and churches. 😦

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  13. Well husband has found us something to do…go to the phone store and have them do the updates on our phones…oh fun! Not!
    In our area there are many scammer “homeless”. Vans drop these people at their locations to beg. Many have children and old people with them…and three legged dogs. Our police have asked the public to not give to them. There is a “pregnant” woman standing in many grocery store locations throughout the area begging with a sign saying she needs to feed her children. One lady sat in the parking lot observing her for a couple hours. A man in a brand new SUV drove around the building, collected her money then proceeded to park in the back of the store. And people continued to hand her money…. 😢 (the police were notified but not certain how it all turned out)

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  14. Nancy jill, in Atlanta we’ve had those homeless scammers. I just realized I have not seen any for quite sometime. Hmm . . . I suppose they aren’t shopping/scamming during Senior Covid shopping hours (7 a.m.).

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  15. Janice, and in her case, and the cases of those fleeing war or persecution, the experience of losing everything can place your focus more on God. I would describe it as not so much being the mindset of being homeless, and more the mindset of being nomadic. In West Africa, the Fula tribe is still semi-nomadic, due to their profession as herdsmen, and their village tended to be built from more impermanent materials as a result. Other tribal villages built their homes out of cinder blocks and cortugate, and used old corrugate as fencing. The Fula often still used grass huts, and wove walls out of grass to put around their compound. Thus they could leave their homes, if necessary, and weave another structure somewhere else. Abraham is the pattern of being a stranger and pilgrim for the believer, and he was a nomad. John Bunyan, who wrote ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, was the son of a tinker, who were itinerant pot makers travelling about making and repairing cookware – there has been suggestion that Bunyan was of Roma (Gypsy) descent because most tinkers then were Roma, but that is not known certainly as Bunyan himself simply says he was the lowest born and doesn’t expand on what that meant. As a nomad, nowhere and everywhere is home. The early anonymous Christian writer of the Letter to Diognetus describes Christians as having a perpetual nomadic mindset: “They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if they had been foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.”

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  16. Nomads are always unpopular with those who dwell in permanent structures, and viewed as a threat and an agent of instability. The Roma in Europe and the UK are to this day viewed with suspicion and hostility. They were indeed the lowest on the social structure in England – when my English upper middle class great grandmother wanted to insult her English working class daughter in-law and her offspring, she said they looked as if they had Gypsy blood. The Fula are similarly viewed with suspicion and distrust by the settled tribes in West Africa, with conflict simmering below the surface, only requiring drought or other disaster to bring to the surface (something which is now playing into the repeated violence in northern Nigeria between Fulani herdsmen, who are generally devout Muslim, and the settled tribes, many of whom happen to be generally Christian). Spiritually, Christians are unsettling to those who are settled in sin, and Christ warned that he was an agent of instability. As Christ said of himself, “Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

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  17. Nomads generally are workers though. Whether African herdsmen or South American migrants, they are moving for the opportunity. Hobos were more people who enjoyed traveling (or running away) and might do some odd jobs. Homeless in this country anyway, tend to be as mentioned: mental illness and/or drug or alcohol dependent. Some work but many simply exist.

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  18. Husband and I have, of course, discussed our pipe dream of running off to the mountains and living in a cave but clearly, that is not what God intends for most Christians. We are to be in fellowship with other believers and lights to our neighbors. How that plays out is myriad.

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  19. When’s the surgery date again?

    There’s a standoff that’s developed in LA with about 100 homeless who have camped around a mid-city lake (area known as Echo Park). It’s been a situation that’s lasted for about a year now and city officials are mobilizing this week to place as many as possible in hotel room, though some do not want to go.

    The city is under a number of court orders that allow for sidewalk and other public area “camping,” however, and even when offiered, no one’s obligated, of course, to accept assistance by way of temporary shelter, more permanent housing or rehabilitation.

    Communities and neighborhoods are struggling with issues such as piles of public trash, urination and worse, open drug use and violent crime. Many who refuse help seem to fall more into the vagrant category; those who are more newly homeless due to job losses or life changes are typically eager to accept offered help to get back into some kind of housing.

    Young homeless advocates have taken up the cause of protecting those who choose to remain outdoors and living in tents, launching “twitter storms” and showing up physically to create blockades whenever authorities attempt to clear a burgeoning encampment that’s creating problems.

    And so the standoff continues.

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  20. That above-mentioned encampment is one of hundreds across the city, of course. Locally we have a couple areas, each several blocks long, that now are pretty much impassable due to the tents and piles of belongings.

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  21. The city church has a large porch that during the lockdowns, became an encampment for the city’s rather sizeable homeless population. The city church has chosen to see it as the Lord’s leading towards caring for the homeless, and is both partnering with preexisting outreaches, as well as developing its own to try to respond to the problem. Previous work had been done, and there was a homeless person who was baptized while I was there; but no large scale attempts by that particular church to wrestle with the city’s ongoing challenges.

    I remember when I first went there, around the time I started commenting on World, there was a small scale outreach to the homeless going on, mostly by those in the church who were on the fringes financially and socially. A few of the wealthier and well connected opposed the outreach on the grounds that it was bringing the “wrong sort of people” into the church. Not all of the wealthier people had that attitude, nor even most, but the few who did made it their business to make those doing the outreach feel unwelcome. It didn’t have a great ending, sadly, as those doing the outreach didn’t have the best training or qualifications and couldn’t sustain their efforts, while some of those who opposed it ended up going somewhere else. Hopefully, the new ministries will have firmer grounding. I am all for ministry to the homeless, but those who undertake must not expect gratitude or a return on their investment, but be prepared to spend themselves for nothing in return. Even those homeless who do respond to the gospel will have ongoing issues related to drug dependency and mental illness and their growth will not be even.

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  22. The camping of the homeless on the porch reminded me of the beggars at the Temple gates, and of the foregates of medieval cathedrals and abbey’s, where beggars gathered to receive alms from the congregants and medical care from the monks or nuns.

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  23. Roscuro, so true about the ongoing issues most struggle with. it’s a ministry that has to be seen as a long-haul effort that will produce some good outcomes, but maybe not many.

    The homeless are often frequently exposed to the faith through Christian ministries that bring food (not always helpful, according to workers in the street who say they have far to much food being brought in, most of it is just trashed) and other supplies. Hosting the homeless on church grounds is complicated often by property insurance restrictions but also by the fact that churches usually have residential neighbors and considering them also must come into play under loving one’s neighbors.

    I don’t doubt that there are true conversions that occur; but I’d also say that many of the homeless are well versed in “Christianese” and will speak to those they perceive to be believers with much fluency and flattery. It can be a barrier they use to somehow cut to the chase for a financial or other type of handout.

    So it’s a ministry that takes being tough. The man who ran our local Christian homeless shelter — which has been around for 100 years now, vagrancy and homelessness certainly aren’t new, especially in port areas — was a former LAPD cop who worked on Skid Row in downtown. He was gentle and had such a heart for these folks, but he also knew the ‘game’ many will play. He retired recently, I think he worked there until he was nearly 80, and would often be seen just hanging out with the folks in the encampment behind the mission shelter. He got to know most of them well.

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  24. Social workers who are also familiar with the homeless will tell you that it takes many efforts before most will accept offers of shelter, more permanent housing and other helps for addictions or mental illness. It can’t be forced, so workers often spend long months, sometimes a year or more, making frequent contact with those on the street, getting to know them and trying to build a relationship that they hope will someday yield to a better outcome. The one worker who knows most of our homeless used to be an LA County Sheriff’s deputy so, like our mission worker mentioned above, she knows the ins and outs, all the excuses — yet is persistent in her efforts to build relationships in an effort to cut through the defenses.

    She and others follow up relentlessly — I remember being out on a story with the above social worker once and a woman she’d been working with for a year or more finally said “OK” to a mental health appointment. The social worker was elated, as we walked away, saying she’d tried for months to get to this point. Whether the woman would keep the appointment or not was no guarantee, however.

    Providing handouts is fine, but not particularly helpful, especially in our area where, as I said, food and other donations are in such abundance that it mostly adds to the trash component. Folks will drive through these areas to hand out food and other goods, especially around holiday seasons, but regular street social and mission workers will tell you it’s just not providing the help that’s really needed. And that will always rely on a two-way street, the help being offered but also the acceptance of that help by the party in need.

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  25. The Christian man who ran the mission for so many years told me one of his ongoing frustrations was that many weren’t ready for genuine help — or even would accept the chance for shelter unless it came with no ‘rules’ (many of our current shelters funded by the government are of the so-called “low barrier” model which relies on getting people inside, no strings, where the hope is that workers will break through to move them forward). Another female couple I interviewed on the streets told me they’d been in one of those shelters, but didn’t like whatever restrictions there were so they just left — and were back living on a filthy sidewalk in their tent with their dog. It’s sad and there’s no easy solution.

    The former LAPD mission director (whose shelter does lay down requirements such as no drugs, drinking, etc.) said it’s a ministry that’s fraught with spiritual battles that aren’t easy and more often than not appear to be on a losing end. But there also are those who make it out, become reunited with family members and are able to work and rejoin society.

    I’m not sure providing more legal status by way of allowing massive public encampments that focus on “rights” to maintain that kind of social structure is very helpful; but it’s hard to know what the answer is to this situation that has become so persistent in many of our cities.

    Again, the root of the problem is spiritual, no doubt.

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  26. It is so hard to know what to do. In the Pensacola area some land was purchased and turned into a “camp” for the homeless. People donate to help them. I’m sure they don’t want to word to get out.

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  27. Pallet housing (75 units) is going up near one of our local community colleges, these are tiny prefab units with fold down hard-cots (outfitted with a mattress) that are built for 2 (supposedly). They do have AC and heat, but showers, toilets and dining areas are all in group structures on the site. The doors to the units lock and so that provides some privacy.

    They’re also easy to assemble and are far cheaper that the solutions the city was pursuing — not only is land expensive in LA but the city is over-regulated so building anything takes forever.

    These units are designed to be temporary, but provide (it is believed) a much better solution that tents — although some folks will still want to be independent and do their own thing, being able to up and move whenever and wherever they want.

    One of the advantages is that social and case workers can easily find their clients. With the encampments, people are mobile and often times are too hard to keep track of for followups.

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  28. Wouldn’t there be a nouveau homeless category for those who have lost their work and homes because of Covid, ones who do not fall into the category of the typical addicted/mentally off that homelessness has been associated with in the past? Maybe someone wrote about it, and I did not see that because my eyes get tired and I skim at times.

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  29. It is challenging for healthcare to treat them too. So many of the show up at the ER, but never attend the nursing appointments set up for them, or only attend a few before dropping off the radar. Since they have serious infections or injuries we are trying to treat, it is really concerning when they stop showing up. There is beginning to be a specialty in nursing called Street nursing that focuses specifically on reaching the homeless in a way similar to how the social workers do it, but it is still a small group.

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  30. I am trying to be wise and cook early today before the storms and possible power outages. The house smells like onions and my eyes are watering from the combo of pollen and onion. I am making bean lomein (garbanzo beans easily take on the flavor of what they are cooked with).

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  31. I can’t understand why the “smart” politicians don’t see it.
    If I were in a foreign country, I would want to come to the USA. If not for myself, then to raise my kids here. Free school and opportunity for anyone who will try.

    There may be other nations, maybe Canada, Australia, etc. where a diligent, hard working person can advance his life for himself and/or his children.
    But the first thing you think of when you mention Freedom and opportunity is USA.
    I am just thankful that I was born here.
    It was a rough road part of the way. Got smooth later.. But I am thankful for the opportunity.

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  32. They’ve done “triage” outreaches in our area where several groups, the VA, Dept of Mental Health, nursing associations, all come together and spend a day at an encampment. But as Roscuro points out, the key always then is followup.

    One of the focuses here is to grab the newly homeless and get them housing as quickly as possible. Not only are they the most eager to get help, but the loner folks are stuck living on the streets, the more they fall into that chronic homeless category and then providing help is much harder.

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  33. Today’s newspaper had a good article on our Senate Chaplain and how he found the Truth. A wake up call to him to stop seeking peace in himself but in God. A reminder to pray for our Senate chaplains as well as those in the military. There are quite a few who love God and are serving Him in difficult places. They would appreciate a little extra prayer support.

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  34. Good foggy morning from PNG. Last day of spiritual emphasis week, so I shall be off to the school soon.
    got to email back and forth with my former sister in law in Texas last night, sweet. She wants to bless me again.

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  35. It’s 4 p.m. here and the winds are kicking up once again.

    I’m stuck waiting for the county’s daily release on Covid numbers, I’ve written as much of the story as possible, attached a newsom pic from his appearance today in OC, but now I am waiting … I hate that they send these things out so late. The gov today announced the expansion of age groups for vaccines, down to 50 beginning in April.

    But in LAC, we don’t really have as many doses as are needed, the sites are only treating about half the numbers they could be if they had more doses available.

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  36. Ah, there goes “Reveille” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” The fun of living in what’s still a town with plenty of military housing. And Taps at 9 p.m. every night.

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  37. Story is finally in, mail picked up and fish fed next door, now it’s trash time, tomorrow is the weekly pickup.

    We’ll see if I get a clean sweep of getting out of jury duty when I call in about 30 minutes to see if I need to come in tomorrow (which is my last day). I forgot to call in last night and remembered when I got up at 2:30 a.m. to let the dogs out. So I called in then and was relieved that, again, I didn’t have to report on Thursday.

    On Saturday I’m going to head over to the furniture store to “try out” the mattress I’ll be buying. They’re backed up on those orders so it’ll take 6-8 weeks, but that’s OK, I’ll really appreciate it when I get it.

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  38. Taps just sounded off, done with the dog walk, heat and ice now fir the knee and no jury duty so my service is complete — without ever having to show up.

    I never heard of Mary Janes candy — and you’re right, dentists probably do like all of those sticky sweet things

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  39. Janice, I was kept awake by a storm a week or so ago, so I know what you mean, tho your home is much sturdier than mine here.
    Praying that the storm will gently rock you to sleep.

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