My friends and I were discussing the social gospel. I am friends with people who dive whole-heartily into social justice, but the homeless situation isn’t changing. The entitlement attitude is getting more aggressive.
Another friend says poverty is more than a physical lack. There’s poverty in spirit. Because I don’t serve with the homeless, I can’t write on that, but I will say this:
How come, when a Christian questions a ministry like that, people get offended, defensive, and even go so far as to boycott or call another Christian a non-Christian? These are forbidden questions one doesn’t ask unless among close friends in whispers. You risk people being mean to you because you asked. So people like us watch the problem get worse.
Some stories come out that encourage me, like a man looking for work to get out of his homelessness. I want to help that man. Or how people in a church help out a widow. Or how someone turns away from a lesbian lifestyle to live for Christ. Or how someone gets a free bike so he could get to his job.
What if everyone who gave financial help required the person asking for it to put in “community service,” like helping someone else with a physical need or assigning them to work so many hours in some kind of volunteer position?
So many beautiful places, like San Diego and Denver, are becoming a safety hazard and a garbage heap. Pan handlers dot the beach front in San Diego. Downtown Denver, with it’s beautiful architecture, has hundreds of homeless. The bathrooms in Balboa Park are filled with trash, chained shut and unusable. When people talk about banning homeless, it isn’t because they are cold-hearted, but the homeless have caused a situation. The laws and culture protect them. The charity programs and welfare have made the life ideal. Many refuse to leave that lifestyle.
There are needs out in our world, and I can’t help but wonder if we could change the work ethic in our country by allowing people to have this discussion and talk about possible solutions, instead of getting angry, shouting them to silence, and worsening the poverty situation. Of course, I’m not talking about the mentally challenged, and I’m not saying abandon someone entirely at all.
I like what Benjamin Franklin said (emphasis mine):
“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
Share your thoughts and your stories. How can we change the work ethic in America? How can we fight poverty?