Wishing You a Fat Beggar’s Merry Christmas

Do you remember that Shane Clainborne-ish video that came out a few years ago for Christmas that asked you to rethink American style Christmas giving?

Well, I found it again.  And I think it does a fine job of turning the When Helping Hurts book/philosophy inside out and backward.  If giving to the poor is harming them, why not ask about giving to the rich?  Does that harm anyone?

No.  The video does not address When Helping Hurts, at least not by name per se.  But if you put the two side by side and critique them, you will see what I am talking about.

In the end, I suggest that if there is any harm to be had from giving, then it is more harmful to give to the wealthy than to the poor.  But of course, let me be clear, I never had a problem with giving before I read When Helping Hurts.  I have been reading Jesus all my life, and until that book came along, all my ministry friends just assumed that when Jesus said, “Give to all who ask…” (Luke 6:30), he meant it.

Merry Christmas

Enjoy this video.  It’s an oldie, but a goodie!

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3 comments

  1. Ryan · December 24, 2015

    I’m afraid that for many of us the teachings and ways of Jesus are so radical that what He said and what He did gets filtered out of our everyday lives. . . and so we brush aside things like, “Give to all who ask…” as if He didn’t really mean it. With this way of thinking, we can play the “get out of hell free” card, and simultaneously ignore this Jesus stranger who calls us to take up the cross and follow His example.

    Hadn’t seen that video before, thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. Eileen · December 26

    Hi, Agent X. This fall I started trying to find information on how many and where the homeless in our small community are and what is being done for them. I discovered that several churches are offering free meals one day a week and mostly they are not doubling up. However, it is hard to get the word out to the homeless since the main part of our town is some distance from the interstate. Also, transportation is a problem. The other thing I discovered is that there are several shabby motels that the almost homeless are living in. One grandmother with five grandchildren was living in one room. Several organizations have been taking food there and offering transportation to medical appointments. Another church gives away coats, hats, scarves, socks and shoes in October, but did not have many takers because of not enough advertising and transportation. I talked to a couple of churches about possibly going together and getting a very simple food trailer that could keep soups and chile, etc. hot so we could take hot food and coffee to the homeless in the cold months and water and sandwiches and fruit in the warm times. I realized that I was in over my head once I started researching those. It would seem to work best if each church just cooked for one day at their church and then they or another church could deliver it around town and at the interstate exits. But health department licensing and insurance both for drivers and for those fixing food are challenges. Our weather is generally not so severe that we would need AC or Heat and if we kept the food simple, since warming equipment and simple refrigeration hopefully wouldn’t cost much, Do you have any experience along these lines or possibly have any followers who do? We also have a woman who started a foundation with money she received when her husband was killed on the job at an industry because of their neglect. She has been trying to buy an old hospital that was renovated and used as a rehab center for several years. She wants to house homeless families, give drug tests, and require job training and eventually job placement and their own housing. Codes and businesses in the area have thwarted her so far, but she has hired a lawyer and is persevering in finding somewhere for this.
    Any information from others doing these sorts of things would help. So far, the homeless groups that were camping near the interstate are moving around. We think they are being encouraged to do this by the authorities. So, not sure about keeping track of them to take food to them. Any suggestions, connections, sources of information you can share would be greatly appreciated. Eileen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · December 26

      Eileen,

      Thanx so much for visiting and responding! Thanx for asking such important questions! Thanx for taking this stuff seriously!

      I have no doubt you are in over your head. The moment you decided to care, really care, you already were in deep over your heard! This is something you find out as you go, and it is so disheartening that people often get back out quickly, or even more than that, don’t bother to begin with. So, THANX!!!

      I will offer thoughts here that will not be complete answers, but they go in two distinct directions and hopefully will help.

      First off, the logistics…

      To begin with, this is where the task gets soooooo daunting. And as soon as you finally get all the ducks in a row, you will find that the homeless themselves will not respond for whatever reasons… Please don’t get spiteful, even if you get angry. This is normal, and plenty of folk will discourage you for enduring it.

      I am not a logistics guy. I will point you to at least one person I think can give you some real insight, but this person will not speak FOR me. I am not cut from that cloth, nor do I see it as the better angle to work, but MOST folk in the field do, so I am in the minority on this.

      I suggest you get on Miss Amy’s blog (I am sure she has facebook too, but I don’t use fb, so I cannot direct you there). But Miss Amy has my sincere respect, and I figure you will find a wealth of wisdom with her. You can find her blog here:

      https://themiraclesisee.wordpress.com/

      Tell her I sent you. The respect is mutual! She will be glad to share, I am sure. If she does not, or if you want more, let me know, I can put you in touch with others.

      Now… one more input on that front…

      I am not a practitioner of HOUSING FIRST, nor am I uncritical of the method, but I find it somewhat of a “close second” and it seems to offer surprisingly important results. HOUSING FIRST seems to have started in Utah, as best I can tell, and you can google it and find a lot more on it. But basically, the state of Utah got to adding up the amount of cost to the public for having humans wasting away in addiction, illness and whatnot. They measured the cost in hospital bills, court costs, jail housing and all that. A common cold for a person on the streets gets treated in the ER, and often leads to hospitalization, public intoxication leads to two weeks in jail, plus court costs etc… It only takes about one or two days of either of those costs to exceed the cost of having the government just put these people up in an apartment.

      Housing First was initially, and largely still is, concerned with SAVING MONEY, which it does! The extraordinary finding in this though is that even when they started housing the worst of the worst, the total junkies and winos who were costing the system the most, suddenly a LOT (not all, but a LOT) of these people showed signs of tremendous life changes. Their lives began taking root when they found themselves HOUSED. Suddenly it was not just a cost saving measure, but a life giving measure! And this is, and has been, deeply counter-intuitive since stuff like JOB TRAINing and Addiction Management has for soooooo long been viewed as necessary prerequisite to HELPING the homeless.

      So, I strongly urge you to research “HOUSING FIRST”. That is the term they use for it.

      Now… to the thing I AM ALL ABOUT.

      I am a Christian minister. At one level it appears that I am into homeless ministry, which is true, but not really the core of it. I actually am a community minister who sees God among the poor and homeless and as long as they are not in church, I see the community as lacking God in church.

      This looks all theological, which it is, but that suddenly sounds impractical, which it’s not. We live in God’s creation, theology is practical in HIS world.

      I recognize that there are logistics involved, some of which deal with mental illness, war related PTSD, and so forth. Some tramps, that is what they call themselves (at least the older ones) will not accept your invitation even if you put a cherry on top. There are ways to mitigate this, and that should be done to the extent we can. We had a guy freeze to death in a blizzard here in Lubbock last winter even after he refused the cops urging him to take shelter AND they would give him a ride there! However, having worked in a psych ward, I recognize that was cause to do an emergency detention, and sometimes cops don’t recognize that. Anyway, the poor man froze to death in a miserable way, even though it was his choice, he should not have been allowed it.

      I tell that story to demonstrate the complications get to that level. I have ideas about addressing such things, but at root, I think it is important for CHURCHES especially, and individual Christian homes in general to seek out hosting these people and incorporating them into the family at that brother sister level. I am not stupid. I know that does not happen over night or just for the asking, but I insist it can be done and if we really want to be the hands and feet of JESUS we MUST start figuring that out.

      NO human being should be homeless. Our culture is sick. The CHURCH holds the cure, but the church cannot afford to think we can just go with the flow of the culture ANYMORE in order to begin the process of healing.

      Just consider the agriculture of American life even 150 years ago. No. I don’t idolize either that time or place, but it certainly was a lot closer to God and to providing a sense of HOME and FAMILY than this consumer-driven, divorce-ridden culture we currently have!

      Anyway, that is pretty much my two bits. And I maximize on the second one far more than the first. However, I don’t really expect you to see these things the way I do, and besides, the HOUSING FIRST is making a difference, if not THE difference. Even a difference is worth noting!

      I hope this helps. I look forward to further contact if I can be of assistance. And again, I THANK YOU for caring and asking!!!

      X

      Like

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