Pastor Steve’s Full Blog Posts
I know this because people tell me that I am, so I must be. I do use up whatever energy I have doing a lot of stuff, that’s for sure (but I still have time for a number of movies).
I spend my days with the homeless, mostly.
I get food with the homeless and for the homeless and local poor families. A ton of food a week for four hundred people.
I work to make work for those who don’t have work. Sometimes I am able to pay them.
I make peace amidst violence.
I encourage Jesus’ followers to serve those who need service.
I make disciples and preach sermons and lead worship.
I only do this because I firmly believe that it is what Jesus did
and if he were here he’d be doing something like what I do
(if not exactly these actions).
Jesus, if here in our “first world” would be hanging around the third world that exists within it.
If Jesus were here, he’d be healing those who can’t get healed.
He’d provide justice for those who have no recourse for justice.
He’d feed the hungry, comfort the outcast, make disciples.
He did all that, so I’d expect him to do the same.
* * *
This doesn’t mean I’m always like Jesus, God knows.
I have days when instead of making peace I make enemies.
Instead of making disciples I make haters of God.
Instead of helping the needy I push them away.
I hate days like that. Moments like that.
But I remember that my goal isn’t balance.
It isn’t happiness or personal fulfillment.
My only goal is following Jesus.
Diver was cycling through downtown Gresham, near the Safeway when he noticed a crouching body between the two transformers. As he came closer, he saw it was Emily, and no wonder she was shivering. She was wearing a tank top and kapri pants, no shoes or socks, and it was just beginning to snow.
“What do you think you’re doing, out here in the cold?” Diver exclaimed.
“It’s not my fault,” she said through chattering teeth, “Bob threw me out. I couldn’t even get my clothes.”
Diver nodded. Emily and Bob had been having problems. Or maybe Bob is Emily’s problem.
“Just wait here. I’ll see what I can do.” Diver rides across the street to an apartment building, through the parking lot to the dumpster. He opens it up, and there it is! Just what he was looking for, in a plastic bag.
He rides across the street and hands the bag over to Emily. Quickly, she grabs the coat and gloves and throws them on. She wonders, “Did you have these stashed?”
“No,” Diver said. “But I knew if I looked around enough, I’d find just what you need.”
When you are in need, look for the person with nothing.
Those who live on trust and compassion will always find what is needed.
The Anawim community house was in dire need. There was not enough food to feed the thirteen people in the house, and very little even for the children in the house. I didn’t know what to do, but to pray. I’d learned from George Mueller that when the circumstances were dire, God will step in. So I let my needs go before God and asked him for money or food so no one would go hungry. No one had ever gone hungry in our house and I wouldn’t let it happen this time. But there was nothing I could do but pray.
Diver stepped in, “I’m going on a ride!”
“Okay,” I said. I wasn’t going to burden him with my concerns. It’s in God’s hands now.
Diver goes out on his bike and trailer, thinking about looking in some dumpsters, but not really being in the mood. He starts to ride south and something niggles at him and he turns around and begins to ride north.
After about a mile and a half of riding, he passed by the local Fred Meyers. Not really thinking of anything, he decided to glance in their dumpster. Before he had found some nice flowers they had thrown away.
As he glanced over the rim, it wasn’t flowers he saw. Something much nicer…
About an hour later, I was cleaning up and Diver comes strolling in. “How much room do we have in the freezers?” he asks.
“Plenty. We don’t have much food in the house.”
“Well, we do now. I just filled my trailer full of frozen food.”
In came seafood, chicken patties, and corndogs, all into the freezer. I immediately thanked God and Diver because it’s good to show gratitude. It’s a healthy practice.
“Seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
- Cities enforcing camping laws on people who do not have homes.
- A person refusing to hire someone because, although qualified, they don’t have an address.
- Services not being available to people because they don’t have ID or the means to obtain ID.
- Looking down at obese poor people who became obese because they bought what food they could afford
- Seeing wealth as a matter of wisdom rather than a combination of luck and hording resources
- Telling a beggar to “get a job”
- A doctor telling a person that to be healthy they need a prescription they cannot afford.
- Church members looking askance at a visitor who is not dressed well or who smells.
- Laws reducing welfare because the poor “abuse” the system
Classism, like racism or sexism, has three different levels:
1. The distrust, anger against or hatred of another person simply because they belong to a different class than one’s own.
2. Making assumptions about another person based on a stereotype of their class.
3. Societal structures which make it difficult for a person of lower classes to obtain the status of “normalcy” in society.
Because of the three different levels of classism, it is difficult for people to communicate to one another when they are speaking of different kinds of classism. There is a kind of classism that speaks evil of all wealthy people (definition 1 or 2), but wealthy people are not affected by the societal structures, because they have enough power to overcome them. Some wealthy, like Donald Trump, suffer under societal infamy (whether deserved or not), but Mr. Trump is not struggling to obtain the everyday benefits of American society.
Classism is still at the starting gate to be battled against. The poor and homeless are still represented in the mass media as pathetic, not real people. Politicians and pundits are allowed to call the poor “lazy” without mass outrage. The assumption that it is easy to get a job or assistance is rampant among the population. There are many more blocks to raising one’s class than ladders to overcoming blocks. And classism is often ignored in discussions that speak about racism and sexism.
The first steps to overcoming classism are simple and can be done by most people with access to cyber social media:
1. Don’t let anyone make stereotyped statements about the poor without being corrected, whether personally or publicly.
2. We need to battle our own prejudices against the poor by finding out more about them. Two good places to begin is with Barbara Ehrenreich’s journalistic expose’, Nickel and Dimed, http://www.amazon.com/Nickel-Dimed-Not-Getting-America/dp/0312626681
or Anawim’s site about homelessness: http://hogansheroesfanclub.com/articles/dehumanization-articles/
3. We need to pursue relationship with the poor. We can meet with and ask questions about the life of people we know who are struggling. Or we can go to a local shelter and ask the homeless how they became homeless and what they do. Only if the poorer classes and the middle classes communicate can prejudice be overcome.
4. We need to actively oppose any legislation that openly harms the poor, or that makes assumptions about the poor that are untrue. It is not enough to shake our heads in shame, we can email our Congress Persons, Senators and President and speak to them about the classism in legislation.
There are many others I love and exemplify:
Francis of Assisi
Martin Luther King, Jr.
but I only love these because they love Jesus.
These are the experts in following Jesus, without Jesus they are nothing.
I follow their example of following.
The power of deliverance is not physical
for we are not delivered from that which binds us.
The power of deliverance is not ethereal
for ghosts are only whisperers, not chain-breakers.
The power of deliverance is not political
for deception cannot build what is true.
The power of deliverance is not religious,
priests are for comfort, not revolution.
The power of deliverance is unseen, raw and angry
more solid than solid
imperious to fear or bribes or weapons.
And He is triggered by the whispered cries of a child.