Pastor Steve’s Full Blog Posts
My family had a discussion the other day on this topic: What would your perfect utopia include?
Below is what we came up with. It is also our short list of what the kingdom of God would look like, at least in part.
Everyone has access to healthy food, clean water, toilets, shelter from weather, sleep without harassment, life-saving health care.
Every person has value and no innocent person is killed.
Everyone works with their strength and talents, at times for the sake of others, at times for personal development
Everyone is judge by actions, not by appearances, and there is tolerance for different opinions
Train our children to be cooperative and compassionate instead of ambitious and egotistical.
Volunteer listening centers for people who want to listen to people who need to talk
Everyone is trained to deal nonviolently and appropriately with conflict
What would your utopia look like? What do you expect God to make the world like in the final state?
Please reply with your answers, but try not to go over a hundred words (that was another one of our limitations. We were close)
Many dogs save the lives of the homeless.
A dog can protect their human.
A dog can be a loving irritant to help their human’s character grow.
A dog can keep their human warm on a winter night.
A dog can give their human family to love.
A dog can provide their human with someone to be responsible for and to take care of.
A dog can give friendship and love.
A dog is family.
A dog can be a reason to quit drugs or alcohol.
A dog can be a reason to control one’s anger.
A dog can be a focus to develop love and compassion.
Support the homeless with pets. It is good for the homeless. It is good for the community.
Help us by providing dog food, leashes, medicine and vet care for homeless dogs.
In Portland, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office released recently a report on deaths that occurred among people who have no known address.
This report admits that the numbers they have are limited and that the report is far from inclusive about deaths of the homeless. For instance, it does not include those who lived on the street, but died in a hospital or a shelter. With these limited figures, the Medical Examiner determined that there were 47 deaths on the street last year. The median age of those dead was 49. Seven were women. There were more deaths in the cold months than in the warm, although hypothermia was an indirect cause in only three deaths. Of these 47 deaths, 29 were caused by drugs or alcohol (only three died from alcohol). The greatest drug killer was heroin, who killed almost a third of those who died on the street.
This is a crisis. People dying young, dying on the street, and such a large percentage of the street population. This is, for the most part, preventable.
The recommendations of the report to the county is to obtain housing for people, to build up a health infrastructure, to inform people of services and to get people help to reduce alcohol and drug abuse.
Of course, the other issue is community. The report mentions that many of these deaths were caused by isolation as much as anything else. Housing is very helpful, but if one is isolated in a house, there is still many of the same issues. If we can build communities among the homeless, give them purpose, give them hope, then changes can be made.
That’s one of Anawim’s main goals: to build community and purpose among the homeless.
By Leo Rhodes, Street Roots Vendor, advocate for the homeless
I am the voice you never hear
If I spoke would you listen?
I am the ugly duckling
Visable in your pretty little world
I am the criminal when I try to sleep
I am the nuisance
Trying to keep dry out of the rain
I am the homeless person
Looking for dignity and a safe secure place
Leo Rhodes is a truly amazing man. Most people, when they become homeless, they are so depressed that they can’t do anything but survive. And in homelessness the depression and immobility just deepens.
But not Leo. After years of homelessness in Seattle, he and some friends decided to do something about it. They developed Nickelsville, a homeless community where people could build their own homes and live in security. Leo also became active in the city council in both of his homes, Seattle and Portland. Lately, he and others helped develop the Right to Dream 2 (R2D2) camp in downtown Portland.
To make ends meet, he would sell Street Roots at a local Portland store.
Don’t tell me that the homeless are lazy. That they can’t make a difference. That they are useless. Leo proves that wrong.
Recently, Leo was interviewed for the high school student magazine that my kids go to, Grant High School.
Here is a portion of it:
Every night, Leo Rhodes can go home to a place of his own. He can sleep through the night without waking up in fear. He no longer worries about finding his next meal, hiding things from his boss or racing around to find a place to sleep.
Six months ago, this would not have been possible. Rhodes was homeless and had lived on the streets for 19 years. And like the more than 3.5 million others who wind up on the streets on any given night, Rhodes was in crisis.
“People don’t understand how hard it is and what you have to go through on the streets,” says Rhodes, who is known in the Grant community for perching outside of Whole Foods on Northeast Sandy Boulevard and selling Street Roots newspapers to passersby.
Today, with the help of a Portland City Commissioner, social service agencies and the Street Roots newspaper, Rhodes has managed to get back on his feet. He’s free of the drugs and alcohol that had previously wracked his life. And he wants to make a difference for others.
“Leo is hard to miss because of his involvement in advocacy,” says City Commissioner Nick Fish. “He is very social and personable. He does not hold back.”
If you’d like to read more, check out the Grant Magazine: http://thegrantmag.com/giving-a-voice-to-the-voiceless