a homeless shelter needs to be somewhere and how do we walk our streets: saturday sermon #2

they have to go somewhere, and nobody wants one near them. jails and homeless shelters. which makes you wonder, maybe the answer is to NOT NEED jails or homeless shelters.

hard to be angry at this era — this time frame. after all, it came up with the idea of cotton candy. and what about the smart phone? yet there is this sludge at the bottom of our innovation. this inability to innovate when it comes to those who do not “fit” into society. we have many ways of putting it. they have slipped through the cracks, they are off the grid, they are lost causes, they are hopeless, helpless, and looking for handouts.

and that’s the best! the worst in jail, will steal, they will kill, they will get themselves high. they will drive drunk, they will drive high, they will rape and kidnap. a lot of innovation since the original 10 commandments. but the solution is still death, a cage, or fine. did add community service. what else can we do?

nobody WANTS these people. and IF they are wanted, they are wanted so that they can be changed into something closer to the upstanding citizen. and so — if our jails are overflowing and the homeless are multiplying, what are the questions that should be asked?

the questions should be, how do you make a homeless person? and how do you make a criminal? maybe we should just stop making quite so many.

so instead of protesting that a homeless shelter is going up in your neighborhood, find out why homeless people are being made. what is the thing. did he go to high school? or are 80% of homeless men high school drop outs? that’s something we can find out. there has to be a pattern somewhere. more men than women are homeless. why?

and why is there a preference to be homeless? the chronically homeless. i can attest that there seems to be no pattern of race or physical distinction. all types from irish to german to african and south african to asian to indian. not seeing a pattern there. while for jails have long held a higher percentage of minorities, african americans and latinos. so how did they get there?

certainly, dropping out of high school and school are factors. but often, it could be the thing that caused the drop out–like dad lost his job, or violence in the household has erupted. perhaps the children have too many differences with their parents. perhaps they don’t even live with parents, and are being taken care of by a foster family.

the fact is, we have systems in place to handle various social problems. what percentage of criminals or homeless are coming from other systems? how have those systems failed?

human beings are a product of their environment. they are not born criminals, and not born homeless. but a very large percentage of criminals and homeless are from the lower class. a large percentage started out in poverty, and went down from there. so the issue becomes a class level. and the wish to not have a homeless shelter nearby, is the wish to keep the lower class outside the castle walls….

and i get that. there’s a practicality involved. nobody is going to invite a homeless shelter into their community, because it brings visions of pests. human-sized pests on the streets, constantly SEEN. these creatures off the grid, that for whatever reason, do not become a part of society and mock it somehow. they are a reminder we are not perfect. they tell us something. but it’s in a different language, and there is no understanding. rejects.

criminals and homeless … they are rejects. jails and homeless shelters … how we store our rejects.

and so it comes down to the question of perfection. the idea of fitting a mold, or conforming to norms. the behavior that establishes a predictability, and in that a way for many humans to live closely to one another with less trouble. the fact is, that urbanization and crowding has caused changes that eventually lead to increases in homeless and criminals. there isn’t a steep learning curve for milking a cow on the family farm.

as a woman, i can enter a church for the first time and not hardly cause a stir. i’m lucky if i’m noticed. but a man will always be approached, and sized up by the other males. we need to look at this, because from what i can tell, the number of chronically homeless males has to do with MEN who have kicked these ones out of their social groups. or never let them in. kicked like dogs, the homeless men have established their own social group. and at a level that is not just poverty, but a perceived poverty of spirit.

you can hang out with the homeless, talk with them regularly. listen to the stories, or even tell a few of your own. but you can’t ‘trust’ the homeless, eventually they will ask for money. if you lost your wallet, the homeless person is not going to return it. and we are down to what is the meaning of desperation? how is it created? the reason they bypass norms and even laws — is for survival. that needs to be looked-at.

and the process of setting certain groups of humans apart from others, also needs to be looked at. we assume that it is necessary. some will always break the laws. some will always fall into abject poverty. but what if there was a way to NOT have that? every single one, was a child once. every one. they didn’t decide they wanted to live in jails or homeless shelters. it happened to them. filtered to the bottom, and seen as a cross to bear. a point of shaming those in better positions. that’s where they function. “look at me, you don’t want to be like me.” and it inspires the lower and the middle class to try harder.

no, i don’t have any solutions. and no, there is nothing i can say against those who don’t want a homeless shelter or a jail in their neighborhood. though a jail is less objectionable, since the inmates are not seen walking about. a homeless shelter in a place like northern utah, is so that men and women won’t freeze to death in the winter. nobody wants one in their neighborhood. they need to be somewhere.

no, i don’t have an answer. only that it seems kind of wrong to object to housing those on the street, over the possibility that it will cause you to lose money. or cause a bad change to the neighborhood that everyone will regret. there’s something wrong about it, though we know how politics work. maybe the owner of the dancing crane went to one too many rallies for the lgbt at the capital. and then decisions are made to effect that neighborhood, where the store has been awhile. you never know with politics.

i don’t know what we are supposed to do with the rejects. i truly don’t. because maybe we shouldn’t have rejects at all. and isn’t that a thought. they were all kids once. they went to our schools, attended our churches. made sand castles on the beaches. blew out candles on a birthday cake.

there need to be some answers, because they didn’t get there on their own. and there is no such thing as a perfect human. could say some are more perfect than others, but even so. i don’t know the answers. am left puzzled like the rest of middle-class america. we did this to ourselves. i guess the question is how to undo it, and what haven’t we tried?


One Reply to “a homeless shelter needs to be somewhere and how do we walk our streets: saturday sermon #2”

  1. i think the answer is that there is no where to go, there is no shanty town, no other side of the tracks. they were replaced by a walmart. there should be SOME kind of bottom of the barrel housing. not the kind that are shelters, but permanent housing that is available. but we have standards. maybe our standards are too high? maybe slums are necessary. no easy answer

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