For those of you not usually into reading my Sunday Thought, I encourage you to do so today because this one is about an article I read that . . . wow, I can’t even explain how whacked it is. Yes, I said whacked.
I normally use the Word of God for the Sunday Thought but today I am going to at least begin somewhere else. Who knows where it will lead. There will probably be some verses by the end but let’s start off with a bit about the article I read.
Fort Lauderdale, FL. What do you think of when you see those words? Beaches? Yeah. Homeless people? No. People getting arrested for feeding homeless people? No.
Unfortunately those answers are actually all ‘Yeah’.
This past week two pastors and a 90 year old man were arrested for feeding the homeless. Later in the week three more people, including a 17 year old were arrested. The last three might have been partially a protest action but they were still feeding the homeless.
I’ll be fair and give the cities’ response to all of the uproar going on.
“Contrary to reports, the city of Fort Lauderdale is not banning groups from feeding the homeless. We have established an outdoor food distribution ordinance to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community. The ordinance does not prohibit feeding the homeless; it regulates the activity in order to ensure it is carried out in an appropriate, organized, clean and healthy manner.
While the ordinance regulates outdoor food distribution, it permits indoor food distribution to take place at houses of worship throughout the city. By allowing houses of worship to conduct this activity, the city is actually increasing the number of locations where the homeless can properly receive this service.”
So why am I writing about this? It would seem that from the cities response they have reasonable reasons. I admittedly thought of safety for the homeless if people tried to do things to the food they gave. The 90 year old man had been feeding them for 20 years.
Another thing is, most houses of worship would be open to feeding the homeless already and have a program in place if they wanted to have one. What has really happened is the decrease of locations by LIMITING them. I know my own church used to be the location for a program that fed the hungry and did other things and we also had our own food pantry where the hungry could come and get food. But we now donate to a collective location for people to go to. It does make it more available, perhaps, based on hours they are opened. I don’t really know.
Some homeless cannot go to places for help. Some have illnesses. Some have mental conditions that might make it difficult to be around people or large groups of people or approaching strangers. There is a mistrust, a feeling perhaps at times of not wanting it to be known to a lot of people that they are homeless. If I were homeless I would have problems right now with all of my medical problems walking the length of a football field.
How do these people get help? I guess with the new ordinance they don’t. But they will. How can you keep someone from sharing a meal with another person? “Hey, brother, have a sandwich with me.”
After 20 years, I imagine some of those homeless people consider that 90 year old man as a friend. Can you not eat with a friend? Can you not help a friend?
A verse does come to mind. It’s one even those that have never opened a Bible will know.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
What the city is saying is, we love you but only if you come to a place we designate as a place we can show you we love you. Sorry Mayor, we know you are now homeless but we can’t give you this order of fries from McDonald’s because you aren’t at a designated area.
Yeah, I don’t want the homeless to be sick from bad food. Maybe that is why the ordinance was made or maybe it was created to discourage the homeless in their city. “You can’t get food easy here, so move on to another city that will help you easier cause your presence is discouraging the tourist trade.”
Whatever the reason, the results are not right. Those people are still hungry and there are still plenty to be fed. Unless you want to start running buses around your city, you might want to reconsider your idea.
Well, that’s about all this week. So what’s my Sunday Thought today? I think Jesus said it pretty well. “Love your neighbor as yourself.“
Much Respect, Praying for You All
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