Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How Your Group Can Help Anawim!

Help Stop Starvation Sunday:
East County needs another meal on Sundays, or a place to host a meal. Covenant Connection is no longer able to serve at Zarephath Kitchen, and they were the only meal on Sundays two times a month. Covenant Connection is looking for another facility to serve, or if there can be another group that serves at
Zarephath. 503-888-4453

Grow, Grow, Grow:
Anawim has begun a community garden in its Gresham location. If anyone would like to participate in gardening, building a greenhouse, or general upkeep, please call Pastor Jeff 503-593-5379.

Keep a 25 Year Old Program Afloat:
Anawim has had to reduce their meals at Sunnyside Methodist on Fridays due to a lack of volunteers. If your group is willing to volunteer to cook, serve and clean up after a meal (food provided) in SE Portland, please let us know. 503-888-4453

Worship and Service Opportunity:
If your church would like to share your worship and serve a meal to our homeless and mentally ill members, we have opportunities available on Tuesday nights. 503-593-5379
And please remember the needs list!

Transportation Volunteers:
We need a list of people who would be willing to transport people to and from doctor appointments and social services appointments.

No, No... Not The Feet!

Thank God that Gresham and SE Portland has free showers. The community is saved!

Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 19626 NE Glisan, Gresham. (1pm)

Every Sunday and Tuesday at 1821 SE 39th, Portland. (4pm)

At Anawim Christian Community.

"Get A Job!"

Closer Than A Brother

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Proverbs on Poverty

Below are quotes from the book of Proverbs concerning poverty. As true today as they ever were:

Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice.

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

A worker's appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on.

Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored

Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger.

The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, But the stomach of the wicked is in need.

He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.

The poor is hated even by his neighbor, But those who love the rich are many.

Wealth adds many friends, But a poor man is separated from his friend.

All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone.

The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender's slave.

The poor man utters supplications, But the rich man answers roughly.

Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, But it is swept away by injustice.

He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

A poor man who oppresses the lowly Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.

He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered.

Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Or crush the afflicted at the gate;
For the LORD will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them.

He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed

The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern.

Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.
If you say, "See, we did not know this," Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?

All the days of the anawim are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
Better is a dish of vegetables where love is Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die:
Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Living Rights

Every human without exception has the right to:

Eat food daily
Drink clean water daily
Access to a clean place for waste disposal
Cover their bodies appropriately for the weather
Have shelter from dangerous weather
Access to health care to treat life threatening or serious debilitating injury or illness
Associate with other human beings
Freedom from violence (especially from society's protectors)
Access to life saving knowledge (including literacy)

It should be the top priority of all societies-- whether led by governments, NGOs or churches-- to grant every person in every society access to sustainable life.

No government, whether local or national, has the right to prevent organizations from assisting the needy from obtaining these basic rights, no matter who the poor are, no matter what they have done.

The Right To Living

Everyone loves this statement: "We are endowed by our creator certain unalienable human rights: The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Something like that. It's a great statement because it gets down to what we all want. We all want the ability to survive (we don't want anyone killing us for any old reason); we all want freedom to live as we feel we should (we can't always get what we want, but we can try...); and we all want the freedom to go after our own kind of happiness (to get drunk after Rachel turned us down for a date, for example).

But we need to realize that this statement is, or should be, qualified. Not that these rights aren't all cool, or the statement isn't true, but that we all should realize that life is a little bit more important than the pursuit of happiness. And even liberty, when it comes down to that. We are all free when we are dead. But when we are dead, let's say that we can't really appreciate our freedom quite as much. There is no happiness when you are dead, so it's awfully tough to pursue. It's hard to pursue anything. Even Rachel.

So life seems to be the basis for any other right. If we don't have life, we really don't have anything. Really. This means that life should be a right more than any other. Again, not to say that the other issues aren't important, but life is just that little bit more important.

Now you may expect me to start talking about abortion or the death penalty or war because when we talk about life issues those subjects inevitably come up. Instead I want to talk about a subject we don't usually discuss when talking about the right to life-- that is, sustaining life.

Life is complicated, if you are human. Or any kind of mammal, but let's stick to humans. To sustain life you have to eat and drink everyday. And it matters what kind of food and drink you have because if it's poison-- like, for instance, cyanide in your water-- well, you don't live long. Also, if someone is going around beating you up on a regular basis, its tough to keep alive. Just as well, if you are so sick that you die... well, you're dead. And perhaps you are stuck overnight in a snowstorm without shoes. Or a shirt. That would certainly limit your chances of living.

This means that the right to life is not just no one coming in your bedroom to kill you, but it means having the ability to sustain one's life. To keep it going. Staying alive is a tough job and we have to do it every day. Without exception.

And everyone needs this, and, in our charter statement there, everyone deserves this. A human right is what we deserve just by being human. Just by being alive. Because we are human and we are alive, we deserve to live. This means that we deserve to have what is necessary to keep living.

And this is without exception. Sure, a newborn baby deserves to live and we'll pour thousands of dollars to make sure the baby lives. But a thief deserves to live as well. And the irritating neighbor. And the scary meth addict who lives down the street. And the bully who beat up your kid. Now, in your more angry moments you may think that some of these folks don't deserve to live. But in your heart of hearts you know that's not true. You'd feel the pain of the meth addict you know being knifed just as much as your cool neighbor (not the one who irritates you).

And so, if these folks deserve to have life, then they deserve to have their life sustained. Everyone, without exception, deserves to eat and drink everyday. Everyone deserves to have access to health care to keep them alive. Maybe not to see a doctor when they have a cold, but when they have a serious injury or illness, they should have health care. Everyone deserves to be free from violence. Everyone deserves to have shelter, especially when the weather is scary. Everyone.

Societally, we understand this (sometimes). When we throw someone into prison, we don't throw them into a damp hole with no roof and no heat in the winter. We make sure they are fed everyday, have clean water, some health care, shelter, safety from (most) violence, and more. We recognize a prisoner's right to keep living, even if we don't recognize their right for liberty. Even though for society's sake it was determined that some must be locked up, yet these at the bottom of societal ladder are given that which is necessary to keep living. The same with those in locked down mental institutions. They are even protected from themselves, if necessary, in order to sustain the life.

But we don't apply this to everyone. If you are homeless, then you may not have the right to go to the bathroom in a safe environment. If you are on welfare, you may not have the right to feed your kids enough. If you have a minimum wage job, you do not have the right to sustain yourself. If you have an undiagnosed mental illness, you do not have the right to have shelter. If you have a severe social issue (for instance, an excess of testosterone that causes uncontrollable anger at times) then you do not have the right to have a sustainable income. And if you live in certain places in India or Africa you do not have the right to clean drinking water. You do not have the right to immunizations that will keep your children well. You do not have the right to have medication that will keep your AIDS under control.

It isn't that there isn't enough help for you. There's plenty. There is so many resources in the world that humans have access to, sustainable life is something that could be available to everyone. But it isn't because for those who have access to the most resources, the right to life isn't as important as their personal right to pursue happiness.

And, in the end, that is the worst wrong in the world.

Friday, March 4, 2011

John Doe

A poem by Patty, a grandmother who lives in her car with her four cats, a member of Anawim.

Winter is chilling to the bone
to those who live without a home
they travel here they travel there
they pass us by but do we care?
For proud is the man who has nothing left
'cause he sees his misfortune as just another test.

But the chilling cold shivers the spine
so he gathers his warmth from a bottle of wine
Just a drunken bum out on the road
Early in years his face looks old
with only a dollar to his name.
Just a drunken bum- should he be shamed?
What can one buy when the price is high?
Will anyone see him if he should cry?
Tonight the Rain dampens his head
As rumor disclosed another friend dead.
Beaten by those who are never without
"Only a bum" did they shout

As angels of mercy reach down for his soul
He sees himself a man who once had a goal
The pain removed at last he's free
he smiles down upon you and me
forgiving strangers who continue their wrong
at last he is home where he always belonged
huddled in darkness with his bottle of wine
he remembers a man he knew for a time
a man such as he put to the test
sipping slowly he awaits eternal rest
to come each and every night

Just a drunkem bum we see in the dawn's early light
Just a drunken bum begging for more
"Get away you-- stay away from my door--"