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Just Needing to Vent

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  • Just Needing to Vent

    Our Church frequently gets requests for help from people in the community, or those passing through.

    We have a central faith-based "clearing house" downtown (of which I am a board member) where we send people who need more than just limited groceries or gasoline or toiletries, and most of the Churches in the area fund this one center where they provide a wide variety of services, including food, housing, rent assistance, etc.

    Today, a black man (probably in his 60's) came to the Church asking for assistance, preceded with the obligatory "I just lost my sister in Dallas, died of cancer" (always starts with a heart string tug) and need some help... He listed some things he needed ($130 worth), the most pressing of which was a tank of gas to get to Dallas. I told him that we use [the name of the center] for distribution of goods, and recommended he contact them. (I was planning to buy him gas)

    When I mentioned the help center, he kinda went on a rant about the [N-word] that runs that place, and a lot of people in town don't like him, and he got run out of his previous city, and.......on and on....

    I told him, "look, even though you're black, you don't get to sit here spouting the N-word and bringing racism and profanity into this". He doubled down telling me "you just don't know that lying [N-word] and the way he operates...." (That "lying N-word" is one of my best friends, and was "run out" of his previous city by Hurricane Katrina - and a lot of people don't like him because he believes in a work ethic and not just handing out "free stuff" for the sake of handing it out)

    I finally stood up and said, "You know what you just did?" He looked surprised, and said, "no, what did I just do?" I said, "you are the first person in my 45 years of ministry to EVER talk me out of helping after I already decided I was going to buy you a tank of gas". He really looked surprised, and said, "I did that?" I said, "yes sir, you did that" and pointed to the door.

    On the way out the door, he was muttering "I just talked myself out of getting help?" I said, "yes sir, you did, and I'll let [the help center] know you won't be wanting their assistance either".



    Just needed to vent.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds like he was probably just scamming for money and he already tried it with the help center and they caught on and turned him down, so he is going around to various other churches trying the same thing.

      I get some people like that downtown where I work. they always need $10 or $20 for gas or because their car broke down or something like that. And their car is always somewhere else where you can't take a look. And even if you give them money, they don't run off to go get gas, they just approach the next person they see and do it again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        Sounds like he was probably just scamming for money and he already tried it with the help center and they caught on and turned him down, so he is going around to various other churches trying the same thing.
        Which, of course, is why we use a central help center - a lot of these people are just scammers, and they know they're going to have to provide details and comply with some basic requirements at the help center. If somebody tells me "I already went there and they turned me down", it's a huge red flag. Sometimes, though, the help center will call me and ask if they can send somebody over to our Church who "doesn't meet our criteria", but "is probably a worthy cause".

        I get some people like that downtown where I work. they always need $10 or $20 for gas or because their car broke down or something like that. And their car is always somewhere else where you can't take a look. And even if you give them money, they don't run off to go get gas, they just approach the next person they see and do it again.
        Yes, as I've said before, I'd rather err on the side of helping somebody who isn't legit (we can get fooled at times) than NOT help somebody who really needs the help. Bottom line - being good stewards with the Lord's resources.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Sure enough, the senior adult group that meets at our Church includes one of our members who works as a secretary at the Methodist Church. This same guy had scammed them before coming to see me yesterday. They gave him a $40 voucher for gas!
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            Which, of course, is why we use a central help center - a lot of these people are just scammers, and they know they're going to have to provide details and comply with some basic requirements at the help center. If somebody tells me "I already went there and they turned me down", it's a huge red flag. Sometimes, though, the help center will call me and ask if they can send somebody over to our Church who "doesn't meet our criteria", but "is probably a worthy cause".



            Yes, as I've said before, I'd rather err on the side of helping somebody who isn't legit (we can get fooled at times) than NOT help somebody who really needs the help. Bottom line - being good stewards with the Lord's resources.
            If I am in doubt I will watch for a while. If they get someone to give them money and then just ask the next person, I know they are a scammer. Or I might say, "I know something about cars, show me and I will take a look" or offer to take them to a gas station to buy the gas for them.

            I also know some of the regular homeless in the area by sight. So I know they are in need and can offer something once in a while.

            On a humorous note... Yesterday driving home, on the corner there was a guy begging and holding up a sign that said, "Why lie? It's for beer." - he didn't seem to be getting any sympathy or donations though.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              If I am in doubt I will watch for a while. If they get someone to give them money and then just ask the next person, I know they are a scammer. Or I might say, "I know something about cars, show me and I will take a look" or offer to take them to a gas station to buy the gas for them.

              I also know some of the regular homeless in the area by sight. So I know they are in need and can offer something once in a while.

              On a humorous note... Yesterday driving home, on the corner there was a guy begging and holding up a sign that said, "Why lie? It's for beer." - he didn't seem to be getting any sympathy or donations though.
              My favorite one was a guy who used to stand under the 610 overpass in Houston with a sign that said "Bod Bless You for FREE!!!"
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                For awhile I was kind of struggling with the Bible verse about where if you see a brother in need and don't help them, you have no love in their heart, and wondering if that applied every time you saw a panhandler.

                But I considered a few things...

                1) I was driving my wife to work one day and saw a homeless man panhandling. She told me that he comes in to buy hand sanitizer all the time because nobody will sell him alcohol without a license (he's obviously over 21 but I'm okay with enforcing it in a case like that).
                2) There were no social services back then as far as I know. There are plenty of them here.
                3) I think the verse would apply if there was somebody in your church who was legitimately struggling; trying to work to make ends meet, and you just ignored them.
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                  For awhile I was kind of struggling with the Bible verse about where if you see a brother in need and don't help them, you have no love in their heart, and wondering if that applied every time you saw a panhandler.

                  But I considered a few things...

                  1) I was driving my wife to work one day and saw a homeless man panhandling. She told me that he comes in to buy hand sanitizer all the time because nobody will sell him alcohol without a license (he's obviously over 21 but I'm okay with enforcing it in a case like that).
                  2) There were no social services back then as far as I know. There are plenty of them here.
                  3) I think the verse would apply if there was somebody in your church who was legitimately struggling; trying to work to make ends meet, and you just ignored them.
                  Yeah, when you look at the NT verses like "if a man won't work he shouldn't eat" - I think it's pretty clear we're talking about the lazy, not necessarily the down-and-out.

                  I think it's a balance -- just "helping somebody" by giving them free stuff can just be a way of enabling their laziness.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                    Yeah, when you look at the NT verses like "if a man won't work he shouldn't eat" - I think it's pretty clear we're talking about the lazy, not necessarily the down-and-out.

                    I think it's a balance -- just "helping somebody" by giving them free stuff can just be a way of enabling their laziness.
                    or they just want beer.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We don't have many panhandlers in our town, but not too long ago we were in The Big City, waiting to turn left at a busy intersection. There were 2 driving lanes and 2 turning lanes, and we were in the right turning lane. Between the driving and turning lanes there is an island, and "limping" back and forth on the island, probably just a couple of feet from the cars in right turning and left driving lanes, was an older man.

                      He'd posted a cardboard sign on the signpost on the island, but I couldn't read it. I commented to my husband, "that poor man's foot is turned right over on its side! How can he even walk?" It appeared that he was actually walking on his outside ankle.

                      As we got closer, I could see that the only thing turned on its side was his sneaker. His foot inside was straight, and he was walking on the side of the sneaker. It was fairly obvious, so he probably needs a different scam.


                      Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well a while back I saw a gang of homeless men dressed up like firemen and they were begging for money by holding out boots. They had even found a fire engine somewhere and had it parked on the side of the road! For Shame!!!


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Where I live there are groups of professional beggars run by criminal gangs. One old chap I saw many times over a period of several months had a prominent ankle ulcer on display to elicit sympathy. Problem is, he could get that cleaned up and treated for well less than what he would make in an average day.

                          One of the local papers did a in-depth report on street beggars here, and some make enough money to buy houses and support two families. They should be giving money to me...
                          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                            Our Church frequently gets requests for help from people in the community, or those passing through.

                            We have a central faith-based "clearing house" downtown (of which I am a board member) where we send people who need more than just limited groceries or gasoline or toiletries, and most of the Churches in the area fund this one center where they provide a wide variety of services, including food, housing, rent assistance, etc.

                            Today, a black man (probably in his 60's) came to the Church asking for assistance, preceded with the obligatory "I just lost my sister in Dallas, died of cancer" (always starts with a heart string tug) and need some help... He listed some things he needed ($130 worth), the most pressing of which was a tank of gas to get to Dallas. I told him that we use [the name of the center] for distribution of goods, and recommended he contact them. (I was planning to buy him gas)

                            When I mentioned the help center, he kinda went on a rant about the [N-word] that runs that place, and a lot of people in town don't like him, and he got run out of his previous city, and.......on and on....

                            I told him, "look, even though you're black, you don't get to sit here spouting the N-word and bringing racism and profanity into this". He doubled down telling me "you just don't know that lying [N-word] and the way he operates...." (That "lying N-word" is one of my best friends, and was "run out" of his previous city by Hurricane Katrina - and a lot of people don't like him because he believes in a work ethic and not just handing out "free stuff" for the sake of handing it out)

                            I finally stood up and said, "You know what you just did?" He looked surprised, and said, "no, what did I just do?" I said, "you are the first person in my 45 years of ministry to EVER talk me out of helping after I already decided I was going to buy you a tank of gas". He really looked surprised, and said, "I did that?" I said, "yes sir, you did that" and pointed to the door.

                            On the way out the door, he was muttering "I just talked myself out of getting help?" I said, "yes sir, you did, and I'll let [the help center] know you won't be wanting their assistance either".



                            Just needed to vent.
                            So, after Church yesterday, I was at another Church in town for their building dedication. I was unable to stay because I needed to go to Houston to visit my daughter in the hospital, but wanted to stop in to show my support for this African American community. I was talking to the pastor and several other pastors outside in front of the building prior to the dedication service, and this SAME DUDE walked up and asked who the pastor was. Pastor John volunteered that he was, indeed, the pastor of that particular church, and the guy began his schpiel about needing help, blah blah blah....

                            I stood there for a minute weighing the appropriateness of me "butting in" on somebody else's turf, exposing this guy as... well, shut my mouth! Before I could even THINK about what to say, and whether or not to speak, one of the other black pastors tapped the guy on the shoulder and said, "Hey, brother, remember ME?" and another pastor chuckled, and said, "Yeah, we're old friends!" (I have to confess I was eating this up )

                            Long story short, the resident pastor explained to the man "We're about to have a 3 or 4 hour service, and you're welcome to stay, after which we will discuss your latest scam".

                            (I still chuckle when I think about that)
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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