Thursday, September 10, 2015


A recent story about me in the Oregonian:

As usual, people like to highlight the conflict between the neighbors and us.  Of course, they didn't ask the neighborhood associations about us.  Only people who heard stories of what we do, and don't like it.

No one wants criminals in their area.  But the neighbors complaints are all based on fear, not on what actually happens.

First of all, crime is lower in our area, than in other neighborhoods in our area.  If we draw criminals, then they aren't doing criminal activity in our area.

Second, the neighborhood associations have investigated us, and found that almost all the complaints against us are coming from a few people, who have made up a bunch of stories.  Like when one person said that we had a bunch of people staying over on the house on our property, and not, in reality, another church having a regular prayer meeting in the middle of the night.  Or like the story that we were running a brothel here.  Not possible. We have one of our pastors living on the property, keeping the place secure.

As far as trash in the park, yes, the homeless leave trash.  And the homeless clean it up.

The fact is, there is a class of people-- not because of any criminal activity, but because they belong to a certain class-- that are not accepted anywhere.  And if anyone accepts them and says, "Come, you are human beings.  We will support you and help you live," then you will be rejected by society.

It is not "enabling" to provide a place to sleep and shower and a place where you can cook your own meal, when you have no other place to do this.  It is not "enabling" to train the homeless to care for each other and to make sure nothing happens to the neighborhood in which they are welcome.

I will be called an "enabler" because I don't want the homeless to die.  I accept that.  If that's some people's idea of an "enabler", I will wear the badge proudly.

It is the church's job to take in criminals and to show them a new way. Jesus ate with "the sinners" providing them an opportunity to live a new way.

TC came into our facility a few weeks ago, just out of years in prison.  He was yelling and boasting about how violent he was.  But after a week coming to our facility, he realized that his "jail mentality" doesn't help him in this context.  Now, of his own free will, he is calm and cleaning up the facility.  Simply out of gratitude for what we have given him.

The only things we enable are change, peace and life. 

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