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Old 08-28-2016, 08:24 AM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
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In these threads, we keep hearing from the defenders of the special privileges that churches have when it comes to IRS rules, yet there is something substantial each and every church out there COULD do... open up their doors to the homeless to sleep.

But that doesn't happen, does it? Why? Obviously it is not for lack of space, right? The facilities exist. The benches exist. I bet they could get the blankets donated by parishioners, right?

So, apologists and fundevangleist, why does YOUR church not open the doors to the homeless in your area? Heck, you could even try and "save a few souls" like the Sally Ann does and proselytize, although that may not be a true charitable act.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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When it comes to fundamentalists, they are going to tend to be politically conservative and their first concern would be that they are making themselves into enablers by "condoning" what they assume to be the primary cause of poverty: the deadly sin of sloth. By that logic, they will just end up with old banana peels and urine stains on their pew padding, and helping to prop up welfare queens and other characters that they invent to otherize the impoverished and salve their consciences.

Of course there are a few exceptions to this mindset, but they are uncommon. The only actual exception I ever ran into in my own experience was the pastor of that rarest of rare birds, a fundamentalist inner city church.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:06 AM
 
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I asked the same thing a few years ago but learned the real reason. It doesn't have anything to do with the church unwilling to shelter homeless. It's their zoning laws and regulations set up by the cities in which they live.

A couple years back there was just such a case in Rockford Ill. where a church wanted to help the homeless by offering shelter in their church but the city said no. That seems to be the problem.

However, from personal experience, I have witnessed the callousness of some churches when it comes to helping the less fortunate. Frankly, it's those churches and the people who attend it that give the rest of us Christians a bad name. There are even people who are Christian and don't attend church AND help the homeless by way handing out food and basic necessities. A small group I hang with do that very thing twice a year. Last year we served 100 people. We'd like to serve more but we need more volunteers and items to reach more people. But that's not what you asked.

It's about having adequate fire safety equipment and also isn't zoned to serve the community as a warming center or shelter. Here's the article from the example I mentioned.

City In Illinois Prevents Church From Helping Homeless People
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HereOnMars View Post
I asked the same thing a few years ago but learned the real reason. It doesn't have anything to do with the church unwilling to shelter homeless. It's their zoning laws and regulations set up by the cities in which they live.

A couple years back there was just such a case in Rockford Ill. where a church wanted to help the homeless by offering shelter in their church but the city said no. That seems to be the problem.
Well of course there will be practical and logistical issues to overcome ... I'm just saying there's no real will to try to overcome them for the most part.

Aside from seeing poverty from a perspective of privilege, there is the teaching against the "social gospel" which sees any no-strings charitable activity as a distraction from what the church actually has to offer the world, which is the Gospel of Christ. This becomes a slippery-slope concern.

All that said, you are correct that churches are zoned for an expected purpose -- to house worship services, Sunday School, VBS and related activities. Neighbors who would be comfortable with this might well be uncomfortable with ragged homeless people lined up to go in to flop nightly. I would not characterize the fears of drugs and other illegal or seedy activities entering the neighborhood and affecting people's sense of safety and property values and such, as either exclusive to fundamentalist congregants, or even entirely without merit. Nor am I unaware that other kinds of efforts to more fully utilize church buildings, are easier said than done.

All I'm saying is that efforts at community outreach are generally stillborn within an ideology that sees the "real" answer to human needs as an imagined spiritual regeneration and renewal, and prioritizes accordingly.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:39 AM
 
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My city claims to have ended homelessness by supplying housing to anyone who needs it. Google Medicine Hat. I think Salt Lake City has a very similar program. Churches would do more good advocating this type of assistance and assisting with the program than to let the homeless sleep in their church. Do the older churches have the facilities to house the homeless and it is less likely that the newer and wealthier churches would be in a location to do so.

On the other hand some of these mega Preachers could build mice apartment complexes for short term housing for the homeless instead if an addition mansion for themselves.

Advocates of housing the homeless use a financial argument to justify it, if a person has a home they can then look for a job, receive government assistance and are less of a drain on medical and police services and supposedly a decrease in crime. And of course safer. These programs are too new to see how effective they are and Medicine Hat did not have as large of a problem as some other cities for a variety of reasons.

Many of the churches did assist with supplying household needs and clothing for the Syrian refugees, the complaint that they had was that there was not enough refugees for the amount that was collected.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:56 AM
 
11,181 posts, read 10,199,678 times
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This topic reminds me of something I heard recently.

A man, dirty and grungy walking down the road one Sunday morning. From afar he heard voices singing. He continued to walk until he reached the bend when, around the bend, he caught sight of a church in the distance. He walked up to it, opened the door and, as quietly as he could, stepped in and took a seat in the last pew.

The people inside turned and looked him with disgust in their eyes. Feeling their rejection, the man got up and exited. He sat down on the steps outside and began to weep. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. When he looked up, he saw Jesus standing there. Jesus said to the man, "Don't weep my child. You are not alone. I've been trying to get in there for years."
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Old 08-28-2016, 11:58 AM
 
2,826 posts, read 1,864,431 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cupper3 View Post
In these threads, we keep hearing from the defenders of the special privileges that churches have when it comes to IRS rules, yet there is something substantial each and every church out there COULD do... open up their doors to the homeless to sleep.

But that doesn't happen, does it? Why? Obviously it is not for lack of space, right? The facilities exist. The benches exist. I bet they could get the blankets donated by parishioners, right?

So, apologists and fundevangleist, why does YOUR church not open the doors to the homeless in your area? Heck, you could even try and "save a few souls" like the Sally Ann does and proselytize, although that may not be a true charitable act.
Some do. Typically, I think the idea behind Christianity is strongly teach a man to fish (as in, charity is not a welfare system, we are trying to help ppl live a full life, not a dependent one). Plus you may have a distorted view of the amount of money churches have to work with. My dad is paid $1000 plus board to be a minister per month. The church keeps a lot for heating and cooling the place, and for other expenses, so if we are talking feeding the homeless, sure it is feasible to have some cots for housing the homeless. And yeah, zoning. In the outskirts, this would be okay but not in town, where people are worried about sketchy folks.

The church doesn't have as much space as you might think though. A church has some office area, some pews in the worship area, usually a kitchen and dining area. But it's not a monastery. It isn't designed for massive amounts (more than 30 or 50) to live there comfortably. They don't have cells for sleep.

The church does feed the poor and help the homeless. They do so largely by outsourcing money to homeless shelters. Food banks we do okay, but we can spend money on a food pantry maybe once a month and feed groceries to about 50 families. Not 300 ppl every week.

http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/he...e-homeless-101

Here's an article.

Last edited by bulmabriefs144; 08-28-2016 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 08-28-2016, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Somewhere Out West
2,260 posts, read 2,138,885 times
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We tried to do just that at my church in Orange County, CA. Our space was perfect for doing so. The county agreed to help set it up and with funding, we tapped into state money and found other sources to make it all happen. Unfortunately the City of Santa Ana got up in arms and refused to let us establish a shelter. All we could do was let them sleep in the yard in sleeping bags/tents etc. The city was so nasty they told me how disgusted they were we fed them twice a month and if they had a say, they would stop that as well and put them all on a bus out of town.

Our neighbours didn't mind as they were either other churches, or folks who came to our community meals (we were in a very low income neighbourhood). It was only the city who objected.
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Old 08-28-2016, 01:28 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
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We could house all the homeless in the US with 10% of the houses the banks have foreclosed on. And as many of the homeless actually have jobs, they'd be happy to pay rent, they just don't have the deposit, etc.
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Old 08-28-2016, 03:51 PM
 
10,522 posts, read 15,573,695 times
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruitt%E2%80%93Igoe

This is what happens when you build "mice" buildings for "homeless".
Also, I'd ask to defy "homeless". Homeless town I see on my way to work in Seattle 5 mornings a week, I'd not allow them anywhere close to any civilized area. What they turned sizeable - and growing - green strip into will be done to any church or house or housing made available to them.
Do you really believe that poor unfortunate well mannered well behaving civilized folks somehow suddenly became homeless and landed in the street? Seriously?
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