“But they don’t WORK like the rest of us.”

Far too often, I have heard some version of this sentiment applied to people on the roughest fringes of the social spectrum: homeless, disabled, indigent. It seems to come with an implication that the people in question live off the hard work of “the rest of us”, absorbing handouts without contributing “their share” to the overall good. And the suggested consequences are addressed at correcting this perceived imbalance: make them work for their food stamps, for their government subsistence; curtail their options and test them to be sure they aren’t enjoying themselves. Or worse.

All because “they don’t work”.

Sacred Grove has observed and learned a lot in the past 2 decades, through our own work of helping individuals who have fallen through the governments’ safety nets (so to speak).

Did you know….

Someone who has no reliable source of income and no home, in order to stay alive, must devote most of their time and effort to:

  • finding a safe place to sleep for the coming night,
  • finding a way to secure their possessions against theft and vermin,
  • securing enough food and clean enough water to meet bodily needs,
  • finding a safe and sanitary place to relieve themselves,
  • complying with mandates of law enforcement authorities, and
  • evading attacks at the whim of predators?

Far too many jurisdictions are making the above actions as difficult as possible for the homeless, to the extent of:

  • replacing public benches and other places to sit with beds of spikes,
  • decreasing the availability of public restrooms,
  • destroying tents and possessions found on public land, or
  • arresting people who try to help.

Acquiring help through the safety net requires time and effort (more so without a vehicle or the ability to drive one) :

  • finding potential sources of help,
  • completing applications and attending interviews,
  • proving one’s need and inability to acquire and hold gainful employment, and
  • negotiating with all the forces endeavoring to restrict that help to the least level.

Yes, they work.

At this time, in the US, monthly help from the Social Security Administration for someone unable to work and without income is less than $800. Even with SNAP, that is barely enough to live on without securing additional benefits. Many states minimize the support they provide.

Now you know.

As Luck Would Have It …

After several days (and nights) working over the main pages of this site, catching up, I got around to adding a link to John Beckett’s blog, Under the Ancient Oaks, in the Reading Room. He always has something useful to me. I randomly picked an older post of his that I hadn’t read, and it went to the heart of my musings.

Shall I call it Divination via Beckett, a version of the old method of opening the Bible to a random page and taking to heart what you read there?

What is Seen Cannot Be Unseen was right on.

A sign I used to see with some regularity said “In God we trust – all others pay cash.” It was intended as a comment on the realities of cashflow in a small business, but in a completely different context it explains the worldview of mainstream Western society. That is, it’s nominally Christian but highly materialist.

Most people don’t think deeply about spiritual matters. They pay them lip service, particularly when they’re used to justify their preferred cultural and political positions. They pray when they’re in trouble, but not otherwise. The nature of the divine? What comes after death? Why we’re here? Nobody’s got time for that.

When it comes down to it, they really don’t believe in ghosts, or demons, or even Gods. When they experience something that points toward the existence and agency of spiritual persons, they look for “a rational explanation” (by which they mean one grounded in materialism) and if they can’t find one, they’ll make one up.

But sometimes, people experience something that defies a materialist explanation. They have an encounter with a God, or an other-than-divine spirit, or they see magic work in a way that can’t be denied.

All of a sudden they’re confronted with the fact that the world is a lot bigger and a lot stranger than they thought it was.

And we know what happens when most people are presented with evidence that their core beliefs and opinions are false. They deny the evidence and double down on what they’ve always assumed was true. They tell themselves it was a coincidence, a trick of the light, their imagination.

But deep down, they know what they saw, what they heard, what they experienced. They may not have the context to interpret it properly, but at some level they know it’s real.

And it scares the hell out of them.

John Beckett: “What is Seen Cannot be Unseen” 13 January 2022

Belated Imbolc Greetings

Imbolc is the time of year we evaluate how we have held up to our dedications and commitments to ourselves and each other. Sometimes those evaluations keep us so busy we forget to post. Or we get tied up trying to figure out how to work the website in its new environment.

In any case, may you be at home in this new year and your refreshed dedication to that which is real, personal, and important in your life.

I find much to inspire me in John Beckett’s posts in his blog Under the Ancient Oaks on Patheos. This particular posting of old postings brought several good ones together, and I commend them to your attention. With thanks to John.