Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "S" Edition


Food Stamps and Such…

Food stamps and WIC are now called EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer), and stamps and vouchers have been replaced by debit cards.   In an economy where food, gas and utility prices have skyrocketed, it can be difficult to not notice (and sometimes judge) the lady in front of you at the store using an EBT card.  

Sadly, America is in a mess, and Christians helped us get there leaving God out of the election process.  Unhappy taxpayers have taken to Facebook and forums to express their thoughts:    “Drug test welfare recipients!”   “Replace Congress…vote them all out!”   “Impeach Obama!”   People get very passionate in their comments and feel they have the answers…but unless they are including Jesus in that equation, they really don’t.

But I digress.

Do we want real change?   We should start with ourselves.   Then, we can go to the mission field called “the poor,” where second and third generation EBT users live who know no other life.   Take them Jesus!  Get your church van and go pick them up on Sundays and/or Wednesdays and take them to church.   No church van?   Find one or two children, talk to their parents, and take the children to church in your own car.   These are small steps toward the process of change.   Search and Rescue!   Head up a project to take the parents some Bibles and some “non-essentials” people like to have.  Sow some seeds!  That’s when real change will start.  Take them the Better Way.

Not happy with the current administration?  Stop complaining and start praying.  National Day of Prayer is May 2nd…join others at your local court house or other designated gathering place and pray…but don’t wait until the 2nd, and don’t stop on the 3rd.  Pray for our country!

And while I’m on my soapbox, let’s talk about that lady in the checkout line in front of you using her EBT card.  You notice that she’s got on nice clothes, and shoes, and with a raised eyebrow, you check out her cart to see some choice items that you didn’t dare toss in yours.  You think to yourself, “I bet your car is better than mine, too, and I’m working so that you can live a better life than me.  Get a job, why don’t you!”   She knows you’re looking at her, and she glances your way.   You offer a guilty half smile, but she’s seen that look before. 

Instead of nosing around in her cart, why not offer a short prayer for her blessing, her salvation, her situation.  You don’t know her heart, but God does.  She may be a sister in Christ who’s picking up food for a mother who is home with a sick child.   Or perhaps she’s wearing the best clothes she had (or borrowed) because she just left a job interview, only her third one in two months because no one is hiring.   When she glances your way, give her a whole smile.  Compliment her, and tell her that Jesus loves her. 

There will always be people who will take advantage of government programs…doesn’t that mean they need Jesus all the more?   We can’t punish every person receiving assistance because some are taking advantage of it.  We can’t save the world, and we don’t have to answer for the ones doing wrong.  As we come together to pray for a sinking nation, we can put those people in God’s hands while reaching out our own hands to help the ones we can, and pray for the ones we can’t.   


Lots of S pictures....

 photo 2013AtoZ-Sunset_zps693c3780.jpg
Sunset over Christ Chapel, Florence
 photo Bridge-ShoalCreek3.jpg
Old Shoal Creek Bridge
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Squirrel photo 2013AtoZ-Squirrel_zps4e6d97a9.jpg
Squirrel, Children's Museum of the Shoals, Florence

Sunflower photo 2013AtoZSunflower_zps188c7a71.jpg
Sunflowers...my back yard
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 photo Flight3.jpg
Sea Gulls, Deibert Park
 photo Gullsonfence.jpg

Skyline photo 2013AtoZ-Skyline_zps50ddd1fd.jpg
Nashville Skyline

Signs photo 2013AtoZ-ShiverdeFreeze_zps0422c2df.jpg 
I'd never seen a street name like this... 
Near Big Al's BBQ and Pizza, Berry, AL
         

10 comments:

  1. People can get jobs! it may not be a job they want or like, but they could get jobs instead of living off the tax payers back.

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    Replies
    1. Not necessarily. If a single parent of 3 gets a minimum or barely-above minimum wage job, she or he can't pay child care for the kids. Plus, daycare isn't open at night, the shift most fast food places put new hires.
      Plus, in this economy, even well qualified people are having a hard time finding jobs. Lower paying businesses usually won't hire over qualified people because it takes money to train folks they know will be gone the minute they get a job in the regular field.

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    2. You're right, Margaret. Anonymouse needs to be aware that what you refuse to understand, you will someday experience. We'll all learn mercy one way or another.

      Delete
  2. and there definitely should be drug testing. If they don't pass it, all benefits should stop immediately.

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    Replies
    1. That may create problems, too. I know people misuse welfare and EBT, and I know that drugs get bought with tax payer money. I don't like it at all. But the mother who hurt her back last week and had no money for a doctor took somebody else's pain for a few days prescription, tested positive and can't produce a prescription, will now have no way to feed her kids. Or worse, the mother who had a free weekend and smoke a joint with her friends...she should not have done it, we know that...but her kids weren't there, and you really want her kids to have no food because she make a stupid choice late one Saturday night? There are no easy answers, that's for sure.

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    2. I agree with everything you wrote, except on the drug testing. And even there, if we had Godly leadership in place, the Bible says they would have wisdom! In that scenario, there wouldn't have to be a black and white law, but a more compassionate system, whereby the mother who made the poor choice could have a hearing. And in the best interest of her children, maybe be assigned mandatory counseling, or something like that, so her children aren't punished for her choices.

      I mean, we can't reduce everything to the lowest common denominator, based on the worst of the worst choices people make! There are lots of situations that now have drug testing: airline pilots, athletes, application for employment, even some schools ... surely there are exceptions in those situations, too. Yet overall, it seems the benefits outweigh the problems. You are right... no easy answers.

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    3. Interesting discussion. Especially the drug part. There really is a solution to the welfare/drug issue, I think. Here's my idea: No random or obligatory drug tests, BUT if a person has been arrested for drug related charges more than once--the welfare stops unless drug treatment begins and THAT person would be subject to regular drug testing..

      Now, the gov't would pay for that drug treatment, of course. And there are other consequences r/t the children. There is no easy answer.

      But beyond all of that. Here's my question to those of us who get pretty high and mighty about drug use. What about the those who use food or cigarettes as their drug? Perfectly legal, of course. but should the tax payers pay for the 300 pound woman to get her drug? should the tax payer supplement the income of a smoker so he can afford his 2 pack a day habit?

      It's a tangled web when we first seek to either get between the negative consequences earned by bad choices or swing the other way and judge others by surface evidence...or something like that.

      Deb

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    4. Thank you both for your thoughts.

      Deb, I read some comments from folks who think nicotine should be part of the drug testing procedure. I think the "food drug" does more damage in the short run and in the long run than an occasional weekend joint. Very valid points.

      Retta, I like what you said about not reducing people to the lowest common denominator based on the worst choices people make. I think people sometimes do that to themselves. You are probably right...if handled with a compassionate system...drug testing benefits could outweigh the problems, and an added bennie may be that the fear of a drug test stopped some of the drug use.

      Delete
  3. This is my comment to the post, in general. You know, before I got sidetracked by the comments.

    First, a personal disclaimer. :} Just so those who don't know me can consider the source.

    I am a Christian and a social worker.

    Okay, now that that's out of the way.

    Margaret, I loved this post. You are exactly right. Christians were not, are not, called to reform government. We are called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. And that includes tending to the poor, to those lost in sin, to the sick, to the prisoners.

    While government has a certain responsibility to its citizens, especially in times of overwhelming and widespread crisis, Jesus did NOT commission government to do the above-listed ministry. That is on us (Christians).

    And we have failed miserably. We are so busy claiming prosperity for ourselves so that we can meet our greed and show that we're loved by God in the process (like the Pharisees), that we've found a host of self-righteous reasons why we don't do the things that you listed in your post.

    We cluck and tsk tsk over government handouts without enough of a conscious over our own selfishness and rebellion to God's way of doing things that we don't even blush.

    We blame government for meeting needs that would not be there if we did what Jesus said, pure and simple. Blaming gov't lets us feel powerful in our indignation and righteous..facing our own sin in this matter provokes a much less pleasant feeling.

    Jesus did not, I repeat--> did not try to reform government. He was oddly silent on government most of the time. What he did say were things like, "Render to Ceasar that which is Ceasar's and to God that which is Gods."

    Jesus was concerned with saving and reforming US, so that we would be more like Him.

    If the church hadn't abandoned the part of it'ss calling so clearly delineated in Matthew 25:35-40 (or there abouts), the gov't would have a lot less ground to cover with taxpayer
    s money.

    Uh-hmm. Getting of of soap box now. Just look what you did, Margaret. :}

    Let me add. I do think that Christians need t vote in ways that align with Biblical values, etc. Not discounting that, at all. As it is, our government leaders reflect our population's values. Now, ain't that a whole other post?

    Deb

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  4. S is for Stopping by to say hi on the A-Z Challenge!

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