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How Not to Help Children

A mark's guide

Quote# 83450

It is past time to admit a very hard truth: America’s poverty problem is also a depravity problem[...]

For many, many years I spent time “in the trenches” reaching out to at-risk youth. At first I was the stereotypical naive idealist. ”All they need is love and a chance,” I thought. Working in mentoring programs, I spent untold hours playing catch, going to little league games, going to parks, and just hanging out with at-risk kids as part of a variety of programs. Seeing ragged clothes, I’d buy new clothes. Hearing that a mother couldn’t pay the light bill, I’d kick in and help. I spent night after night sleeping in homeless shelters, cooking dinners in the evening, pancake breakfasts in the morning, and fixing snack lunches for hard days on the streets.

I can’t remember when I first realized that I was accomplishing nothing of substance. A few car break-ins taught me that some guys saw me as an easy mark. A few pot purchases with the “gas bill money” taught me that others saw me as an ATM. Admonitions to “stay in school” had little appeal compared to drug-fueled orgies for kids as young as fifteen years old. I tried. God knows I tried. But it was all for naught.

Only one thing really worked. The Cross. There are kids today that Nancy and I worked with who are doing well, who are happily married, and who are pillars of their community. What made the difference for them? The Cross. It wasn’t about my words. It wasn’t about my effort. (After all, I tried just as hard or harder with other kids — who are now in prison or “baby-daddies” or both.) The kids who made it heard the Gospel, repented of sin, and were transformed through the renewing work of the Holy Spirit.

It’s trendy now for churches to put less emphasis on the Gospel and more emphasis on service. I’ve even heard Christians almost brag that their outreach efforts don’t include any proselytizing at all. This is tragic. Billions of dollars of “service” won’t change hearts and lives. We know that now. In fact, those very billions may very well numb the human heart to the gravity of its sin.

So, yes, let’s do “more,” but let’s make sure that “more” is aimed at the real source of American poverty — our depravity.

David French, patheos 39 Comments [8/28/2011 5:02:19 AM]
Fundie Index: 53
WTF?! || meh
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Extraintrovert

Nothing I can say hasn't already been said by people magnitudes more intelligent and experienced than myself. French is full of shit, poverty and depravity are about as interrelated as geography and intelligence, and religion is about as useful as being a self-important little cultist fucktard who thinks "at-risk youth" are going to at all care about your piss-poor attempt at "reaching out" that are more likely than not a colossal sack of lies.

8/28/2011 10:57:22 PM

Extraintrovert

Sorry, double post.

8/28/2011 10:58:02 PM

Orion

I really enjoyed these insights around social work from the commentary here. Made me think a bit about what can sometimes seem an intractable problem.

Thanks.

8/29/2011 2:28:54 AM

Mister Spak

"Only one thing really worked. The Cross."

Buffy Summers works pretty well too.

8/29/2011 5:03:02 AM

SpukiKitty

....and wielding a stake and a badass roundhouse kick!

8/29/2011 6:30:40 AM

SpukiKitty


8/29/2011 6:31:39 AM



Anecdotical evidence apart, your narration sounds full of stereotypes. There are guys in the Deep South, deeply religious that are living in trailers. Let alone countries in South America or Africa, where deeply religious people live in absolute poverty, and atheists, say Bill Gates, who are rich. Are you somehow hinting that they somehow deserve their luck because if they embraced your philosophy would be better?. That's why missionaries, at least the Catholic ones, apart from the Cross, as you say, have a hospital and a school. Are they wrong on that too or it's just a shitty excuse not to spend money or time on them?

8/29/2011 7:29:20 AM



So, you're somehow hinting that what Jesus said about helping and loving others is bullshit. How convenient for your..........pocket.

8/29/2011 7:35:45 AM

Anon-e-moose

"It is past time to admit a very hard truth: America’s poverty problem is also a depravity problem"

Not so much 'patheos', more pathetic

Even Doug Piranha would consider you unworthy of his vicious pathos, never mind sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, puns, parody, litotes and satire.

Your reaching for not just that last straw, but particle of straw dust is self-parody enough, Dave.

"I can’t remember when I first realized that I was accomplishing nothing of substance. A few car break-ins taught me that some guys saw me as an easy mark. A few pot purchases with the “gas bill money” taught me that others saw me as an ATM. Admonitions to “stay in school” had little appeal compared to drug-fueled orgies for kids as young as fifteen years old. I tried. God knows I tried. But it was all for naught."

...all the while you were stuffing their heads with all that Christian doctrine nonsense, Doug and Dinsdale were busy putting the boot in the groin. [/Monty Python]

X3

8/29/2011 10:21:19 AM

Godbuster

Fuck you. For all of human history, the few, the greedy and the mighty have lied to the majority to stay in power and to appropriate more than they need for themselves while the rest of us wallow in what's left..

Religion is one of these lies.

8/29/2011 11:15:34 AM

xmx

When was the last time you saw "at-risk" youth playing at a little league game?

8/29/2011 12:48:41 PM

JohnTheAtheist

Asshole. Like you weren't proselytizing to every fucking person you came into contact with. So the ones that overcame their obstacles did so because of Jesus and those that didn't never got the message. With the cross I am surprised that any of them failed.

You are a total tool.

8/29/2011 12:56:58 PM

Shadoboy

Then he gave everyone crosses.

Then people were mugged by people carrying cross pendants.

8/30/2011 12:07:03 AM

Ebon

More lying for Jesus. Conservatives are always thinking that the poor are morally bankrupt, anything to avoid spending money on them.

9/15/2012 4:32:42 AM
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