Is the Pope wrong about beggars?

Pope Francis

This week Pope Francis offered what to do when we pass beggars on the street: We should give to them without a thought. We should look them in the eye and maybe shake their hand. To give without engaging is robbing them of their human dignity.

The Catholic News Service reported on the Pope’s comments:

People who don’t give money to the homeless because they think it will be spent on alcohol and not food should ask themselves what guilty pleasures they are secretly spending money on, Pope Francis said.

“There are many excuses” to justify why one doesn’t lend a hand when asked by a person begging on the street, he said in an interview published the day before the beginning of Lent.

But giving something to someone in need “is always right,” and it should be done with respect and compassion because “tossing money and not looking in (their) eyes is not a Christian” way of behaving, he said.

Is he right?

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Union City Pride

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I haven’t watched a high school basketball game from start to finish since my wife hung up her sneakers in 1998. (Annie was #44 in the playbook and #1 in my heart, although I was too cool to admit it.)

That changed this past Saturday when I cheered on the Union City Lady Indians against Wood Memorial in the Class 1A State Championship.

“I don’t know why I’m crying,” I said to Annie after a girl from Union City drilled a three out of the gate. (To qualify crying: I had a single tear welling up in each eye. It wasn’t like I was ugly crying.)

“I had tears running down my face watching The Facebook video of them leaving town,” Annie…

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Facing Project on Nightly News in Flint

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Mott Community College is running a Facing College project focusing on the stories of immigrant students. They recently received coverage on Flint’s ABC channel 12.

Everyone has an opinion of what should be done politically about immigrants, even people who don’t even know or have conversed with a single immigrant. MCC’s Facing Project seeks to correct that.

Read the story and watch the coverage of their project here.

Here’s a video of the writers and storytellers getting to know each other…

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My friend/grandma Frances

GmaBirds

My grandma, Frances (Copeland) Wilt, looked like Bob Dylan and laughed like Popeye. Two inarguable facts that I’ve kept to myself until now.

She died on Monday morning in Rockford, Illinois, while I was eating donuts and drinking coffee in Muncie, Indiana.

The smell of coffee reminds me of her and Grandpa. They were the only reason our house had a coffee maker growing up. When the coffee maker came out, I knew they were on their way and grandma would be loaded down with paper bags of garage sale toys–He-Mans and Han Solos and some of the weirdest toys you could imagine.

They’d pull up in their multi-Brown RV and it was like a whole planet just showed up in the…

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A house on wheels provides tons of adventure

This  article first appeared in the CS Monitor on June 12, 2016. My Grandma just passed away and I’m dusting it off in remembrance of her and her love of travel.

My cousin Brice is armed with the bow and arrow. Of the two of us, he is the better shot and the more ruthless. I have a plastic bag filled with paper “snaps” that go bang! when thrown on the ground.

A foolish woman thought she could steal a few moments of rest alongside this winding road in the Great Smokey Mountains. Little did she know that lurking behind the shade tree she had parked under were two 7-year-old boys about to attack.

She is asleep. This is going to be easy. First, I will…

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What my autistic son taught me about happiness

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It’s that time of year when we are constantly reminded through ads, resolutions, and unrealistic expectations that we are less than others. People are more organized, fitter, harder workers, better looking, and overall live better lives being better people than you and me.

Feel better? Are you overcome with hope and positivity?

Perhaps the happiest human I know is my son Griffin. This might surprise some people because Griffin, 5, is on the autism spectrum. The stereotype for someone on the the spectrum is that he or she becomes easily frustrated by people, lights, sounds, a break in routine. This can lead to anxiety and sometimes depression.

One night recently Griffin woke us up, not crying, not whining, but laughing an uncontrollable, body trembling belly…

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Should we be for child labor in Bangladesh?

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The worst thing isn’t that we live in a world where child labor exists, it’s that we live in a world where mothers and fathers who love their children send their kids off to work for the day because they have to. They have to rely on their income.

At least that’s how I feel about child labor. It’s not as clear cut of an issue as some make it out to be. In fact, a group of academics came out against the UN’s stricter child labor rules calling them a damaging mistake:

“Banning children from work doesn’t bring them back into school; in fact, it might do the opposite if they were working to pay their school fees.

“For some children it’s a matter…

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The sweetest Obamacare story you’ll hear this week

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Griffin was down in the basement in his “boy cave.” Harper was doing an art project on the kitchen table. Annie was preparing dinner. And I was shopping for Obamacare on healthcare.gov. My appetite a bit less as I scrolled down past ever-rising premiums and deductibles trying to find a plan that worked for us.

We are thankful for Obamacare and the fact we can’t be turned away for my son having a “preexisting condition” of autism. No private insurance company would insure us otherwise.

Basically, we pay the insurance company $10 and they pay $100 of our expenses. Of course, we pay a lot more than $10 each month to have insurance. Our premiums and our deductibles (which we…

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Thanks for the inspiration, Donald Trump. Let’s get to work!

There are a lot of reasons I didn’t want Donald J. Trump to be our next president, but there is one reason (and probably only one) that I’m glad he won.

The night of the election, I went to a watch party hosted at The Downtown Farm Stand. (Can you get more liberal than drinking organic beer and eating organic free-range, potato chips with your GMO-free friends? Probably not.) Like everyone else we expected to watch the election of the first female president. I can’t say I was a vigorous supporter of Hillary Clinton (there’s something rather unappealing about political dynasties), but earlier that day when I cast a vote for her I did get the “feels.” I have a daughter and if her fascination…

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