Thursday, June 21, 2012


Excellent column ... and well-expressed on your part (as usual!) ... what's intriguing is InSite's total unwillingness to allow an independent assessment of the operation or to get into any kind of fact-based debate. For example, my wife was co-chair this year of the Governor-General's Leadership Study Tour (BC portion): it's a group of future leaders from across the country -- and from all sectors, labor, business, public service, inter alia -- who spend 2 weeks travelling and learning as much as possible about issues in various communities.
Inevitably, the Downtown East Side was a big part of their stay in Vancouver, so InSite and the Carnegie Centre were on the itinerary; but because Amelia also works with me at Gospel Mission, she included a visit to the Mission and, in particular, The Lord's Rain (our facility that provides showers every morning), as well.
Hmm ... that reads like she included it out of self-interest. Not at all: she wanted to show the participants a positive story to balance the negative stuff they invariably hear about the DTES. (I blogged about it --, and Amelia provided a follow-up to "the guys" -- i.e. the people who come to the Mission:
But here's the point I'm getting to: the tour participants were not permitted to talk to the actual people who use InSite due to "regulations" -- they could only talk to the staff. I visited Freedom's Door in Kelowna, which is a recovery house for some of the worst-asses you'd ever not want to meet in a dark alley, and the pastor there -- who beat drugs and did time in prison himself -- agrees that the ONLY solution to addiction is complete abstinence, and tough love to go with it. A local deep thinker who supports harm reduction recently refused to debate Nick at a public forum, saying "he'd heard enough from him already". (Indeed, I mentioned harm reduction when I met with some of the residents at the house, and a general shudder went around the table.)
And let me lay something else on you: God is on the side of those who believe in harm elimination as opposed to harm reduction, and He proves it with such things as you getting your voice out there. I've seen Him bless places like Recovery House and Anchor House in Brooklyn with success in turning lives around, and I've seen Him bless Gospel Mission by keeping the place going in spite of the odds. It doesn't matter what opinion polls, courtrooms packed with rent-a-mob supporters or "peer-reviewed" studies say*, as Graham Cooke says, "one person, plus God, is always the majority."
Or, in the words of the noted philosopher, Opus the Penguin, "if two million people do a silly thing, it is still a silly thing".
* One more thing: doesn't "peer" mean "someone of the same ilk"? So if the study is written by a high-minded, self-serving lintbrain, doesn't it mean that the peer review is also done by high-minded, self-serving lintbrains?

Let's not get hung up on "finding ourselves". If we seek God and love others, "finding ourselves" becomes (a) unimportant and (b) unavoidable.