Malibu, Methodists and the homeless: There is a religion story in here somewhere

Malibu, Methodists and the homeless: There is a religion story in here somewhere

With homelessness being a major discussion topic on the West Coast these days, it’s only fitting that the Los Angeles Times team found this quirky story about what happens when Christians act, well, too Christian. I would argue that there could be a religion angle to this debate.

In a story titled “Malibu church pressured to end homeless dinners, some saying it lures needy to upscale city,” you have everything turned around. Here we’ve got a church doing the right thing while the rich are telling believers to knock it off.

Los Angeles, by the way, has the nation’s second largest concentration of homeless, so it was only a matter of time before their presence infiltrated the dwellings of the very rich living north of town.

Being homeless in Malibu is different...
Residents have long been generous to those who live in the city's 21 miles of canyons, beaches and glittering shopping centers.
For 17 years, religious groups fed homeless people, and the city and private donors put up hundreds of thousands of dollars for social workers to find them housing and services.
But Malibu United Methodist Church -- facing pressure from the city -- in recent weeks took a U-turn, deciding twice-weekly dinners for homeless people would stop after Thanksgiving. The cutoff came after city officials summoned organizers and suggested they were attracting more homeless people and making the problem worse.

What follows is a description of how the Methodists and another Christian ministry, Standing on Stone, have been co-hosting dinners for the homeless at the church twice weekly for three years. Another social service agency helped two dozen of them get off the streets and into decent housing. But then:

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