I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. – Tony Campolo
Sometimes, when I’m really bored, I’ll click on the Christian Post for a helping of warmed-over evangelical propaganda. They specialize in gripe features, when they’re not fretting about losing white Christian control over everything.
This CP article over the Christmas holidays really helped explain what the Evangelical Tribe is all about. It involves a church in densely populated urban Seattle that is experiencing a major problem. (It’s a Greek Orthodox church, but the CP commenters piling on here were assumedly evangelicals). The particular area is known as one of Seattle’s most popular nightlife and entertainment districts, and home to a historic gay village. It’s going through the throes of gentrification, where the birthplace of grunge is scaling up to a more expensive grunge. Trip experts rave about loads to do, but warn not to stray from the main drag.
Seattle has become a magnet for the homeless. They are hanging out on street corners and camped out in public parks. Tourists complain the area is overrun with pan-handling drug addicts. The local church in question has the same issue, and parishioners are afraid to attend. They blame the police for doing nothing. “We need help”, the church pleads.
The question is, would WE invite these dead-enders and abused losers to worship with us? No. These folks just wouldn’t fit in with our kind, especially at the pleasant après-worship featuring coffee and sweets. Instead, we’d be dialing 911 and sending them to jail. Like a Baptist church in California, where a homeless man who entered the church looking for assistance was arrested. He had stolen some $2 worth of cookies! Who is the “we” who really needs help?
Last month, most of us in America endured one of the most frigid, pipe-busting Decembers on record. While the polar vortex winds blew, how many of us driving to our comfy Christmas Eve services, gave any thought to detour past a Wal-Mart or other big box store?. After dark, on any given night, any number of dingy cars and vans are parked in the dark corners of the lot. People live in them. We call them “homeless” people, but they are not. They are un-homed, discarded, hungry and unloved. Go ahead and check for yourself.
Like the church in question, many Christians imagine the world’s problems might be solved if needy people outside our churchly comfort zone would just magically disappear. Commenters to the article tried to paint the church as victim:
- “Police are so kind to homeless people. Seize their property and then roust them 9 times out of 10.”
- “If you don’t like rampant crime and homelessness, then don’t vote Democrat.”
- “These are not poor……….These are addicted to drugs”
- “Want to get rid of them? Go out and start preaching to them all day every day.”
- “Put these people in prison, and, whilst they are in prison, get them dried out, teach them life skills, and, with any luck, make them productive citizens.”
Can you hear what they’re really saying? Funny, how few of these armchair “experts” saw this as a spiritual problem the American church has disowned. “Are there no prisons?” “Are there no workhouses?” Each year, a Texas church boasting 49,000 members puts on a Christmas extravaganza bigger and better than Broadway. A $60 ticket to see the 1,000 member performance buys angels flying across the ceiling, a choir and live orchestra, a cast of on-stage animals, along with a first act featuring Santa. Duas tantum res anxius optat: Panem et circences. And we don’t have resources to help those in need??? Or is it because we don’t give a shit? When Christians turn our backs to the visibly invisible in our neighborhood, it should shame us to be the truly homeless ones, having souls with “no room at the inn”.
“The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared? – Dietrich Bonhoeffer.