HOME. I wrote a book on HOME. (Don’t look for it; it’s not published.) But I am always writing about homeless, it seems. And yet, that needs to be counterbalanced by HOME.
I have recently encountered a handful of videos on the web called RETHINK HOMELESSNESS. In a sense, that is what this blog is all about. That could have been a good title for this project here. I want us to rethink our thoughts about homeless. But, then I have a specifically biblical lens in which I want to present this rethinking. And I think it is important to hold up the ideal of HOME as we do so. Otherwise it is too easy to drift off into ideals about addressing employment, job training, addiction, or even passing out food and blankets. Those things all play a part in the over all discussion, of course, but I believe they are completely adrift in the ocean of ideals when we don’t anchor them on the rock of HOME as we find it in the Bible.
Rethink it like this: We might possibly achieve “success” in treating a man’s addiction, train him for a good job, and then help him obtain one if we pool all our best thinking and resources together and really try. That is possible. Not too likely in most cases, but possible. But what then? And what exactly is that “success” anyway?
Are we trying to remake that man in our image? Does he need to have a nice house, a well-running car, decent clothes, a strong work ethic that sustains food in his fridge and rent payment each month? Is that success?
Sounds a bit lonely to me. Sounds like we suited him up for the rat race to me. Sounds like we got the problem licked to me – meaning he is no longer a worry to our mind. But he is now a worry to his own mind. Bills to pay. A boss to please. An ever-increasing inventory of junk in his attic and garage to manage.
None of that is HOME.
A house? Yes. A place to store and contain his own mess? Yes. But a HOME? No. At least I don’t see it. And I don’t see any of that as being a “success” Jesus died on a cross for either.
In fact, I see all of that as contributing to gluttony and divorce. A soul-less life of contained chaos that is otherwise empty, yet passionate about denial of its own vanity.
I got divorced. My HOME was broke. I fell out the crack of it and very nearly hit the streets myself. I know this first-hand. I have many friends and family who know it first-hand too.
I hope to explore on this blog the ideal of HOME and help others to RETHINK HOME as we also RETHINK HOMELESSNESS. I invite your thoughts along the way too. And I think that with this counterbalance in place, it just might make most of the things I share on this blog settle the dust a bit. I keep asking the tough questions no one seems to want to answer, like: How can you invite Jesus into your heart but not a homeless man into you home?
I hope that kind of question offends you. If it does not, then you aren’t really reading me. After all, if Jesus lived – really – lived at, and reigned over, your house and a homeless man knocked on the door, WWJD?
What if Jesus really lived at your church?
I see people sleeping under the archway of the downtown First United Methodist Church nightly. I have experienced the pastor of Carpenter’s Church running off myself and dozens of other people seeking refuge under their shelter at night. I have seen dozens of “keep out” and “no trespassing” signs at numerous other church buildings all over this “Christian” town. And yet the VAST MAJORITY of the “Christians” who attend worship at these places sleep in fine houses with guest bedrooms that go empty night after night without so much as a prick of the conscience. And I find that to be offensive.
Would he flip tables and scatter the money at that place of worship?
Hmmm… I think I might’ve read that somewhere.
Seems a bit offensive when you REthink about it.
But I do not wish to shut you out of the discussion. Rather, I suggest you repent and RETHINK. Rethink HOME; Rethink church. Rethink and then relive for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15).
And anyway, this blog is a place where that rethinking can start….