I RARELY find people who actually defend the idea of giving to the poor and homeless. It gets such a bad rap. People do it, but they don’t say they do because the prevailing judgment is that if you give money to a bum, it will just be used to support alcohol and drug addiction. No one wants to support that! Likewise, no one wants to be shamed for giving. And so, most folks actually don’t give at all; it is just too easy to divert your eyes from the bum and pretend you didn’t even see her. Meanwhile those who do give are made to feel unwise. So, no, I don’t find many defending the idea.
Think you should give your money to a charity instead? One that will use it wisely? Yes, this is the conventional wisdom. (Either that or buy food for the bum and take the potential drug abuse out of the equation.) There are charitable organizations in the field staffed with professionals who know how to care for the poor and homeless, and you can give your money to them, sit back and feel confident that you have done your part.
But what if things aren’t so simple?
This blog regularly defends the practice of giving a few dollars to a bum – largely on theological/biblical grounds. Honestly, I think that is the important vantage ground to work from anyway. But then just today, my internet search has led me to an article that calls these usual assumptions and common sense reactions into question on more “practical’ grounds. And, well, I find this article, even from this vantage ground, quite compelling. I hope you will check it out. And I would really love to hear back from you after reading it.
Here is the link: