I will be praying for this church:
As a parent, I can understand those who do not wish a tent city of homeless people near their neighborhood. A high percentage of homeless adults have mental illness, and the question of safety is a real one. If I had a tent city just a block away from my home, how would I respond?
Would I keep a more watchful eye on my kids? Yep.
Would I be more concerned about folks possibly breaking into my house? Yep.
Would I support a tent city near my home in spite of these fears? In principle, yes.
But that's in principle.
It's another matter in reality.
I know this all too well.
It's easy to pontificate when the issue is "out there" far removed from one's own place of work or living. Yet, it is another matter entirely when one is confronted face to face with reality.
I've had such things happen in my life.
I can remember harboring very negative feelings toward gay folks as I started college. As long as they were "out there" I could continue to have my attitude that something was wrong with them.
Until that day right after chapel service at Texas Lutheran.
It was the day a young lady came up to me to talk.
She told me she was very afraid. Because I was heavily involved in Campus Ministry and appeared to be a nice guy, she said she felt like she could trust me. She told me she was gay and because of some things that had been said and done on campus, she feared for her physical safety.
Right then and there, my perceived principles were rocked. I knew there was nothing wrong with this young girl. The people with the problem were those who wished her any form of harm because she was gay. In my estimation, there is no justification in the Christian faith for physically, mentally, or spiritually harming another person. That is not what Jesus taught.
Jesus taught compassion.
Jesus taught understanding.
Jesus taught the way of love and peace.
Jesus taught that all were children of God.
Such teachings became really real at that moment in time for me. It's a lesson I haven't forgotten, nor do I wish to.
How would I react to a tent city of homeless people a block from my house?
It's a good question.
I'll be praying for that church.