This is going to sound like a “Strong Story”.
I had just picked up Cheryl for church this evening and we were driving to my home. Yeah, it’s a house church.
There is an area about a mile away from my home that many homeless folks have camped in and other formerly homeless folks have moved into a remodeled hotel. Lately that area is looking more and more like skid row. Which is generally great for me because I love the homeless, and I think that having an area where they hang out near my home is awesome.
Today, though, we were driving by and we saw two folks who hang around out there fighting, partly in the street and partly on the sidewalk. I was feeling pretty good today, so I stopped, parked the car in the middle of the street and got out.
“Hey! Stop that!” I yelled as one man was hitting another. They backed off a bit as they realized someone different was getting into their personal business in the middle of a public street. The guy who I had seen hitting came straight to me, but his eyes were frightened, not aggressive.
“These guys were harassing me! I was just sitting on my cardboard and they won’t leave me alone!” I saw the cardboard, and considered if what he was saying was true. Then another guy slowly came over and started to approach the first guy, who backed off around my car (still in the middle of the street). This new guy slowly kept after the first guy, as slow and as steadfast as a zombie. As he backed away, the first guy said, “Just leave me alone.”
I approached the new guy and said, “Back off.”
The man said, “No.”
The first man said, “They were harassing me. They’re drunk.” This is clearly true. The zombie-lurch and slow thought process is clearly due to an excessive use of alcohol.
I said, “Why are you bothering him?” He looked back at me as if he’d never considered this question before. I repeated, “Why don’t you leave him alone?” Then he just wandered off as if his series of actions no longer interested him.
The first guy said, “Thanks,” and went back over to his cardboard.
As I drove away, I could see in my rearview mirror the drunk harassing guy going after the first guy again. I would have stopped again, but the first guy had picked up his cardboard and was quickly moving away. Which is what he should have done in the first place. I mean, anyone can outrun a zombie, right?
And I’m thinking… this is a great place for ministry. And right near home. Anyone interested in partnering?