Yesterday I was on a quest to gather food for one who had none. As in all quest there time outs where the seeker must avail him or herself of some sustenance so they will have the strength to continue. So there I was in a way station feasting on a couple of Big Macs and fries and a diet Doctor Pepper.
As I was sitting there a scene began to unfold out side at and intersection that had both cross walks and traffic lights. A older man in a wheel chair severely crippled in the arms and hands and only able to propel himself with his right foot, crossing the street slowly. The light changed and he was but half way across. A large pick up that was elevated high above the ground revved his engine honked his horn and then made a false start as the wheelchair struggled with roughness of the road.
Suddenly out from the covered bus stop no less than 7 Roosevelt High School Students leapt into the street 4 boys and a girl provided the road block while the other two girls came to the aide of the elder in the wheel chair and moved him out of the street. AND when the Orc driving the pick up yelled out a complaint couched in profanities did this young man step forth and challenged the Orc who then noticed that the young Knight was not alone and wisely rolled up his window and stayed quiet.
SO!! O students of Roosevelt I lift my cup up to you in salute and say you have given this old man hope renewed.
Today I was doing some recon work out in Saint Johns. I was looking for a building where we might establish a shelter for the homeless.
When I do recon, it is more than just driving and walking around looking at buildings. I go to a popular coffee shop, one where people are talking to each other and not staring blankly into a small glowing screen. I have this gift of being able to get my self into the conversation of complete strangers. I also like listening to debates especially when they are about to boil over into a heated argument. You can learn so much about the people and the flavor of a neighborhood.
Today I entered into and ongoing discussion with a group of 30 somethings who considered themselves a part of the 99%. In their discussion they were talking about who was the weakest link and how they could be rid of them to make themselves stronger.
Well of course the weakest link are “the homeless”. So I said “Wait a minute. Why are they the weakest?”
And their response is, “They have nothing to contribute.”
“What is it that you are expecting them to contribute? They have lost everything based on the greed of those more affluent. AND they have a great deal to contribute. The real problem here is that you are suffering from blindness and deafness and therefore can not see their contribution nor hear the their wisdom which is based on their experience which not one of you have. How many of you have been homeless cold and hungry?”
“There is one more thing you must also consider. If you rid yourselves of the homeless who among you will be the next weak link?”
And with that I bid them farewell and left. They were all very quiet.
This argument is not exclusive to these young people it is and argument this is being bantered by other people and the governments at all levels.
Many years ago there was a cartoon called Pogo and Pogo said “We has seen the enemy! and the enemy is us.”
Are you a weak Link?
My family had a discussion the other day on this topic: What would your perfect utopia include?
Below is what we came up with. It is also our short list of what the kingdom of God would look like, at least in part.
Everyone has access to healthy food, clean water, toilets, shelter from weather, sleep without harassment, life-saving health care.
Every person has value and no innocent person is killed.
Everyone works with their strength and talents, at times for the sake of others, at times for personal development
Everyone is judge by actions, not by appearances, and there is tolerance for different opinions
Train our children to be cooperative and compassionate instead of ambitious and egotistical.
Volunteer listening centers for people who want to listen to people who need to talk
Everyone is trained to deal nonviolently and appropriately with conflict
What would your utopia look like? What do you expect God to make the world like in the final state?
Please reply with your answers, but try not to go over a hundred words (that was another one of our limitations. We were close)
Someday people will say, “Once in North Gresham there was a community that was ideal. Three churches, one of the homeless, one of African immigrants and one of Mien immigrants that supported a church together. A community of the homeless and mentally ill that supported each other, worshipped together and was a community in the truest sense of the word. Gardens and landscaping and buildings that were maintained by those without regular jobs, but they were kept safe and clean. They would give all they had to those in need, no matter what their income level or class. People of different classes, different races, different languages, all working together to build the kingdom of God. Once that really happened.”
We are living that out right now. But we are not doing it alone. Without the support of other churches and organizations, we would never be able to serve and build community like we do. Without our partners, we couldn’t be any kind of community. Because the kingdom of God isn’t built from one congregation, but many. And there are many congregations throughout the length of Multnomah County that helps us accomplish the goal of love in community.
Today, let us introduce you to some. Maybe your congregation would like to help us build community as well. Perhaps the accomplishments of these organizations will give you ideas of how your organization can help Anawim.
How Can Your Church Help the Homeless?