Getting a taste of homelessness

Ever wonder what homelessness might feel like?  Ever wonder how the lives of homeless people have anything to do with your life?

David Zimmerman writing at Red Letter Christians wonders about these things.  He’s had a slight taste of it.  Here’s a bit from his observations:

I breathed in exhaust fumes from local traffic, stepped over litter and potholes, kept one eye open for a place that would have me and wouldn’t kick me out. There weren’t many. I’ll be honest: I’m sort of waiting for someone to ask me to leave the premises …

… the homeless people I know are walking someplace as specific as it is arbitrary: they’re making their way from one shelter to another, from one service provider to another, from one job opportunity to another. The point of walking is specific, but the destination is based on the whim of whatever church has opted to open its doors overnight, whatever part of town a local government has zoned to allow social service providers to open up shop, wherever the jobs happen to be today. Meanwhile, drivers in car-based towns assume that walkers are walking aimlessly; pedestrians are nuisances to cars, regardless of how dangerous cars are to pedestrians.

In Matthew 25, Jesus talks about how he hides himself in the naked and hungry and homeless and unjustly treated. We’re supposed to do unto them what we say we would do unto him. But seeing Jesus in someone sweaty and uncomfortable and cranky (and, frankly, sometimes certifiable) isn’t as easy as it sounds. And more often than not we’re actually seeing ourselves as Jesus instead.

It’s not something we do on purpose; it just happens, because it’s easier to see ourselves as Jesus than to see someone yucky as Jesus. It’s easier for us, who try so hard to emulate our Messiah, to incarnate than to identify, to witness to someone than to witness Christ in someone.

Read the rest here.

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