Dan McGuinness, the Homeless, and an Irresistable Revolution

I guess this post is a grouping of ideas, moreso than an actual collective thought.

On Friday, I bought the book “The Irresistable Revolution” by Shane Claiborne at the suggestion of Mike Cope. I read about 100 pages on Friday and another 100 pages yesterday, and I honestly think its going to screw up my life. In a good way… but things may change. I just don’t know that I can honestly persue my own goals in life anymore.

On Sunday night, Carrie and my small group had our get together, and a few of us went to Dan McGuinness (a pub) afterwards for 2.50 pints. I had two Woodchuck Ciders and they were delicious. We spun a cell phone and whoever it pointed to when it stopped had to tell a story about their life. It was a great night, but something that happened just as we were arriving has kept my thoughts occupied since then. A homeless man was leaning against the sidewalk rail as we walked up. I’ve made it a habit to make sure I at least make eye contact with the homeless as I walk by so they’ll know I’m friendly and that I care about them, even if I can’t help them much. And when I talk to a homeless person, I always shake hands with them or pat them on the shoulder. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, its just after hearing how Jesus touched the leper, when he could have easily healed him without touching, I realized how important touch is, and how, by shaking a hand or even giving a hug, I am being Jesus to these people who may have had very little human contact in quite a while.

Anyway, that night I met John. A homeless man of about 50 with one crutch and a hand that was missing a finger. I leaned against the railing next to him and we began to talk. He explained to me that he lost his finger to bone cancer recently. He then was back out on the streets (there was a bad divorce where he lost everything) and he was robbed and beaten by people. This beating left his knee broken in 7 pieces and his head with 5 staples in it. When he went to the hospital, they asked him to fill out some paper work. He doesn’t have an address, but he was supposed to be on TennCare. For some reason, he was no longer registered as a Tenn Care participant, so his knee that was badly in need of surgery, was drained of fluid, put in a cast, and John was back on the streets.

I don’t know what we need to do to fix this problem. John probably holds some blame for the situation he’s in right now, but he still deserves to be treated like a human being. We need to do more for the homeless in this city. I realize many of them are mentally handicapped/ addicted to drugs but they are still human beings. Look into their eyes. You will see the humanity inside of them. Sure, its behind layers and layers of heartache, alcohol, abuse, callousness, and haze; but there IS humanity there.

Recently here in Nashville, a homeless woman was sleeping on the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River. Two men, not homeless, hopped a fence, ran up to her and shoved her in the river. Her body hasnn’t been found yet. What is wrong with people? Where did we go wrong? Where did we forget that Christ had no home?

I want to do something. I want to take a week and leave everything I have at home, all my money, identification, credit cards, toiletries; and I wanna go live in Downtown Nashville. On the streets. In solidarity with those that aren’t doing it by choice. I wanna do this and I want to write about it. I don’t know what God will show me when I do this, but I know I’ll learn a lot and come back a changed person. If anyone has any ideas about how best to do this, I would appreciate hearing them.

Pray for my friend John. He needs it now. He even told me that it wasn’t God’s fault that he is where he is. He said that “God’s holding up his end of the deal…” He realizes that bad things that happen aren’t from God, and he’s still trusting as he tries to get ahold of his life.


5 responses to “Dan McGuinness, the Homeless, and an Irresistable Revolution

  1. Several years ago, one of the psychology profs at MTSU spent some time living among the homeless. I wish I could remember his name. You really need some guidance from someone who’s been there before you go out there alone.

  2. Yes — Be careful.

    You could speak to someone at the Campus for Human Development, they’ve been working beautifully with the homeless for a long time … OC would have contact info for them. Just to get some tips before you dive in like that, or perhaps to give you other, less dangerous opportunities to reach out and touch … remember the woman on the bridge, there are evil people out there …

  3. So you read “The Irresistable Revolution” too, huh?? You stated, “…and I honestly think its going to screw up my life. In a good way…”, well, you’re right! A good friend of mine and I were discussing the Old Testament. Specifically, it seemed that the more the world was screwed up the more outragious the prophets became.

    If Shane is indeed a modern day prophet, and I believe that he is a prophet, then as it relates to “worldly convention” his antics are completely outragious. And if that’s the case, then the world must be really screwed up.

    Bottom-line: Shane’s message is touching many people in a variety of ways. If the Lord is calling you to the inner-city to experience humanity, then do it! The Lord will protect you and you’ll grow much from the experience.

    Good luck and may the Lord be with you, and all of us, as we continue to reach out to all of our brothers and sisters.


  4. compassioninpolitics

    I wrote a post about the Irresistible Revolution & Shane Claiborne. For folks that haven’t read the book. Check it out! I included a link to a free chapter on the post. Glad to hear that folks in my hometown really care about social justice. Its too bad that Shane’s community recently experienced a pretty devastating fire.

    It’s not a coincidence. Mental health problems contribute to the problem of homelessness. I imagine it makes maintaining a job and paying the bills and having a good support system pretty difficult.

    Best of luck with your experience of being homeless…

    I wonder if the homeless Nashville blogger could help you out…if he’s still blogging (i think from the public library)

  5. compassioninpolitics

    Ps. Great story & great post!

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