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.