Monday, December 7, 2009

Burdened by the homeless, and frustrated by "Christians"

So, I went to the Cincinnati Bengals game with some friends yesterday, and afterwards, I saw a couple things that burdened/frustrated me:

1) I saw many homeless people. They had positioned themselves near the stadium so the hoards of fans would have to pass them. I hear a lot of talk about how many homeless people there are in Los Angeles, and it's so true that L.A. is the homeless capital of the nation, but when I saw the people in Cincinnati, it opened my eyes to how many homeless people there are all over our nation. I hadn't seen so many homeless people in one spot (and in cold weather) since I did a night of work with the homeless in San Diego. It was moving to see all these people, and to think that they had no place to call home, or to be warm during the cold holiday season. I don't really have a major point with all of this other than to say it was heavy on me to witness it.

2) I saw what some people would call a "Hell, Fire, and Brimstone Preacher" standing on a box in the street, wearing a smock that said "You Deserve Hell" on it with Bible verses listed underneath, and condemning the passing Bengals and Lions fans for being sinners. He also passed judgement on us fans for watching football. I guess he didn't care to much for the fact that we had skipped, or cut out early from church to go to the game. So lame. Anyway, my friends and I stopped to listen to him and another man arguing. I assumed that this other man, who I will call "the father" as he had just finished watching the Bengals beat the Lions with his son, was a Christ-follower by the way he argued against the preacher (who might have actually been a Catholic priest, but I'll still call him "preacher"). I don't remember everything that was said, but essentially the preacher asked the father if he believed that we all deserve hell, and the father said, "Yes. I do." This made the preacher quite satisfied until the father continued, and told him, "But you're not telling them everything." He's quite right. The preacher was only telling these fans half of the story-- the first half, which is the hopeless half. I wanted to scream, "GRACE!" at the preacher, but I knew that wouldn't help. The father went on to talk about the love of Christ, but the preacher kept shutting him down. I also thought about going up to the father and telling him to just leave the preacher alone. Arguing with people like that does nothing, but enlarge their pride. They want you to argue. So stupid. But, of course, I said nothing, and my friends and I continued on. It frustrated me for a good while, and it still does when I think about it. All you can do is pray for people like that though.

Anyway, I just wanted to share about being burdened by the homeless of Cincinnati, and being frustrated by "Christians" who CYOP (create your own program) and choose not to follow the ministry of Jesus Christ.


1 comment:

Malcolm said...

Hey Andy, great post.

Have you seen Rob Bell's Nooma video... Bull Horn Guy? Your post reminded me of it.

Those in the church that want to do the same old thing... using same old methods... to get out the message of Jesus irritate me. But what irritates me the most are the ones like this guy that could have went to all the homeless with some bread & lunchmeat and made sandwiches for the homeless. If he would have been motivated by love instead of hatred... shared some of God's love with sandwiches... he would have gone further to extend the Kingdom of God than with hatred he spewed.

I have created a process for churches & Christians to use... the reality is that all over the place there are obstacles to people hearing & experiencing the Gospel or the Kingdom of God and if you look closely not only did Jesus proclaim the Kingdom, but also demonstrated the Kingdom through healings, casting out demons, feeding the hungry, etc.

This process is one of Be + Do = Tell. Be Jesus. Do what Jesus would have done. Tell everybody you can about Jesus. When you are loving people like Jesus loved people, you do the things that Jesus did... it will open the door for you to tell everybody [through words & demonstration] about Jesus.

The church as a whole needs to learn that.