Is This Guy Homeless?

To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless…1 Corinthians 4:11

Currently I am without transportation. I have 3 cars in working condition but I cannot drive them. I stopped responding to medication, so I’m trying new ones. As I experience the vicissitudes of a new medication, I stay away from the steering wheel. It’s not convenient, but it is certainly bearable.

This is my 3rd time as a pastor / church staff where I’ve been in this situation. During those times I’ve relied on public transportation, walking and the generosity of others. Sometimes when I’m waiting for transportation, I sit in restaurants and libraries. Still, it would be ridiculous to say that I have experienced the world from the perspective of the poor.

homeless-jesus-6

Jesus the Homeless, Timothy Schmalz

Today I’m sitting in the public library, waiting for my ride. My congregation is hosting Safe Nights, a ministry that provides winter protection for Calvert County’s homeless by offering shelter, breakfast, dinner and a bag lunch, all served by loving people. I’m noticing that some of our guests are at the library.  One of them recognizes me and jokes, “Welcome to my office.” I suspect some of them will remain at the library until they are transported back to my church.

I look at the people sitting around me. Judging by their appearance I wonder, “How many of these people are homeless?”

In the restroom I look in the mirror. Today is my “day-off,” but I’m still surprised at my appearance.  I would not look like this at a church meeting or event. I’m unshaven. My wool cap has lint all over it. My black coat is dirty and has dog hair all over it (my wife fosters dogs who shed nonstop). I’m wearing faded, dirty jeans. My shoes are older than two of my children (Rockports last a lifetime).

I am carrying a faded gray drawstring bag, which contains dandelion tea bags, my remaining lunch and an ipad.  I intend to share the tea with our Safe Nights guests who are trying to avoid coffee. I reach for my ipad, but the tea bags, a partially eaten sandwich and an unopened bag of chips spill on the floor. I quickly stuff them back into the bag.

I’ve settled into my chair to review tomorrow’s sermon. I stop and wonder if anyone around me has noticed me. Is anyone thinking, “I wonder if that guy is homeless?”

 

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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4 Responses to Is This Guy Homeless?

  1. Rich says:

    Thanks for your blog Pastor Corey….Jesus was homeless or was he?

  2. Pingback: Is This Guy Homeless? - HUNTINGTOWN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

  3. Sharon W says:

    Very interesting post! Looking at yourself – we judge many people and situations without much to go on and many times we misjudge a circumstances Need to be extremely cautious when making our judgements

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