the weblog of Alan Knox

Reaching Beyond the Bubble

Posted by on Oct 15, 2007 in blog links, love, service | 8 comments

Yesterday, I published a post (called “Bursting the Christian bubble“) about Jesus bursting my family’s comfortable Christian bubble. This post was part of a synchroblog in which several bloggers discussed moving beyond their comfortable existence in order to relate to other people.

Then, later yesterday, I read a post by Bill Lollar of “The Thin Edge of the Wedge” called “I am homeless” which God is using to further draw me out of this Christian bubble. Bill’s post featured a poem by Jamey Mills Wysocki. The poem begins like this:

I came here because my house burned down last night.
We lost everything.
We had no where else to go.
I am so scared and don’t know where to go from here.
Would you reach out to me?
I am homeless.

And ends like this:

I need to see God’s love right now.
I feel so alone and scared.
Would you please pray for me.
I am homeless.

I needed this poem right now. God reminded me that he has given me and my family much, but he has not always given to us for our own benefit. Instead, He gives to us that we may give to other who are in need – others who need to know the love of God.

The question is – as the person in the poem asks – “Will I reach out to them?”


8 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-16-2007

    Alan,

    I will keep you in my prayers as you journey through this process. I struggled with this as I walked to the church building today.

    I came across a few people who probably could have used a meal. I did not do it :(

    I am hoping that this afternoon when I go to the free clinic, I can make a connection with someone and this time; extend my hand.

    Thanks for sharing the poem.

  2. 10-16-2007

    The best way to help with homeless people is to partner in ministry with someone who’s already doing it.

    Most homeless people are either mildly mentally ill, addicted, or both. Many, in the midst of their situations, have become extremely practiced at lying as well, in order to persuade people of their plight.

    They will often try to manipulate people for money. Their god is Mammon, at least as much as a rich man’s, and they will generally use it to go deeper into sin and addiction. Give necessities instead (blankets, food, clothing).

    What will make the difference in the life of a homeless person is honest relationship. Not trying to help, but just being with them. When they find that you can’t be manipulated, they will either flee, or they will be convicted. Being patient through the process leads to relationship, repentance, and redemption.

    Remember that when God redeemed your life, He didn’t do it with money. He, through His presence, exposed your sin to the light, and washed you clean through the blood of His Son. He has called you to be His presence in the world as a member of His body, His ambassador.

  3. 10-16-2007

    Jeff,

    Thank you for the prayers. I’ll pray for you as well. I’m glad that God is more faithful and merciful than us.

    David,

    Thanks for the advice. I agree that the homeless need relationships as much as other kinds of support.

    -Alan

  4. 2-5-2008

    This is in reply to David’s comment which I will quote:

    “Most homeless people are either mildly mentally ill, addicted, or both. Many, in the midst of their situations, have become extremely practiced at lying as well, in order to persuade people of their plight.”

    Can you tell me David, where do you get this information from? I am interested as I am the author of this poem and I wrote it based from my experience. I was not mentally ill, or addicted. I am also not practiced at lying. I am a christian mom, who due to domestic violence found herself in a situation that I never thought would happen to me. The problem with your comment is that it is a very stereotypical response. I wrote that poem so that others could see the different situations which brings a person to homelessness. And there are many different situations which can bring someone to homelessness.

    Jamey

  5. 2-5-2008

    Jamey,

    Thank you for the poem. It was very helpful for me.

    -Alan

  6. 2-5-2008

    Alan,

    My wife and I have ministered to many homeless and otherwise needy, in our 46 years together, the number who were mentally ill was almost nil.

    Most were spiritually needy who most needed to see the grace and mercy of Christ, and as a consequence had no idea of their worth as humans who were loved.

    Their great need from Christians was to see the grace and mercy of Christ manifested in non-judgmental, practical ways which became the bridge to introduce them to Gospel truths. Sometimes that meant sitting in the dust with them remembering that “but for the grace of God there go I”.

    I have great memories of my wife putting her arms around a prostitute, setting a bath for her, washing her clothes and loaning some of her own, making a bed for her and welcoming her at our meal table.

    I also remember the trepidation as we welcome a bikie for the night knowing he had a scabbard on his bike which may,or may not have held a weapon.

    That’s the sort of love Christ showed to this sinner, ought I show less?

    By the way, we never gave money, or goods, but made capped arrangements with local stores who could provide such. The bill was sent to us. The genuine needy availed themselves of the offer, the ones who simply wanted to the where-with-all to sustain bad habits did not.

  7. 2-5-2008

    Alan,
    You are very welcome!

    Homelessness can happen to anyone. I never thought it would happen to me, but it did.
    And I seen homelessness in a way that I never thought possible. I seen the different faces of homelessness. People tend to stereotype homeless people, but in reality, it can happen to anyone and I wanted others to see what I had seen. So I wrote this poem “I Am Homeless,” based on my experience of being homeless and what I had seen while in the shelter. I seen someone there who had lost a home in a house fire, another was there because they lost their job and could no longer afford the payments on their home. I met a single mom who was escaping an abusive relationship. Can you imagine what it must be like to have no place to go? To have no family who can help you? It’s a scary place to be and I will never forget that experience… or the tears and the anguish I seen in the eyes of those who had no place else to go.
    Jamey

  8. 2-5-2008

    aussie john,

    I really liked what you had wrote:

    “I have great memories of my wife putting her arms around a prostitute, setting a bath for her, washing her clothes and loaning some of her own, making a bed for her and welcoming her at our meal table.”

    That is showing the love of God. It’s not about money because money only provides temporary relief. But love…that lasts a lifetime and has the greatest impact on another’s life. To love another regardless of their situation in life. That’s how God loves us…unconditionally. He loves me when I don’t deserve it. He loves me when I have failed and made mistakes. He loves me. He is LOVE.
    Jamey