Have you ever wondered what the homeless (and others in need) think about our theological discussions, arguments about the Bible, and other “churchy” stuff?
Yesterday, I reviewed Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski. In the book, Mike tells the story of how he and Sam lived as homeless people on the streets of six cities over 5 months. Mike and Sam are both 20-something Christian men. But, in the book, we get a glimpse of what the homeless see of us (even from a Christian perspective).
Here is one excerpt:
Suddenly a young family came into view. The dad – dressed in t-shirt, shorts, and a baseball cap – walked in front, but he was looking down, evidently listening to his wife. She came along behind pushing the stroller. As they rolled up to us, a small boy in the stroller looked out at me.
When you’re sitting on a sidewalk, you’re at eye level with babies and kids… While kids might pretend people who don’t exist do, it’s the parents who pretend that unwanted people who do exist don’t.
I held the boy’s gaze for a while and gave him a smile, which he immediately returned. From high above him, his mother said something that caught my attention. “We have to be about the gift of giving and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit,” she said.
I looked up quickly, wondering what those words might mean, what with us sprawled on the sidewalk not five feet from her. But when I caught her eye, she looked away and quickened her pace.
Now the family was well past us. But the boy in the stroller still looked straight at me… (p. 55-56)
And, here’s another excerpt:
Although Sam and I spent every Sunday morning at a church somewhere on our travels, the lack of community was taking a toll on us. Even at church, we felt isolated because of how we looked, how we smelled, and who people perceived us to be. In fact, walking into a church where we hoped to find genuine fellowship only to be met by condescension or suspicion or disingenuous flattery was the worst kind of rejection. (p. 150-151)
I hope these excerpts (and the entire book if you choose to read it) will spur all of us on to noticing the people around us, and then spending time with the people we see.