The last few days I’ve been reading the book, Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker. It has been a challenging read that really takes a deeper look at whether or not the church is reaching lost people by doing unto the least of these. I found these next couple of chapters particularly eye-opening and thought I would share them. To set the stage she is talking about working in downtown Austin feeding the hungry. As she spent time getting to know real individuals, Jesus started to give her understanding in a new way. Here is what she learned:
When they were “poor” to me, then I was the benevolent, hyper-friendly white girl who had a hard time entering into a real conversation. The emphasis was on what I was offering: food, gloves, water, a bus pass. What I saw in them was need, so that is what I addressed. You require something; I’m here to deliver it with my White Savior Complex solidly in hand. I started noticing not so much their need but their humanity. I realized these were daddies and sisters and lost sons and daughters. They had stories and dreams. Their wallets were full of pictures, and their histories were full of heartache. They were funny and wildly talented. (Johnny the Bucket Drummer played at our new church once; he brought down the house.” I am no Savior; I am just a sister. We looked at each other in the eyes, and we were the same – fragile humans who are patterned after Jesus, which makes us all beautiful. We’re all poor; I just have more stuff. My affection for them became my offering, far more important than the food or clean socks I brought. A hot meal can’t hold a candle to a real friend. Jesus ignited a love for people that burned white hot, a growing inferno out of the tiny spark He’d started earlier.
These words really resonate in me for some reason. What is the church doing to give dignity; relationship to the hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick and imprisoned? I would like to hear your thoughts, experiences, and stories about things that are happening or things that are not happening. This is not intended to be a bashing session on the church, but a meaningful conversation that finds its meaning in the words of Matthew 25:35-36,
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
I’m looking forward to our discussion.