Last night I tagged along with a church group doing a homeless ministry. Even during my post-Christian time, I respect this church for the moderate views of the pastor and the exorbitant amount of the budget that goes to service projects (upwards of 80%). They have Wednesday and Saturday night ministry in which they pack a couple of vans full of clothes, blankets, batteries, propane, other supplies and hot food and they set out to visit four ‘homeless camps’ in the inner-city. At each camp, they distribute the food and supplies and spend forty-five minutes or so mingling with the homeless.
It’s a great ministry. They pray to wrap up each camp, but speaking as an outsider, I was impressed that the time was not spent trying to preach or convert the homeless. They passed out the food and they brought them dignity by talking to them. One of the men I met, named Tom, was incredibly wise. He somehow has kept up on the 2008 presidential campaign, and so we were able to stand there in the freezing cold and have a conversation about our pet issues and favorite candidates. In the end, I had received an entirely new perspective on things and he had found an audience for his often unheard opinions. I think it was good for the both of us.
So ten points to these Christians for being able to meet genuine needs in their community.
But the night was not all positive. Continue reading