Tuesday, April 15

Oh, Shantytown.

Of course there are happenings in my life that are much more worthy to blog about, but I am choosing to hold off on them for a while. I have found that blogging in the midst of crisis causes me to lack perspective. I will eventually blog about my aunt Joanie, my summer plans, my new thoughts about peace (not really a crisis), and of course, my amazing, amazing grandmother.

But for now, I have some thoughts about something on a somewhat lighter note. I really don't want to rant. I don't want anyone to remember me as a "ranter", so one of my goals for the current time is to set aside my soapboxes and learn when to shut up. So here is my attempt to speak politely about my issues with something I would normally angrily rant about:

Every year at SSU, student representatives from various clubs and organizations participate in "Shantytown". It's an all day/all night event to raise money for the local homeless shelter by and to raise awareness for the homeless in general. Students build their cardboard castles in front of Massie Hall, go to their classes and jobs, then sleep in the shelters they have created for the night.
In attempt to understand what it is like to be homeless, I suppose, they only eat what is donated by students and faculty on campus, and also "beg" for loose change from those.
The organization raised $800 or so, and I think the contribution to the shelter is fantastic. In my opinion, the simple fact that people from my university even bother is great. Really. I have no doubt that most of the students participating in this event have the best of intentions.

I do have negative feelings toward certain aspects of the event...how the students I have come in contact with have either boastful attitudes or an air of righteoussness and how if I were a homeless person and witnessed this I would be both offended and disgusted, but more importantly, I think, is this:

Is this really what we qualify as "reaching out"? Is that it?
I realize that not all, if any, of the students participating in the event are doing it because they are followers of Jesus.

But it seems that we have limited ourselves to our way too safe comfort zone. Like handing over a dollar cheesburger and a "God Bless!" earns us our Jesus points for the day.

I love the Message translation of Corinthians 13:3:
"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."


So what would it mean to not just give to, but to love the homeless in our communities?

I laughed out loud today when I thought about what could have been the equivalent for Shantytown in Jesus's time.
Jesus and his disciples roll in the dirt then gather in front of a temple with "UNCLEAN" written on their foreheads for Unclean Awareness.

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