Thursday, July 01, 2004

Go sleep under a bridge...

Well, you can't do that in Spokane if the city counsel, certain business leaders, police and the mayor get their way. They don't want no bum sleeping around these parts.
I visited the small homeless resistance movement camped out downtown the other day. I had an opportunity to listen to a police officer and the leader of People 2 People have an interesting interchange about various issues surrounding who had a legal right to ask for money for the homeless.
There was a whole lot of blah, blah, blah about this and that...but in the end it seemed like a little bullying going on. Big officer, little street guy and a pregnant girl under the makeshift tent watching life being complicated.
I left fully disappointed and wondering what one should do about a city that tells it's weakest members of the community to walk the plank...
It reminds me of this quote from a great preacher of the past:
"One great reason why the rich, in general, have so little sympathy for the poor, is, because they so seldom visit them. Hence it is, that, according to the common observation, one part of the world does not know what the other suffers. Many of them do not know, because they do not care to know: they keep out of the way of knowing it; and then plead their voluntary ignorance an excuse for their hardness of heart.
"Indeed, Sir," said person of large substance, "I am a very compassionate man. But, to tell you the truth, I do not know anybody in the world that is in want." How did this come to pass? Why, he took good care to keep out of their way; and if he fell upon any of them unawares "he passed over on the other side." 
-John Wesley


Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,
We had visitors from a small town in North Dakota this week and we decided to take them to the Gorge. On the way we stopped by my workplace in the industrial area of Portland to pick up something I needed. When in the industrial area the visitors looked out the window and saw an apparent homeless man sitting with his grocery basket under the bridge. They were shocked and felt immediate pangs of compassion for this man and his plight. I glanced over and thought " what's the big deal?". I suddenly realized how hard my heart has become. It reminded me of a scene in the movie "Beyond Borders", where in Ethiopia people were stepping over the dying as though they were stones in the road.
Jesus certainly had situations like this in mind when he said-
"Blessed are those who mourn"

Cheesehead said...

Nice to see how the truly important things are passed from one generation to the next! I see where Eric "gets it"... I appreciate the thoughts & challenges from BOTH of you -
God's Shalom....