So, welcome back. Oops, maybe you were never here in the first place. At any rate, welcome.
Today, we’ll dive into some quotes from my latest read. This might be a bit of painful reality. Or it may not. Having not read the book, maybe you as a reader will be sheltered by the emotion that comes through. Maybe this post screens the dirt and grime of the streets so that you can sit there, in a air conditioned environment, sipping your latte and enjoying your sterile environment. I’m not wanting to damper your current mood. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a real journey of faith as well as to explore a subculture of America that is neglected. One that we want to ignore and, at times, do such a good job of ignoring and forgetting.
Mike and Sam chose this lifestyle, because they wanted to. They could always go back to their homes.
Most people on the street have no such option. page 11.
This is their reality, their life.
For some reason, I hardly ever admitted when things weren’t going so well. I glossed over my struggles with a cliché. Psalm 34:18 says “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted’. I wondered if pretending you’re not broken keeps God at a distance. The men I was meeting were at the bottom and weren’t afraid of admitting it. Their ruin opened the way for honesty. Pretending didn’t help anymore and they didn’t have the strength to keep it up. page 35
If we are the body of Christ, we need to be fully present in the places where people are most broken. And it has to be more than just a financial presence. page 36-37
Begging is hard. It’s something you expect hungry dogs to do, but not men and women made in God’s image….No one deserves mercy and no one walking by owed us a dime, Mercy is, by definition, undeserved or else it isn’t mercy. page 51-52
He quotes Deitrich Bonhoeffer on page 85:
The exclusion of the weak and insignificant, the seemingly useless people from everyday Christian life in community may actually mean the exclusion of Christ for in the poor sister or brother, Christ is knocking at the door.
Comfort is relative, a truth that was slowly sinking in. page 87
There is immense contentment in letting go of comfort. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just be thankful for now. page 88
Sitting there with Sugar Man, I felt my carefully established definitions of a Christian crack and expand, Here was an admitted addict and user openly proclaiming Christ in his community and asking how he could serve us. What do you do when a good tree bears bad fruit or a bad tree bears good fruit?
What’s your definition of a Christian? Is it broad enough to encompass the drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and broken people of the world? Jesus said that he came to heal the sick. Drug addicts are messed up just the same as liars are messed up, just the same as all humans are messed up. We all need Jesus. We all struggle with personal ways in which sin plays itself out in our live.
What’s worse? To do dope or to not love your brother? page 96
This post is getting long but I’ll continue plunging on. Not all of their experiences were doom and gloomish. They did meet some people who genuinely cared for them and other homeless people. Like George, on page 132 and 133:
“What’s the real reason?”, asked Sam. “Okay,” said George, realizing that we were serious. “You really want to know? I do this because my faith tells me to The Bible clearly says, if you see someone hungry, feed them; if you see someone naked, clothe them. Those words weren’t written for us to make books and sermons about. They’re written so people don’t go hungry and naked. And they require action from all followers of Christ, not just rescue missions.”
“Live as you are called and the good news will go forth.”
Who is to show the world Christ’s love if not the church? page 142
True faith is visible. page 146
If there is any place on this earth, any group of people in which a person must sense welcome acceptance of their presence, it is the church. page 158
a smile or quick hello…such kindnesses were so rare. The powerful underlying message was, “I notice you, you’re a human being and you are worth my time”. page 166
Whenever we close our eyes to the real needs of the real people of our world, we force them to survive via whatever options are available to them, dehumanizing though these options may be. page 171
When the tailgate feast was ready and the first man stepped up to take his plate, Rings had a speech ready. “..I do this because Christ pulled me out of the mess I was in. Then He told me to do this. You want to be free? This is freedom! Enjoy.” And breakfast was served. page 200
Having everything “just because you can” is a trap. It numbs and blinds the human spirit. It can separate us from our calling and our privilege as Christians in this needy world. page 210
Speaking about whether or not to give to homeless people that we encounter on the streets, he says,
We’re responsible to help others toward hope in Jesus’ name. But we are not responsible for their choices. page 212
Sam, in summing up their trip, says this,
Only in knowing God will we see people as they are, live as we were meant, and love as we were meant. Our relationship to Him didn’t separate Mike and me from the needy and oppressed. Rather it pushed us closer to them. I think loving God is supposed to push all of us to be immersed in our world. page 213
On the same page,
Little things do mean a lot, especially in the kingdom of God, where giving a drink of cold water has eternal repercussions. And I am convinced that the more committed we become to impacting one person at a time, the more we will prepare our hearts and our churches to respond at both a community and national level. The bottom line is that real love always shows itself in action. page 213
A huge congrats if you have waded through this flood of quotes. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to have a highlighter and pen handy while I read. Maybe I shouldn’t read books like this that pull at my heart, convict me of past behavior and challenge me to living more intentionally all at the same time. Maybe. Maybe you should get your own copy and read it. Maybe it’ll challenge you like it did me. Maybe…