I’m Mad at “rhymes with kerouac”

There are a few blogs that I read every day and and “Daily Life in a Homeless Shelter” is one of them. As I have been reading I can’t stop thinking about Jesus teachings about “the least of these” and how so often as Christians we choose to just ignore poor people. I have even tried to teach a bit about how we should be helping poor people and I have even lately started thinking about finding some place to volunteer, or at least look into places where I could volunteer.

So tonight I am heading to a meeting at a church and I see an obvious transient. I am sort of late so I justify ignoring her and keep driving. (I would make a great Levite for the “Good Samaritan” story) As I left the meeting I saw her again, this time in a different place. I again just kept driving by, but the words of RWK kept coming back to me, and my desire to love as Jesus loved got the better of me and so I found myself turning around and going back to see what I could do to help.

Well, of course helping wasn’t easy. The systems that we have in town to help transients didn’t really work because she wouldn’t get anywhere near the police and what she really wanted was to find a truck stop where she could shower and catch a ride. It was sort of crazy as we bargained between what she wanted and what I was willing to do. In the end I called one of my deacons and we agreed to help her to get to the next major city where she could find some people heading in her direction.

As I was driving to get the church van I was talking to Meredith on the phone and asked, “Is it too late to just give her $10 and let that be enough?” But for some reason I couldn’t let that be enough, and I think it was RWK’s fault. But the problem was that I didn’t know what was the best way to help, and any thing I could think about would all require a commitment of time and energy on my part. But as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just walk away. I wanted to simply act like I hadn’t seen, but I couldn’t for some reason I had seen, and I couldn’t just ignore her.

I don’t know if I did any good. I don’t know if I made an impact or any real difference. But I saw–and I had to respond.  

4 thoughts on “I’m Mad at “rhymes with kerouac”

  • May 3, 2006 at 12:49 PM

    Shane, I’ve been lurking around reading your blog for a few months now. In January I started a half-time position working as the Youth Missioner in an Episcopal church,and I’ve been looking around for other youth pastors to steal ideas from…errrr, ummmm, network with. Yeah, that’s it.

    Anyways, I found your blog via RWK, and I have to say he inspires me and gets under my skin in the way I can’t stop thinking about how as the church it seems we have failed to live out the gospel message of food for the hungry, help for the poor, care for the orphans, healing for the sick, etc.

    I’m glad you’re mad at him, and I’m thankful for you feeling the need to turn around and try to help in whatever way possible with this woman. Perhaps there was a better solution; perhaps not. But you were there, present for her, and that is something that will last.

    Peace to you,

  • May 3, 2006 at 4:11 PM

    Thanks for the honest look at ourselves. We are all like what you described at one time or another. I am invovled with a homeless ministry here in the Little Rock area. Three years ago, I was way more talk than action when it came to the least of these. Then, I had to put up or shut up. I had challenged my church and teens to be less self-centered and more outward focused. So I took them to a homeless shelter, little did i know that on that day, my life would change forever! My eyes were opened to the fact that the poor will always be with you, and that it is our job as Christians to take care of them. It was about this time that Jeremiah 5 took hold of me and I noticed God was a little more than ticked off that the children of Isreal had not taken up the casue of the poor and the orphens. So off we went on an adventure that has not only changed my life, but that of my church as well. We are not the same. We have encountered Jesus and He the lest of these. But now for confession time…there are still times that I divert my attention when I see someone in need. Or when a person comes to the church looking for help, I at times will be judgemental and unforgiving. So, after rambling, let me say to you my friend: find a place to go and volunteer. It will deepen your walk, might even change your life. And it will keep you humble.

    And by the way, thanks writing your thoughts. I have been inspired more than you could imagine.

  • May 5, 2006 at 9:01 PM

    good on you. and bless RWK for getting under someone else’s skin too :)

  • May 6, 2006 at 8:37 AM

    he has that way about him, rwk. he’s a buddy of mine and someone who teaches me more how to be like Jesus (along with one other fellow, that soigo guy) than anyone i have met in cyberspace or real life.

    good on you for not driving by the second time. to the least of these. (somehow, at times, i think we are the *least* by our behavior, but i am digressing…)


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