Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Jesus Strategy

Bill Kirlin-Hackett over at the Interfaith Taskforce on Homelessness has floated the idea that if the City persists in their aggressive campsite clearance policy, which seems more than likely, then the churches should embrace Tent Cities on their property to offer safety and support to those who are displaced. Call it a sanctuary strategy. I like it, so long as the strategy extends into an organizing campaign for a more humane and accountable City policy. I do wonder, however, how many churches and temples would sign on. Some of the most powerful and connected religious leaders in the City seem to be sitting this one out. Which brings us to our newest poll: What Would Jesus Do?

So, imagine. Jesus comes to Seattle. He's drinking too much coffee and feeling a little damp. He sees the City chasing homeless people around the greenbelts and throwing away their survival gear. He swings into action. What's he do? Drive the demons from Marilyn Littlejohn? Join the United Way Board? Or does he organize and offer sanctuary? This is a capable, multi-tasking sort of Jesus, so you can choose more than one answer. As always, vote at top right.

Of the 826 visitors that week, a full 25 weighed in on this critical issue. 18 said Jesus would organize a sanctuary strategy. 12 said he would exorcise Marilyn Littlejohn. This is a pretty high number, given that most people don't know Littlejohn, but if you did, you'd understand. Just 4 thought that JC would come onto the United Way Board. I don't know that he'd much appreciate the company. He'd probably rather be with the poor.


Sally said...

Do I always have to try to broaden the religious perspective? Sheesh. So I've no idea how Jesus would behave, but Hillel, who lived several decades before Jesus and might have been one of his teachers, said "Don't do to others what you don't want done to you" and he would be definitely miffed. That doesn't sound quite as dramatic but it does cover "temples", since those were mentioned. And then there's Isaiah and all those other thundering types.

Any of you Muslims or Buddhists or Zoroastrians or humanists, please jump in. Don't let these Cs hog the floor.

Bill said...

gotta say, TIm, that in interfaith circles, we stop calling ourselves "churches." correct term is, "congregations," or as I used in encampment comment to City, "faith communities," which I think cuts a wider swath through the jungle (belated reference) and includes those not describing themselves by some old-time tradition. OK, moving ahead, how many would sign on is an interesting question, and my prediction is, we will all be quite surprised, I'd say. Certainly am not trying to add weight to the burden carried by SHARE/WHEEL. We'd need a parallel and complimentary model. But of course, let's not do that until we've exhausted the true remedy; that is, 24x7, unique to each person, warm dry space for each who wants it, 3-5 years until that back-loaded 10 year plan gets its units built, secure to keep belongings, food and facilities nearby also dry and safe,.... We put something exactly like that in San Jose back around 1987 or so,.. San Jose Family Shelter, in a warehouse, cubicles double stacked with a walkway, heat, showers, laundry, kitchen, rules, rooms that lock to go to work, mild security to protect belongings. It was families. We can get creative. Time has passed for mats on the floor. Mayor says he believes in "housing first." That ought to be the way it works for everyone, top to bottom to top, right away,... Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Mohammed, and all the good and equal company they keep, look with favor on our doing the right thing,.... By the way, TH, Mayor Munson of Sioux Falls now reads "Real Change" (at least once)

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