"You can't solve homelessness without talking about housing. The church has a moral obligation to work with the state for common wealth," said Lang.God I love this guy. My own disenchantment with Christianity began in the fourth grade at Saint Mary's School with Monsignor Sullivan's Mercedes Benz. Each year, the Monsignor (this is the middle rank between priest and bishop) upgraded to the latest model. "He works hard," my mother explained. "He deserves it." Even as a fourth grader, his job looked pretty cush to me. I didn't buy it.
"As a representative of a church, I see no reason whatsoever, why every church can't house someone who is homeless, with 1400 church buildings (in Seattle) empty at night," said Lang. ...
"When you see neighbors naked, give them clothes. When they are hungry, feed them. They are not animals. Begin rebuilding the person to get them back in society."
The lawn at Saint Mary's was known as "Monsignor's salad," as in "Don't walk on Monsignor's salad." The utterly radical and infinitely appealing message of the Sermon on the Mount, to my young eyes, was displaced by the hypocrisy of the late-model Mercedes driving old fart with the sanctified and apparently edible lawn. This, I decided, was Christianity in action. A harsh assessment, but sadly accurate.
Since then, I've met enough real Christians to overcome my precocious dismissal of God, but my opinion of most churches remains unchanged. Lang's different. He's the real deal. Were more churches to take Christ's message to its conclusion — as opposed to reflecting the narcotized, self-indulgent consumerism of our time — the world would be a very different place.
The church can't replace government's responsibility to provide a base-line level of human dignity and economic security for those who are otherwise abandoned, but they can help, and they can mobilize their resources and congregations to build the power it will take to change the rules of the game.
Is that an audacious vision? No more so than Jesus.