ChurchETHOS

Helping the Homeless

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on October 20, 2005

Last Sunday we had two homeless people come to our service. The first guy talked to TJ and asked him to give him money for a bus ticket. We are not inclined to, or in the habit of, giving money to strangers, but we try to help in any way we can. So TJ told him that not only would he buy the guy a bus ticket, but he would drive him over and purchase it himself. Of course, the guy didn’t really want a bus ticket, he just wanted the money (he forgets that he’s asked us that before).

The second guy asked for money to buy gas for his car. I told him that we were about to get started with our service, but I would be happy to take him to the gas station afterwards if he wanted to stay and worship with us. He actually stayed and listened (though he had his hand up during the sermon almost the whole time).

After the service, I went up to him and said I would be happy to go ahead and take him over to the gas station. He replied and said that he never said he needed any gas. He said, “I said I sleep on a COT, I never said anything about a car.” I know that he did, but again, I’ve experienced this enough times to know that he never wanted gas, he just wanted the money.

Through the whole time, he would make comments to try to get on our nerves. One of our girls came over and he started making racial remarks to her. She came over with a big smile and a warm greeting and was greeted in return with a racial slur. It was uncalled for, but she really did “turn the other cheek”. At every turn, he was met with warmth, love and respect. No one (that I know of) patronized him or looked down on him. He sat in the back and one of our church members went and sat with him.

Before he left, he started getting mad and upset (I think because none of his comments were riling us). He went in to a long story about how he had had bad experiences with churches. He referred to churches that don’t do anything (meaning that they don’t do anything for him) as “church light” and then he insinuated that we were one of those churches. Finally, he started to storm off and I chased after him and said, “So are you thinking that we are a “church light”. He said that we were. I said, “What could we have done differently to make you feel more welcome.” He said that if I had to ask that then I don’t get it. So, I said, “Well, I feel like we tried to help you and you refused us. What else could we do?” He grumbled something and said, “Forget it.” I said, “God bless” as he stormed down the stairs. He mumbled back something and then disappeared out the door.

I believe the whole experience was good for our church. Even in the face of insult, those who encountered this man were gracious and respectful. We say over and over again that we welcome anyone into our church. Sometimes it looks like it’s all college students, but in reality there are married couples, young working professionals, students. Youth, children and older couples, families and the elderly are all welcome at our church. People from all economic status and even religious backgrounds have (and in some cases, still do) come to our church.

I was proud of the way that our church responded to this test of their love and their faith. I am always amazed at how much of an example our church is setting among other believers. All of us are young, but we won’t let anyone look down on us for that.

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2 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on October 24, 2005 at 6.51 am

    Dear Mr. Norris,

    I am glad that you received all of my letters. I have been writing since I was three (that was when I first saw one of your flicks) Have you seen my fan club website? Did you try the home-made baked goodies I sent you in 1994? Please let me know if you would like a thirty-minute meal sometime.

    R. Ray

  2. Yoonie said, on October 24, 2005 at 2.10 pm

    Dear Mr. Norris,

    I am glad that you received all of my letters. I have been writing since I was three (that was when I first saw one of your flicks) Have you seen my fan club website? Did you try the home-made baked goodies I sent you in 1994? Please let me know if you would like a thirty-minute meal sometime.

    R. Ray

    7:51 AM


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