depersonalize “the hungry”

Irresistible Revolution: living as an ordinary radical by Shane Claiborne keeps throwing itself in front of me and forcing me to read on. It is challenging me, and implicating my life and Christianity.

Here is a quote from page 158:
“It is much more comfortable to depersonalize the poor so we don’t feel responsible for the catastrophic human failure that results in someone sleeping on the street while people have spare bedrooms in their homes. We can volunteer in a social program or distribute excess food and clothing through organizations and never have to open up our homes, our beds our dinner tables. When we get to heaven, we will separated into those sheep and goats Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 based on how we cared for the least among us. I’m just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, “When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me,” or, “When I was naked, you gived clothes to the Salvation Army and they clothed me.” Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He seeks concrete acts of love: “you fed me . . . you visited me in prison . . . you welcomed me into your home . . . you clothed me.”

I spend many hours of each day working “for the hungry.” But I clearly depersonalize them in many ways. Foremost because I am not working with the hungry and dispossessed. Nor have I recently invited a hungry or homeless person to eat at my table or stay the night. And, yes, I just finished writing my end-of-the-year checks to non-profits.

To which ones? Well, the bigger (though not big enough I’m now thinking!) donations went to – Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church, Sweatfree Communities, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Waldorf School of Louisville, St. Francis School, Pesticide Action Network, Corporate Accountability International and Jubilee USA Network (Jubilee Congregations program).

Okay, so how about you?

What are ways you have the poor among you? (Jesus said, while in their company, you will always have them among you. But do we?)

What concrete, personal acts of love have you committed or witnessed? Or regret that you should have done?


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