A few years back, I went to a weekend-seminar-type-thingy to learn some compassion. Seriously. Now, those who know me - that might make them smile. See - for those of you who don't know me - I'm a pretty black n' white, logical, "you make your bed, you lie in it" kind of person. Compassion has never been my strong-suit.
This was all before Shalom when I learned that God is a God of gray too; not just black and white.
But at this seminar, a question was posted to me that was brought back to my mind today as I was reading our city's paper. There had been an article about a homeless man, ridden to a wheelchair, who had been murdered while seeking shelter at an elementary school over the long weekend. Apparently, there are over 100 homeless people who need the same thing throughout the week.
The city's MLP was stating that they needed more shelters to protect these people from the elements and harm. And I think that MOST citizens would agree to this - get them the adequate housing, keep them off the streets and away from harmful behaviour - do it.
So - what was the question? It was this:
"If you found out that they were tearing down the houses across the street to build a homeless shelter, would you object? What if they were building Government Housing? Social Assisted Housing?"
When this question was posed to me, my first reaction was, "YES!" Why? Well, all the stereo-typical scenarios came flooding. Drug abuse. Alcohol abuse. Graffiti. Theft. Loitering. Littering. Violence. Domestic abuse. You name it, I thought it. I have small children. I have money invested in our home. I have a quality of life that I want to sustain.
So - as I read the paper today, I found myself saying "YES - we NEED more social housing. We need to give the sick, the down and out, the lost - a place to be safe."
But, even now, would I want it built across the street?
Makes you think, doesn't it?
Over the next few days, I am hoping to stretch myself in front of you - as to what it is to be generous, to be compassionate, to be as Christ would be. Please come back as your thoughts will hopefully spark an honest discussion about our generation, our financial security and what we are called to do for our fellow man.