Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homeless (cont.)

Last Friday night the ladies at my book club discussed our recent book Paris Wife,(good book btw). A book about Ernest Hemmingway's first wife and then somehow in some strange way this became the topic of conversation;

Should I give money to homeless folks or beggars?

I found it so interesting because I didn't bring this up, yet it was a thought that had consumed quite a bit of my time last week after my somewhat encounter with the beautiful stranger(see blog below).
In scrolling around on my usual reads this morning I found this lil note written to the above question by one of my favorite authors, Shane Claiborne.

"Jesus said give to everyone who asks. That’s a tough command. Sometimes we wonder what Jesus would do in the Calcutta slums or in these heroine-haunted streets where folks ask for change on every corner. What we can say with confidence is that we are to give something to everyone who asks – dignity, attention, time, a listening ear. Sometimes we may give money, sometimes not. But we can always give love. And there are times when giving money can even be a way to insulate ourselves from friendship or the messiness a real relationship might demand. So you can toss a few coins to a beggar or write a check to charity precisely as a way of insulating ourselves from relationships (and still appease our consciences)… but at the end of the day Christ’s call is to relationship and compassion. When Jesus speaks in Matthew 25 about caring for “the least of these”, the action he speaks of is not about distant acts of charity but personal actions of compassion – visiting the prisoners, caring for the sick, welcoming the strangers, sharing food with the hungry. Better than sharing money is sharing life, a meal, a home. Having said that, most Christians need to get taken advantage of more. And we can usually spare some change. Sometimes folks say this question about giving to beggars and panhandlers with suspicion, speculating that homeless folks will just use their money for drugs or alcohol… which happens sometimes. But we don’t always ask what CEOs are doing with our money when we give it to their companies (and the recent events on Wall Street raise some flags about how responsible they are!). In the end, if we cannot take someone to dinner or give them a ride when they ask for money, we might as well give some money. It’s better to err on the side of grace than on the side of suspicion. And we doubt that Jesus is going to reprimand us for giving too much money to addicts… more likely, we will discover we could have been a bit more generous than we were."

Shane Claiborne

Even if you are NOT a follower of Christ I think this blurb has some very good points to consider. Like we might not need to give money but we can always give LOVE. I like how Shane comes at the age old argument of not giving because they might use the money for drugs or alcohol, combated with do we scrutinize America's public servants, aka politicians with the same rule of thumb?
I believe the topic of people in need is one that will continue to resurface as the programs that were once in place to help those in need are now being shut down. I don't necessarily think this is entirely bad because it now gives us "the human race" the opportunity to step up to the plate of real true need, and help meet those needs.

I want to do my part. Not exactly sure what that looks like, but I think it begins with "giving to anyone who asks".

I am proud of my little book club because these thoughts and more were all part of our conversation last Friday night. And now I leave you with the same question;

Should I give money to homeless folks or beggars?

No comments:

Blog design ©2012 Design by Alyx