There has been a resurgence of an old story lately; where a pastor disguises himself as a homeless beggar and goes to his church and records the negative reactions of his parishioners, as well as their seeming shame and repentance after finding out the true identity of the one they thought was a common beggar.
When he first arrives; they force him to the back of the church or they tell him in no uncertain terms he is not welcome there, Some avoid him, show him indifference, none show him respect or give him dignity. Then once the disguise comes off; there are tears and seeming repentance at treating their dear pastor in such a way. This would all be well and good except for the fact that the only reason for the tears is not that they are sorry for treating a homeless beggar in such a shameful way or that there is some kind of transformation that now allows them to treat the homeless beggar different; but that their pastor caught them in the truth of their actions. Their pastor revealed the truth of their brand of Christianity.
Once these people left church for the week; the tears disappeared, the shame went away, and the real homeless beggars on the street got the same indifference, indignity, and lack of love that the pastor got when he disguised himself. The only difference in the two situations was that the pastor revealed himself and the parishioners covered up their guilt with fake shame and phony repentance; The real for true homeless cannot take off their homelessness as the pastor did, they cannot go from unacceptable to acceptable, no matter what; they are and will remain for the moment; Homeless.
Now thanks to this centuries old story that is repeated and reenacted yet today; everyone knows what will happen when a pastor enters a church disguised as a beggar, and what will happen when that pastor removes the disguise. And I have alleged here what happens at the end of the day after church is over and the pastor is no longer present.
But imagine; what if?
What if a really for true homeless beggar, poor stranger, or a honest to GOD hungry family walked into your church seeking Shelter, Food, A place to sleep for the day, or just a safe place to rest a bit? What if it were your church. These are really for true (lower than you) people. Once the service starts; these ones will not take off their disguise to reveal that they are your pastor, friend, neighbor, or family member.
What would be your reaction?
Send them away?
Order them to the back of the church where they will not be seen by the important and acceptable Christians?
Will you dear Christian even worry about what the pastor; or more importantly what Christ himself would think or say?
It is a sad truth today; not just in Christianity, or any religion; but in society as a whole that these least among us would not be treated with dignity, respect or love in most cases. Oh sure; there are some good people and organizations out there yet who would have mercy and be Christ Like (Not to be confused with Christian for they are two different things, you don’t necessarily have to be Christian or even religious to be Christ like). But would it not be interesting to see; some really for true homeless, dirty, hungry, smelly, UN-bathed, poor, lonely soul walk into a local church and to see the reactions and actions of the good Christian folk inside. There are churches that would accept them with open arms, and some that would act like those in the stories before the revelation segment, and still others that would put on a good show; but GOD knows their true heart. Even if the pastor don’t.
Put yourself in the Christians shoes;How would you react, or act? now put yourself in the beggars shoes; how would you feel?
Now and most important of all; Put on GOD’s shoes and observe the real story;
How will you judge?
Check out this link for a story about a church that passes GODs Judgment with flying colors http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/SHAME-OF-THE-CITY-SACRED-SLEEP-At-St-3311437.php
Now a challenge. Put a new twist on this story; dress yourself as a homeless beggar, not just one Sunday but for a year worth of Sundays. Visit a different church in your community each Sunday. Do not reveal at any time your true identity; allow them to believe no matter what that you are a true and honest homeless beggar. Document your experiences in writing, video, and/or photo for each church be it negative or be it positive. Write about them or send them to email@example.com with "Homeless Beggar In Church" in the subject window of your email for a chance to be featured in this column. positive and negative alike, will be accepted, no partiality. The idea is to get a view of the actions and reactions if there were no removal of a disguise, if perception was that you were truly homeless. The only restriction is Do not identify individuals by name. church denomination, city, even info that says a person is a congregant or pastor or whatever will be accepted, but no individual names.