If you go back in my blog to "chopped." (or just click the link) then you'll see my post about when I cut my hair SUPER short back in November. Since I see my hair everyday, I don't really notice much of a difference in length, but I happened across a picture of me from right after I cut it and realized that it really has grown a lot in a mere three months!
Friday night, Ethan and our awesome friend Sam went to HopDoddy Burger Bar and had by far the best burger I have ever had in my entire life. MMM! All of their ingredients are fresh, all natural, and local. They make their own bread (which is delicious) and everything is just super flavorful and juicy. Anyways, after dinner we went to see No Strings Attached which was pretty funny but I don't think I'll see it again. Two and a half stars. After the movie, it was still pretty early but the boys had a lacrosse game the next day and I was tired so we decided to call it an early night.
HOWEVER, on the way back to campus, we spotted a homeless man (a usual sight on the intersection of 290 and South Congress) who had a sign that said "NEED ENOUGH MONEY TO EAT AT MCDONALDS OR WENDYS" We all wanted to do something but none of us really had cash, so I suggested we could go to McDonald's and bring him back whatever he wanted. When we asked him what we could get him, he said he would just meet us at McDonald's (it was walking distance). He ordered himself a Ranch Chicken BLT meal, with a Chocolate Shake, and two Apple Pies. He struck up a conversation with us, asking if we went to St. Edward's. When we told him yes, he told us that another St. Ed's student was taking him to church on Sunday which opened up a whole other conversation. We sat with him for literally an hour and a half while he told us A LOT. Here's what I remember:
1. His name is Danny but everyone calls him Preacher
2. He was raised by a family of pentecostal preachers
3. He really doesn't like what he called "fake" pentecostal churches that are what he called "Jesus only churches" (I don't know enough about different denominations to discuss this further, I simply was listening his story).
4. He doesn't believe in the 12-step program, he believes in the "One- step program of stepping, falling to the ground, and reaching his hands to God for help."
5. He was addicted to crack and recovered from his addiction twice.
6. His wife left him in the mid- 80's with his two small kids. He recently was able to reconnect with his kids. Unfortunately, his kids have led really hard lives as well.
7. He keeps his bible in his backpack at all times.
8. He has more scripture memorized than I do, by far.
9. He feels as though God's purpose for him is to be on the streets so He can be the kingdom to the "untouchables" that can't be reached by anyone else. (Drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, etc..)
10. He has some very radical opinions on how to read scripture that I am not sure if I agree with, but I can definitely see how reading and teaching scripture that way can really convict the hearts of the people he teaches.
11. He has a brother name Donny that has an obsession with calling Danny and discussing the book of Revelation.
12. This annoys Danny because he doesn't get free nights and weekends like Donny does, and also Danny really isn't interested in reading Revelation because he doesn't want to prepare people for the apocalypse, but instead to prepare them to be ready to meet Jesus when their time comes.
13. He told us two funny little anecdotes about Heaven and creation that I can't tell half as well as he did.
14. His friend, who recently accepted Jesus, was murdered not too long ago.
15. The woman who murdered him is now camped 300 ft from Danny's camp.
Now, I won't sit here and pretend that I had an incredible time listening to Danny talk for an hour and a half. It was actually quite the opposite. It was awkward, and uncomfortable (especially when he said things I don't agree with), and I was already tired and just wanted to go to bed. I prayed multiple times for patience and that God would teach me something through the process. And God answered. He did give me patience and we stayed until Danny was done talking. And He did teach me through Danny. It made homelessness and all that goes along with it a reality for me. I, of course, knew that it existed and know that they are real people with real stories, but it is a whole other experience to interact with it. I got to witness someone who is doing everything he can to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I think Danny, despite his human flaws of sin and despite some of his interpretations that made me uncomfortable (but who am I to say he's wrong and I am right?), he is the closest to mimicking Jesus as I have ever encountered in another person. Having no material possessions doesn't bother him. He makes his home amongst the untouchables, being untouchable to many people himself. He teaches the Word to prostitutes and drug addicts and alcoholics, and criminals, the sick, the ostracized. He gets spit on and named called and cursed at by those lucky enough to have cars and drive past him. Although a long, awkward, uncomfortable hour and a half, God used every second of it as inspiration for my heart.
I wrote a poem a couple years back and it seems to be relevant to this so I'll share:
There is an
sitting over there
I must have magic glasses on because
Seem to be the only one who sees him
Surrounding him are leftover funds, half- eaten sandwiches, and a scribbled address on a napkin to the shelter down the street
from guilty passer byes
to relieve THEIR guilty conscience
But what you do not know is that he is not poor
He is not looking for your pity or your penitent services
But he forgives you
He even forgives you when you beat your self- condemning words onto him
He forgives your
At least you notice he is alive
He knows you do not understand
He weeps for your REFUSAL to understand
You refuse to look him in the eye
Refuse to grace him with your opulent smile
Refuse him respect
You refuse to offer him anything at all,
Except your guilty conscience
Oh no, don’t forget about that!
You tell him to get a job
Find a home
Buy some shoes
Provide for yourself and THEN I will respect you
You will thank me later
Oh no, for he is capable of overcoming said obstacles
Where did you ever learn that he couldn’t?
Have you ever thought that perhaps he didn’t want to?
Have you ever thought that perhaps what he really wants
Is your love?
But of course,
You wouldn’t understand.
Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion looks out on the world.” This is so beautiful, because so often I find myself looking to be helped by Jesus, to be served by Jesus, and when I pray for that He always answers. But, the real truth, the hard truth, is as as His follower, it is my duty to be His hands and feet along with other believers to help others, to serve others, to pour out Jesus' love onto others.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
over and out.