Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Homeless Coffee

Not once have I had a complaint about my local coffee shop, not once, I am faithful and loyal. But my complaint is not with only the coffee shop but the school of thought that caused the incident that so hurt me today. As I walk in this guy I’ve seen before asks if I have any change and I tell him, “I’m sorry but I don’t carry cash bro.” A gentleman walks into this coffee shop and says, “I just want to let you know that the guy out there is asking everyone that passes for change,” and then storms out. Now, notice what I did not mention, his purchase. That is because this guy did not buy anything! He comes in to an establishment, not even as a customer, to let them know that a guy outside is bothering customers. Thank you local downtown civilian superhero, saving us from the bad man that asks people for change, how awful of him (notice the sarcasm there)! I’m bothered by all this and I just sit there looking out the window at this person, this being made in the image of God. As usual I’m just kickin’ it at my table and I see something that I generally associate with an annoying scream. I see a police car with his lights on parked in front of the store, holding up traffic. He gets out of his car and begins questioning this guy and eventually leaves. I don’t know what was said, I don’t care, but I do know this, whoever called that police officer has this disease, they have graduate from the school of thought that treats people as if we lived in cast systems.

Here is what I was thinking about the entire time this was going down:

I wonder if he gets this often (people calling the cops on him)?
How does this make him feel?
What was he doing that was so wrong?
These bright lights bring attention, so does the car in the middle of a busy avenue downtown, there are a ton of people sitting in the coffee shop that I am witnessing all this…he knows this, he sees all of us…how does he feel?
What bothered that guy so much that made him run into this coffee shop as if some building were on fire to proclaim a nice guy was sitting on the bench outside simply asking for change?
Why did one of the girls who works at the shop feel it necessary to call the cops?

I feel a little nudge and then I start thinking about how low this guy must feel, how below standard he must feel, he must be so embarrassed or even worse maybe he feels nothing because he is used to being beaten down like this. Thanks for the nudge Jesus! So I just stare outside at this guy, watching him look left and right, putting his head down, and maybe I’m just dramatic, but I feel like he is feeling defeated and worthless. Well, I get up and step away from my table and walk outside to greet him again. I ask him his name and tell him I am sorry some jerk felt it necessary to call the cops on him. I ask him if he is hungry to which he responds, “Yes!” I walk him over to the Old Point Tavern and ask him his name, age, where he lives, where he is from, just general conversation things. I tell him I wish I could sit and eat dinner with him but I have finals due next week and am at the coffee shop doing them (which I’m not now because I’m writing this). So I tell the waiter the order is for here, let Gabriel order whatever he wants. I tell him again I am sorry the way people act towards him and that he doesn’t deserve that. He lives in the government building that Indy Metro serves on a monthly rotation, so I tell him about the service which is Sunday and invite him to meet some people and tell him I look forward to seeing him Sunday morning. I walk away from him, sitting at that table at one of the jazziest little taverns in the city, praying that God would use that little deal to affirm this young man as a human being and that maybe just maybe people in the area would treat him better. I hope everyone who was a jerk off to Gabriel saw what I did and hated it, I hope their skin crawled and they feel convicted of trying to take a man’s dignity away by beating him underneath their social caste system.

What’s my point in all this? Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of these we do to Him and whatever we don’t do, we don’t do to Him. I take this literally and think that we are given opportunities all day long to serve Jesus. I don’t know what the outcome of that will be, but I do know that social injustices can be beaten at the individual level if we are willing to step up. Next time you walk past someone and think to yourself, “I work hard for my money, why don’t they…” shame on you, may God rip your heart apart and may it break for humans, people, beings made in the image of God. Do you see a homeless man or a broken person who is loved by God just as much as anyone else? May you see injustice and spit in its face, serve the less fortunate, pray with them, for them, pray they will feel loved, the kind of love Jesus offers. I love living in the city. I can always tell when someone is form the ‘burbs by their reaction to diversity like this, so I say take your ego, your high dollar vehicle, your complaints of a homeless man asking for change, take all that and park it back in the suburbs and leave it there, we don’t want you down here. Jesus is working in this city; we don’t need you or your money friend! If this offends you, good! I pray you come to read the Bible for what it is worth and really experience Jesus and His call to love everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy hearing these stories from you, loving on others. I miss being in the city!!! You know we don't experience much of that in our neighborhood now! Don't take for granted where God has you right now! Keep feeling those "nudges" and doing what God wants. We miss you!! Love ya.