Wednesday, June 14, 2006

HOW TO SOLVE HOMELESSNESS

“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” -- Deuteronomy 10:19

I pulled the following selected quotes from an article by Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. He makes a point that I will echo: homelessness is caused--and will be solved by--the attitude of the heart and the actions of people who live out the most basic personal and community commitments of Biblical faith. That is, we are to reflect the holiness and compassion of God in our common social practice. If we don't get this foundationally right, homelessness--and immigratition, poverty, hunger, etc.-- will always be an unsolvable "problem" for societies which "programs" will never adequately address. Read and respond:

CARING = KNOWING. “Caring for the poor and needy is equivalent to knowing Yahweh. That is who Yahweh is and how Yahweh is known. Yahweh is indeed a mode of social practice and a way of social relation.”

LIBERATION & COVENANT, GIFTS & LAND. “The housing crisis among the orphans will not be solved by turning things over to a holy God in heaven, nor by heroic action on our part, but by increasing investment in the social practice wherein Yahweh is present, a social practice that in every generation and every circumstance involves liberation and covenant, gifts and land. This social practice wherein Yahweh is known and visible characteristically and inevitably clashes with the status quo and evokes big-time displacement of present power, money, and housing arrangements.”

REFLECTING GOD. “This imperative asks Israel to do for others what has been done for it. You were displaced and were given a place. Now you give a place to the displaced. Second, and more powerfully, you do what God does. God loves the stranger—you love the stranger. God gives food and clothing—you give food and clothing. You be the social practice whereby God is made visible, available, and effective in the world. You be engaged in God’s own work, as you yourself have experienced God’s work, creating a safe place of dignity and wholeness for those without rights, claims, or leverage.”

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