One of our Core Ministries, Red Letter Christians, is built on the voices of individuals young and old who aim to take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture. RLC has become a platform for some of the leading voices of Christianity to address some of the most pressing issues facing Christians as we wrestle with what it means to follow Jesus.
No one disputes that Jesus was homeless. In one of the most startling accounts of the cost of discipleship, the Gospel of Luke records Jesus explaining to a “certain man” (possibly the rich young ruler outed in Mark’s and Mathew’s accounts): The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58). For a more recent account of Jesus’s homelessness read the late singer songwriter, Rich Mullins’s, poignant lyrics to: You Did Not Have a Home.
That Jesus was homeless and taught that we may encounter Him in “the least of these” – the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, widow, stranger and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35-40), is the basis of what Tony calls the Whole Gospel and informs EAPE’s holistic ministry. And it raises questions for the Church and every Christian: what should be our response to the homeless and to “the least of these”?
One answer is found in Aquila Way, one of the many effective ministries we invest in with the gifts of our donors, which we shared about in our September Newsletter. Among other comprehensive services, Aquila Way provides safe and loving homes for women aged 16-30 and their children, as well as short-term accommodations for those in need.
Another option is to the feed the hungry, according to Jesus’ dictates in the Gospels. Shane Claiborne and our friends at The Simple Way, have engaged the powers and principalities at City Hall, when the mayor of Philadelphia announced a citywide ban on “outdoor feeding” to the homeless. Our friend, Doug Johnson Hatlem, a Mennonite pastor to the homeless in Toronto, has been a fearless advocate for the voiceless and marginalized. Let us know how you’ve been involved with serving the homeless or leave a comment about someone whom you know personally that has inspired you by their extraordinary care for the poor and oppressed.
A few months ago Hugh Hollowell, founder of Love Wins Ministries, took to the Red Letter Christians blog to explain why and how he was almost arrested for feeding the homeless at Moore Square in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can read what happened on Saturday, August 24th, when Love Wins volunteers and staff tried to distribute coffee and breakfast sandwiches, as they have for every weekend for six years. And Hugh’s update in September about “An article released [September 13th] by News & Observer reporter Colin Campbell revealed that City of Raleigh officials at the highest levels plotted for months to find “legal” ways to keep people who wish to help the poor out of Moore Square Park.”
Finally, as we remember that Jesus also said “the poor will always be with you” (Matthew 26:11), let us not forget to look around and ask “Where are the poor?” to see if the poor are among us. As you wrestle with how to love and serve the poor and oppressed, please keep our missionaries and teachers in your prayers as they seek to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative, holistic and effective ministries, like Aquila Way, that provide services and support to the homeless, and Red Letter Christians, that amplifies the prophetic voices of those asking and answering, in word and deed, the critical questions facing Christians today. If you have questions about Red Letter Christians, or any of the ministries we’re investing in, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.