For reasons that are hard to explain but are probably mainly related to ancestor worship, one of the two churches I I go to is the church in town that my family helped found (they were missionaries here before AZ was even a state) (I also go to Mass on Sundays, but that is a whole ‘nother story).
The church is Presbyterian and has always served snacks after service and before Sunday school classes.
One of the members works with the homeless and many folks that attend service come through her efforts.
I think it can go without saying that the homeless attendees partook of the snacks, and did not attend Sunday School but most did, in fact, attend service.
I myself partook of snacks, and did not go to Sunday school (two church services is enough in my mind, plus I tend to ask questions that rock peoples world and have found it much better to leave those who have a better time with the concept of faith to do what they need to, while my skepticism on many of those things is probably best done in my own head or with others who can understand the root of my questions)…
anyway, (religious matters are so hard to write about)
The pastor and some of the elders decided that snacks were no longer going to be served to them, as the snack would be moved to those going to Sunday school only. Now, you may not know this but Presbyterians are really democratic and actually have voting sessions about certain issues affecting the congregation… so there is a spirit of a democratic process that, in my opinion, was skipped.
So, I went out and bought snacks and served them during the social time, without asking. The selfish side of me also did this because the social time was important to me, it was a chance to talk to the fellow parishioners in a friendly way, to reconnect and to catch up (I have only been going back about a year).
It was a bit controversial, the pastor is never present at the social time so I feel like he made a choice that may have been based on the complaints of a few. During my sponsored snack time, everyone ate working, with a home, members as well as the homeless…
and as I did this that verse from Mathew chapter 25 (I think it is 40) about doing to the least of God’s brethren is to do it to him…
Act 2, was doing it again this Sunday. There is a whole bunch more stuff going on here, a real dislike for our downtown homeless population… it all just sorta makes me sick to my stomach. I am waiting for the repercussions and based on what I have seen, I don’t think they will be pretty and I am worried that I may have picked the wrong battle.
The church often appears to be dying, what with the loss of denominations as having any import and some choices that I think will cause churches to suffer in the long run. But, who am I to speak, I have a global relationship with a higher power, I think extremism in anything (communism, capitalism, Christianity, ad infinitum) is a problem and I have always supported the idea of organized religion; even those whose ideas I strongly disagree with… but this, my simple act of feeding people, is about all of us being equal.