By Trevor Horn —
“I can’t believe you support those people. They need to get the f*** out of our city. It’s not my problem,” vehemently responded one lady to our team.
Last Sunday, a number of us from Kardia ventured out to continue our More Than Me campaign. The entire central focus of this campaign is learning to live for more than me in a culture that says everything is about me. This is especially true in a season around Christmas that has become centered on materialism and sales versus the true meaning of this season. Our campaign this Christmas season is focused specifically on homelessness in our city.
Recently, our team made signs like you would see from homeless folks but with a twist. For example my sign said, “Family of 4 Provided 4” or we had another girl on the team write, “Always had a roof over my head.” The core idea was that we would write truth statements about our lives but then stand on street corners to raise money for the homeless in our community.
Last Sunday, as we stood on street corners we got a wide range of reactions. Some were upset because they didn’t want the homeless in our city. Some were encouraged that we would be willing to stand for hours outside to bring awareness and raise money. But the greater reaction was one that we all knew all too well…indifference.
The first hour on the streets most of us were full of smiles and joy as we stood on the street with great expectancy. But slowly but surely a strange feeling set in. Person after person would walk or drive by and never even acknowledge that we were there. Like we were some sort of social pariah’s who didn’t belong or less than human. The good and bad reactions were a much smaller margin compared to the thousands of people who went by indifferent, bent on living their normal life without any sort of care for what happened outside of their 9 to 5, starbucks holiday drink runs and shopping.
As several hours went by I started to realize that the real issue wasn’t just all THOSE indifferent people but that I am one of THEM. I am one of the people who gets so locked into my 9 to 5 that I don’t take time to realize the basic humanity of the person on the street corner and fails to even make eye contact. I am one of the people who spends way too much on Starbucks holiday drinks and gifts for my own family. I am the person who lives with great indifference in light of the great injustices around me. I am the person who would say that this homelessness is not my problem. Through the process of being on the street corner my heart began to break for those who actually stood there to get money for their next meal or who stood there for 10 hours a day in the cold to just get by.
With the money we gained by being on the street, the following week in our groups at Kardia Church, we put together care packages for our homeless friends. The intention is for our people to be able to give out these packages filled with gloves, socks, power bars, a special note, hand warmers and treats during this season as they befriend those in their daily lives that are on the streets. A tool for deeper connection and to also have something to give. We also plan on continuing working with the organizations that are already doing so much in our city as part of our monthly group rhythms.
I realize that this campaign won’t end homelessness in the city and that as a new church plant we are limited to what we can do. BUT we can do something. The great failure in our city is when good people do nothing. I have a long way to go like many of us but I know that I refuse to be a person who will be caught in a life of indifference towards the homeless community and for the greater justice issues in our city. I know that I refuse to be a person who will only live for himself this Christmas season. I know that at Kardia we refuse to a community of people who live unchanged by the love of God and will relentlessly pursue practicing the way of Jesus.
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey we invite YOU to join us in living More Than Me. If you are in Seattle, we welcome you to check out our church and join a group where we are learning and implementing our More Than campaign. There are many creative ways you can live more than yourself in your own community too. I don’t care how you do it, but ultimately I care that all of us would live a life More Than Me this Christmas season.