“Every one is really responsible to all men, for all men, and for everything.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevski
We have chosen to live close to those who are homeless and outcast and to walk with them through their brokenness because of a call from Christ to move towards those who are marginalized in our society with the goal of including them in our community. There is a socioeconomic gap in society that separates “us” from “them,” the “us” being those who participate in mainstream societal norms, them being those who can’t seem to fit in, oftentimes temporarily, sometimes permanently.
However, it is possible that the greater gap is a relational one meaning that many of us have authentic community that walks with us through our brokenness while many of the homeless or those at risk of homelessness do not. We recognize that people’s choices can put them in the challenging circumstances they face. There are also obstacles that people face resulting from mental health issues and addictions, to no fault of their own that seems insurmountable at times.
We also do not ignore ways in which society and systems in place contribute to the obstacles in the path that has inevitably led people into bad situations. We believe in the notion that “everyone is really responsible to all men, for all men, and for everything.” Following this notion, we seek to identify where the problem lies in all of “us” as we include “them” in the “us” of society. We do not like to think of “them” as separate from “us” and so seek to tear down those barriers, however, in order to talk about the issue of homelessness and people who are outcast we use this kind of language to explain the philosophy we try to live by.
We are all broken and contribute to a broken society. Unfortunately we place the blame on others, whether that is people who rebel against societal norms or a system that tries to fix their problems while grappling with problems of its own. We believe the answer to our problem of marginalizing people is learning to love all people as Christ has unconditionally loved us. And we seek His will as we wrestle with issues of social justice and attempt to identify with people who are broken like us and to together move towards Christ as we include people who are outcast into our community.
What we do:
We have been in the community now for a number of years, forming relationships with people there. Some of us have moved into the neighborhood with the goal to be a daily witness to those living in the community. As a result of living in the neighborhood and doing outreach in the community on a weekly basis we have also established several opportunities for those with whom we have developed relationships. We have a working home for men who are assisted with housing and employment, as well as, an opportunity for women from the neighborhood to make an income in our art studio where they learn skills in sewing, painting, repurposing furniture, and jewelry making.