We are material and immaterial

Over at Hugh Hallowell’s website there’s a giant debate between him and a commenter named ‘pastorboy.’ The debate is essentially over how Hugh worked with a homeless couple to get them a home and get them off the streets. Hugh got this couple a house even though the couple is unmarried (but is getting married) and gave no indication of whether or not he shared the Gospel. ‘Pastorboy’ took issue with this, noting that the couple was sinning and that they needed to hear the Gospel of Christ. Hugh’s response on whether or not they were saved was,

They are saved –  from the hell of sexual assault, the hell of living on the streets, the hell of no hope, the hell of hunger, the hell of being alone in the world

It’s debates and arguments like these that often leave me shaking my head – both sides are so entrenched in their viewpoints that neither side is willing to concede they could be wrong in some areas and work together to find common ground. In essence, both sides are right and both sides are wrong.

It is easier for me to begin with Hugh’s position because, on this issue at least, I tend to agree with him more than I disagree. I think all Christians will agree that helping the poor is good, but I like that Hugh went beyond the system to help this couple. Too often the local church “help’s” the homeless by putting them in vans, bringing them to the church, giving them a special service (so they’re not mixed with the general population of the church) while feeding them, and then sending them home. While I do understand the danger of helping the homeless – as there are homeless who are mentally ill and/or extremely violent and prone to act out in violence – there are others who are homeless and harmless. All they need is help, they need someone to take care of them. Some are homeless because of a defect in the economy while others are homeless because of a defect in themselves, but both are harmless and both are worthy of our displayed love. The Church would be better off if we did what we could to help the homeless or at the very least worked to repair a damaged system in order to help the homeless more (rather than throwing violent/anti-social people into homeless shelters along with those who genuinely need help and will receive it). Continue reading