Why I am Thankful For HomePDX
It was almost two years ago that I first came to a HomePDX meal. I had a dozen people from my church, a bunch of food we had made, and no idea what to expect. What I found was a beautiful community that compelled me to keep coming back. A community full of love and friends and good food. A community that looked very different than church communities I had been a part of, yet at its core embodied what I believe church should be better than any I had ever seen. What I found was a community that I have not only learned a tremendous amount from, but a community that has inspired me to be a better follower of Christ and a better human being.
The mission at HomePDX is “Loving People Face To Face.” As someone who is used to short and sweet church slogans, I didn’t think much of this at first. But then I began to see that this was no simple slogan, but a way of life for this community. I saw a community of those who live both inside and outside, who knew each other’s names and were a part of each other’s lives. I saw amazing food being served, because to serve low quality food is not how one would treat a friend. I saw decisions being made with the community, not just for the community. I saw no fine line between those serving and those being served, and if fact came to realize that everyone did a little of both. I saw people in positions of privilege and power who were aware of their position, and worked hard to break down those power structures. And I heard laughter, which is one of the most beautiful sounds you can hear at one of our meals.
But not everything I saw and learned was good, particularly within myself. I saw within me someone that had spent years in seminary studying God and justice, yet who knew nothing of the injustice on the streets of his own city. I saw someone who prided himself on his good theology of justice, only to watch as that theology got shot to hell on the street. I saw someone who had come to the community with many ideas of “the homeless,” and then had to repent and unlearn almost everything he knew. I saw someone who came to the community with many ideas of how to help our friends living outside, only to realize that I was the one who needed help, from my unchecked consumerism, privilege, and stereotypes. I saw someone who came thinking that houselessness was a simple problem, only to realize how complex it really is.
I also saw within myself a growing love for the community, and a desire to learn and grow, and for that I am thankful beyond words. This is a journey I am still on, and will be for the rest of my life. In many ways I am still very new to this community. I still have so much to learn, not just about the reality of those living outside, but also about how to be a better community member, and ultimately a better follower of Christ. I am so thankful for this community at HomePDX, and I look forward to learning and growing with you all in the coming season.