Why I am Thankful For HomePDX

Why I am Thankful For HomePDX

Right 2 Dream 2

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.