George Bailey and the Homeless Jesus
January 08, 2023
A Challenge to the Church in 2023
This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1928 and 1963, and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.
I am not saying that George Bailey was a new incarnation of Jesus, but I see a lot of Jesus in him and he makes me want to see more Jesus in me.
God is present in our world in Jesus and calls us to a heightened commitment to be present for others. In that, there will be more of Jesus in the world through us.
Like Jesus, we cannot stand back and gaze upon suffering and injustice with nods and sneers and detached prayers. Our prayers must to attached to our lives and the lives of others. The awareness is lived out as the homeless Jesus becomes a refugee in a foreign land, an alien among a strange people.
It is personal involvement. What will you touch in the coming year?
One of the issues that consistently grabs my attention is the plight of those who are unsheltered or do not have secure housing.
In the early days of this country, if a person needed a home and had none, he or she could just move to the wilderness, hunt, fish, forage, or grow something, build a cabin, and live in peace.
Then, we had homesteading and that is where many Americans started owning land. It is in relatively recent years that people who could not "buy into" the economy had absolutely no options except to be invisible or enter a program -- whether they were program material or not.
One of my relatives even owned a "poor house" in Virginia where people could go, live, and work with dignity, take their families, and build community.
Just wondering - just wondering if, in this day of strict building codes, high land and housing prices, high unemployment, disparity between living wages and costs of living, and other obstacles to stable housing ...
Just wondering mind you!
With incomplete sentences dangling
And incomplete plans!
I was just wondering if we could all get a bit creative together, develop a new homesteading plan or do something that does not judge people or render them wards of the state in order to help people become stable home owners or renters again.
"I just viewed 'It's a Wonderful Life' for the 3 millionth time, and also saw America becoming Pottersville. 1.3 million jobless are two days away from losing their extended unemployment benefits, Congress is readying another cut in food stamps, and 1 in 5 of our children is in poverty -- at the same time the rip-roaring stock market has made the nation's wealthiest some 15 percent richer than they were this time last year. Who's your candidate for Mr. Potter of 2013? (The Koch brothers? Ted Cruz? Paul Ryan?) Your nominee for this year's George Bailey?" - Robert Reich
To Robert Reich, not meant to be cynical, but sincere, I say:
"If I could find a George Bailey in the group, I'd support him or his sister, Georgia. No one is entirely Mr. Potter. No one is 100% George (not even George was). Remember that George was reluctant and had no ambition to do what he was called to do --- so we might have to draft someone. I'd actually like to see that."
What if we could find a leader who was truly compassionate, wise, fair, just, conservative about what needs to be conserved, liberal about what needs to be shared, progressive about innovation and progress, regressive about decline, libertarian about personal liberties, utilitarian about necessities, pragmatic and idealistic, optimistic and realistic, firm on non-negotiable things and flexible enough to negotiate wherever possible, friendly and dignified, human but above reproach, honest, but diplomatic, strong yet vulnerable, self abasing yet confident, cheerful yet solemn, appreciative of counterpoints, yet able to make a decision...
... and lots more?
That person might be the Son of God and Son of man.
He/She would probably not want the job, but would consider what he/she was already doing to be more important.
- Would not look good on camera.
- Would be torn up by the left media or the right media or the centrist media or all combined.
- Could not be nominated or elected.
- Would appeal to virtually no one ... and would do nothing to change that image ... and
"I knew George Bailey, Senator and you're no George Bailey ..."
Not even George was all of that, but I'd vote for him!
So, given that scenario, let's just do the best we can, find a human being who can do the best he/she can, give him/her as much support as we can, pray for that person as much as we can ... and realize that's the way it has always been with leadership:
There has never been a perfect leader of any nation ... and that includes the best of them.
That leaves the rest of us!
We may not be running for anything, but we could stop running from everything and do something and just be the presence of Jesus in the world.