A depiction of Jesus as a homeless man has generated controversy in an upscale neighborhood of Davidson, N.C.
Jesus is shown as a homeless man under a blanket who is sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the statue on its property.
How can someone tell it’s Jesus and not a statue of a generic homeless person? The place where Jesus’ feet was nailed by the Roman soldiers is shown clearly, although most of the body remains obscured under the blanket.
The initial reaction of the community was mixed- some loved and some hated the statue.
One woman of the community actually called the cops on the Jesus statue, believing it to be a homeless person.
Another next door neighbor wrote the church, telling them the statue creeps him out.
The sixty-five year old rector of the church, David Buck, defends the statue:
“It gives authenticity to our church. This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”
Referring to the critical three years of ministry conducted by Jesus, Buck says,”We believe that that’s the kind of life Jesus had,” Buck says. “He was, in essence, a homeless person.”
Catholic Charities of Chicago and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. are both interested in installing the statue.
Timothy Schamlz, a Canadian sculptor and devout Catholic who created the piece, understands that the sculpture is challenging and says, “That’s what the sculpture is there to do. It’s meant to challenge people.”
The most high-profile installation of the sculpture if approved would be in the city of Rome along the avenue leading to St. Peter’s Basillica. The sculptor Schmalz traveled to the Vatican to present a miniature of the statue to Pope Francis himself. Schmalz describes the experience: ”He walked over to the sculpture, and it was just chilling because he touched the knee of the Jesus the Homeless sculpture, and closed his eyes and prayed. It was like, that’s what he’s doing throughout the whole world: Pope Francis is reaching out to the marginalized.”
Although the statue in Davidson, N.C. has won many supporters, some still feel uncomfortable with it. What do you think? Should Jesus be depicted as a homeless person as the Bible describes him? Or should Jesus be depicted as someone who usually knew the comforts of a bed and home so as not to offend our modern sensibilities? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom