Homeless in Murray Hill–II

I’m preaching an old sermon this Sunday; it’s entitled, “Street People.” The sermon is about the Good Samaritan parable and how it might be applied to daily life. This message got a fair amount of feedback at the time, and a version was eventually published in the Christian Century magazine.

I rarely repeat sermons, as the context of sermons changes so rapidly that God’s message to a given moment may not apply to a different moment, even a few years later.

But I am curious to see how my early-90’s thoughts stand the test of time today, when we in Manhattan are facing a new flood of street people. Pope Francis recently had some noble words about always engaging in some way with beggars on the street. Many of us (who spend a lot more time navigating popular thoroughfares than the Pope does) may find his advice inadequate.

That said, I am still thinking about the proper Christian response to people on the street. —J. Douglas Ousley

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3 Responses to “Homeless in Murray Hill–II”

  1. Melissa Gordon says:

    Doug,
    I think this is the most important issue of our time and I don’t think will improve with time. I believe the homeless in the NYC of the future will overwhelmingly be from our undocumented population. I believe Pope Francis is leaningtoward , don’t pretend they are not there. I have at least $1.00 a day budgetted to give a homess person, I make sure I look them in the eye and wish them well when I do it. I think that is what Francis means…..

  2. Ellen Tobey says:

    Hearing your sermon this morning at the 11 am service was thought provoking and timely. As I passed by a very sad young man, homeless and asleep on the corner of 34th and Madison on the way to service this morning I was confronted with the feelings the sermon explored; mainly what should my response be. I saw my own stepson in this young man and I spent the hour of grace at IC contemplating what I should do. Your sermon put forth the exact feelings I struggle with, the guilt of not responding to each person in need. And the frustration of the not really being able to solve to complex human suffering with a quick handout. Thank you Doug for bringing up this difficult topic with insight, grace, and courage to discuss the many facets of the issue of homelessness.

  3. Susan B. Adams says:

    There is a fellow who always stands outside Pret a Mange on 39th Street with a paper cup in his hand, and I always give him at least a dollar. To give to those less fortunate than you is a part of being a caring and responsible human being, especially in a place as big and vast (and, at times, difficult) as Manhattan.

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