Sunday, March 06, 2005


Andrea and I live in a new development in Tucson called Armory Park del Sol. It's a really neat, innovative development - the houses are very energy efficient (the builder recently won a national award!). A lot of thought has been given to water conservation, and renewable energy, and all sorts of neat stuff like that. And the houses are really, really nice.

So Andrea and I went over to the sales office, which is two doors down, yesterday, so that I could bum a free soda. They're very nice about that. We talked a bit with one of the nice people there about the interesting color that our neighbors chose to paint their house - she was worried that we might think it was too strong. Of course, our house is bright purple, so it would really be hard for us to complain, and in fact we do like the neighbor's house color. We're a bit concerned about the house on the other side, which is going to be much less bright, but there's no accounting for taste.

Anway, we're walking home, up the walk to our house, and a homeless couple walks by on the sidewalk. My mind does an interesting dance - there's the subroutine that tries to be kind and respectful to people who live on the streets, so as not to compound their alienation. That part nods politely to them. Then there's the part that feels like it's incredibly unfair that we have a really nice house, and there are people living on the streets. That part kind of cringes. Normally I don't have to have both parts in my mind at the same time.

I have a friend who just moved out of a seven thousand square foot house. We'd never been to her house, and she didn't tell us what it was like until after she'd left, because we had naively expressed our embarrassment at being in such a nice two thousand square foot house. Our house is quite small by modern Tucson standards.

Andrea and I would actually have preferred a much smaller house, except that we have a lot of friends who are itinerant - not forced to be homeless, but who travel so much that any place they rented or bought they'd live in maybe three or four months a year, so they just couch surf. They tend to descend on us in a horde for five weeks, and then vanish into the wind, only to return a few months later for a repeat performance. It's nice to have them visit, and also difficult.

I have another friend who just sent me email from the Yucatan. Her priority in life is not to have a place to stay, although I think she'd rather have one than not - she's an artist, and likes to paint. She housesits sometimes, and lives in her microbus other times. She frustrates me, because I find her priorities hard to fathom, but I do admire her complete lack of regard for the future, in the sense that she simply doesn't get attached to where the next place to stay is going to be, and this frees her to go to places that I would probably never go. I don't see myself going to the Yucatan anytime soon.

So what's my point? I'm just trying to frame the problem. If you look at the problems that we get upset about as a culture, this one isn't even on the horizon. I don't mean this to make anyone feel guilty - it's just a question. How many people had to die for us to launch a war? How many people die on the street with no roof over their heads? How many people drowned the day after Christmas? Who is the enemy, and how do we fight?

A huge number of people in this country profess that Jesus is their savior. What did he say about how to treat those who harm us? What did he say about how to treat those in need whom we do not know? Why do people listen to those who claim to represent Jesus, but whose words bear no resemblance at all to his words? Who praise Jesus all the time, but don't seem to know anything about Jesus but his name?


Post a Comment

<< Home